This turkey ciabatta sandwich has all of the classic caprese flavors, conveniently packaged into a delicious handheld meal. For this easy sandwich, roasted turkey, fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, and garlicky pesto are loaded onto ciabatta rolls, then toasted in your cast iron skillet until golden.
We all need a few back-pocket meals that we can prepare quickly at camp or at home, and this, along with easy Italian sausage sliders, is one of mine. I love this turkey pesto ciabatta sandwich because it's simple to prepare, and can be enjoyed hot or cold, making it perfect for a light dinner or lunch at camp, or packed up for a picnic or hike.
Why This Recipe is Great for Camping
- These ciabatta sandwiches are a satisfying meal that can be served hot or cold.
- They can be customized to suit your taste.
- You only need a cast-iron skillet and panini lid (or something heavy) for cooking them. No extra fancy equipment required!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ciabatta rolls--These rolls are sturdy without being too dense or heavy. You can use a different type of roll or sliced bread, but choose a firm artisan style bread or roll. Soft sandwich breads will get mushy and fall apart.
- Pesto--Use your favorite store-bought or homemade pesto.
- Turkey--You can use sliced deli turkey or sliced roast turkey breast here. Feel free to substitute a different type of meat if you prefer. Chicken, ham, or roast beef will all work well.
- Cheese--Fresh mozzarella is my favorite for this sandwich, because it's rich and creamy. Feel free to use your favorite. Provolone or Swiss cheese would both work well.
- Balsamic vinegar--You want a good-quality aged balsamic vinegar or a balsamic glaze for this turkey caprese sandwich. It should be thick and syrupy so that it doesn't leak out of the sandwich. If your vinegar is thin, you can make your own reduction by boiling balsamic vinegar until it thickens.
- Slice the ciabatta rolls in half and spread each side with pesto.
- Top the bottom half of the bun with tomato slices, turkey, and mozzarella, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, then place the top half of the bun on top of the pesto turkey sandwich.
- Place the sandwiches in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cover with a panini press and cook until the cheese is beginning to mel.
Sure. You can enjoy these sandwiches hot or cold, but if you'd like to be able to toast them and don't have a panini press lid to use with your cast-iron skillet, you can use something heavy to set on top, like a smaller cast-iron skillet or a brick wrapped in foil. Alternatively, you can place the sandwich inside a campfire sandwich maker, and toast it that way.
You can assemble the sandwiches up to 1 day in advance. Wrap them in foil and store them in your cooler or fridge until you're ready to enjoy them cold, or toast them.
Tips and Troubleshooting
- Use a sharp serrated knife for cutting your sandwich so that all of the fillings slice cleanly.
- Store leftover sandwiches in your cooler or fridge, wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, and enjoy within 1 day.
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Turkey Ciabatta Sandwich
- Cast iron skillet
- Panini press lid
- 4 ciabatta rolls
- 5 to 6 tablespoons store-bought or homemade pesto
- 12 slices roasted turkey breast, leftover turkey, or deli turkey
- 1 large tomato thinly sliced
- 1 ball (8 oz | 227 g) fresh mozzarella thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons thick balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
- Slice the ciabatta buns in half. Spread about 2 teaspoons of pesto on each half of the buns.
- Top the bottom half of each bun with turkey, tomato slices, and mozzarella, dividing each equally among the sandwiches.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle each sandwich with 1 to 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar. Top with the other halves of the buns.
- If toasting your sandwiches, set a cast-iron skillet over medium heat on your stove, camp stove, grill, or over hot campfire coals.
- Working with two sandwiches at a time, place the sandwiches in the skillet and press down with the panini press. Cook until the bread is toasted and the cheese is beginning to melt, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
- Slice on the diagonal and serve.
- Slicing--Use a sharp serrated knife for cutting your sandwich so that all of the fillings slice cleanly.
- Storage--Store leftover sandwiches in your cooler or fridge, wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, and enjoy within 1 day.