Smoked Turkey, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Basil Panini

favorite panini-1 post a

Use your fresh basil to make this sandwich NOW, before the first hard frost.

You know the 5-second rule about dropping food on the floor?  I made it up.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but think I did.

As a teenage girl, I spent many summer days driving a tractor by myself in the fields of our Indiana farm.  Either Mom would bring me a lunch or I would take it with me and it was almost always a cold cut sandwich, more often than not, bologna. I remember accidentally dropping my sandwich on the ground more than once.  Since it was all I had to eat, I wasn’t about to throw it away.  I figured if I rescued it and brushed the dirt off faster than the germs could hop on (less than 5 seconds), I was safe.

While I never got sick from this immunity-building exercise, I did get tired of bologna sandwiches.  In fact, I pretty much avoid cold sandwiches altogether, especially now that I can make a warm and crusty panini instead.

A few years ago, Oprah published the recipe for her “Love Sandwich” which is the basis for this recipe.  I use smoked turkey instead of plain, roasted turkey and add tomato slices (dried by pressing between paper towels).  Basil is the unique calling card of this sandwich.  Substitute spinach or another green if you prefer.

Looking for more ideas and information about paninis? I’m not an expert but I know someone who is. Check out  Panini Happy. Kathy’s blog is full of creative recipes and helpful hints about making panini.  She also gives advice for buying a panini maker, or you can read about making one using two skillets.

Smoked Turkey, Pepper Jack Cheese, and Basil Panini
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 1
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A simple panini-- good for beginners.
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • Olive oil (I use olive oil spray)
  • Olive oil mayo
  • Pepper Jack Cheese, thinly sliced
  • Smoked turkey or rotisserie chicken, thinly sliced
  • Tomato, thinly sliced and patted dry between paper towels
  • Basil leaves, whole
  1. Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil.
  2. Spread light coating of mayo on reverse side of bread.
  3. Stack slices of cheese, turkey, tomato, basil and more cheese on top of mayo-covered side of bread. Cover with remaining slice of bread--mayonnaise side to the top layer of cheese.
  4. Cook on a panini grill preheated to HIGH or use a heavy skillet with another skillet placed on top of sandwich--in which case you will need to flip the sandwich after a couple of minutes. Allow to grill until cheese melts and bread is golden brown and toasty.
If you prefer, add basil or spinach to sandwich after cooking.


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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiran @ October 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I am fine with the 5 second rule – so long, it’s on MY kitchen floor 😀

That panini looks droolicious and dare i say, better than the ones served in Panera Bread? 😀


Piper October 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I wish you would come make this for me right now. Smoked Turkey, pepper jack (maybe habanero jack?) with tomatoes- – -perfect for a panini.

How’d your quinoa experimenting turn out?


Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious October 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I am with you! I eat cold sandwiches pretty much when I have no time to eat lunch at work, but I LOVE paninis. Yours look fantastic 🙂


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen October 17, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I still follow that 5 second rule sometimes, lol. I know, I know it doesn’t really work but it makes me feel better to think it does.


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit October 16, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Yay! I still have basil! 🙂 This sandwich looks scrumptious. I don’t have a panini press, but I do have iron skillets in all shapes and sizes. I agree that a nice warm toasted sandwich is better than a cold one any day!


sis October 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Wow, looks good. I believe Chris was talking about this only today – something about photo-op before eating??? :+)


Suzanne October 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Love all of this…panini’s are a favorite! Basil in a panini is a must too. The fall favorites on your side bar look amazing especially those pumpkin pancakes, I need to give those try.


Paula October 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

My Thanksgiving turkey was roasted but some of the leftovers are still going to make it into this awesome looking sandwich.


TheKitchenWitch October 13, 2011 at 8:37 am

Looks awesome! I’m grabbing my basil while I still can!


Paula October 13, 2011 at 9:10 am

As a matter of fact, I moved the publication of this post up because of your last post about your basil and the impending frost. I need to make some serious pesto myself.


Kathy - Panini Happy October 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Love the Love Sandwich! I’ve tried it before, it’s a great one – I’m sure smoked turkey makes it even better. And thanks for the kind words about my blog (Panini Happy, actually :-))!


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