This Turkey Pesto Sandwich is a delicious and quick recipe that uses leftover turkey breast mixed with a creamy pesto mayo for the best lunch a person could ask for!
Not your normal boring turkey sandwich, this one is piled with roasted turkey, a pesto mayonnaise spread, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella cheese.
It can be served toasted or made on a griddle to crisp up on both sides, like a grilled cheese sandwich!
I recommend pairing this turkey pesto sandwich with crispy potato chips, a Mediterranean pasta salad, or a simple fruit salad for lunch or dinner.
The Best Turkey Sandwich
You'll love this recipe because:
- This is a way to mix up the traditional leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.
- The pesto mayo is delicious and can be stored up to a week in the fridge.
- It can be made gluten free and dairy free.
- This is the best sandwich recipe I've made since my Boursin Cheese Sandwich.
- Turkey Breast - I use thick slices of leftover turkey breast, but this recipe would also work with a roast chicken or rotisserie chicken. If you're following a migraine diet, you need to go with fresh meat and not pre-packaged deli meat. This time of year my local butcher will have a fresh roasted turkey breast if you don't have leftovers at home.
- Mayonnaise - You can go with homemade mayonnaise, egg free mayo, or a really good store-bought mayo.
- Fresh Basil and Parsley - Fresh basil is necessary for that great pesto flavor. I also recommend a small handful of parsley if you have it on hand.
- Roasted Red Peppers - I like to keep a jar of homemade roasted red peppers in the fridge for sandwiches. They're incredibly easy to make - just lightly coat a whole red pepper in oil, roast at 500 degrees F, turning every 10 minutes till soft and charred on all sides. Store-bought is fine if you don't have the time to roast your own.
- Bread - A good bread makes a great sandwich. I like to lightly toast mine just to give it a slightly crispy texture. My favorite bread comes from a local bakery, if you're fortunate to have one near you. I typically use a Seed Bread or Whole Wheat for this recipe. Sometimes you can get good bread in local higher-end grocery stores or Whole Foods, but Pepperidge Farm Wheat and Dave's Killer Bread are recommended if you can't find something good locally.
- Mozzarella Cheese - This is optional but adds another great layer to this sandwich.
Step by Step Process
Step 1: Make Pesto Mayo
In a small food processor (or just finely chop and mix), combine the basil and mayonnaise (and parsley if using) and process until almost smooth.
Step 2: Toast Bread and Mozzarella
Start by preheating your broiler to low. Place the bread on a sheet pan and toast on one side for about 1 minute. Flip and place mozzarella cheese on the opposite side and broil again for 1 minute until melted.
Step 3: Add Pesto Mayo and Turkey
Spread pesto mayo on the other side of the bread, and top with sliced turkey breast.
Step 4: Add Toppings
Top with turkey, roasted red peppers, spinach or lettuce, and freshly cracked pepper.
What to Serve with a Turkey Pesto Sandwich
It depends on if you want to serve this turkey sandwich for lunch or dinner, but here are some ideas for side dishes that pair well with the pesto flavor.
- Mediterranean pasta salad
- Potato chips - store-bought or homemade.
- Potato salad
- Fresh fruit
- Watermelon goat cheese salad
- Rocket and pear salad
- Add roasted chicken breast instead of turkey.
- Make this all vegetarian with sliced cucumbers.
- Very thin sliced shallots are amazing if you love onion flavor.
- Goat cheese can be substituted for the mozzarella.
- Sometimes I add honey mustard to this. It sounds weird but strangely tastes amazing.
- For gluten free, use your favorite gluten free bread.
- For dairy free, leave out the mozzarella cheese.
Tips for Making Ahead
Meal Prep - This recipe can be made the same day or the night before to prepare for lunch. I recommend keeping the pesto mayo and roasted red peppers separately from the bread until you're ready to eat so the bread does not get soggy.
Freezer - Leftover turkey freezes well, so if you don't want to consume it within 3 days, I recommend freezing and just defrosting before you make sandwiches. The pesto mayo can also be made up to a week in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The bread doesn't need to be toasted. It can be served hot or cold. If you love a warm toasted sandwich, you can also make this in a panini press or in a cast iron pan.
Turkey Pesto Sandwich
- 8 slices whole wheat or seed bread
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese
- ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 pound turkey breast sliced
- 1 whole roasted red pepper
- Fresh spinach leaves or lettuce
- Preheat broiler to low heat. Place the bread on a sheet pan and toast on one side for about 1 minute. Flip and place mozzarella cheese on the opposite side and broil again for 1 minute until melted.
- Meanwhile in a small food processor (or just finely chop and mix), combine the basil and mayonnaise (and parsley if using) and process until almost smooth.
- Spread pesto mayo on the other side of the bread. Top with turkey, roasted red peppers, spinach or lettuce, and freshly cracked pepper.
- Calorie quotes for one full, large, sandwich.
- If you have extra fresh parsley on hand, I like to add a small handful of fresh leaves to the processor (about 2 tablespoons).