Featured Recipe: Turkey and Cheese Panini and Italian Arugula Salad

Copyright Linda Gassenheimer

Crisp crust, warm tasty fillings with melted cheese – no wonder Panini’s have become popular for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Here’s a quick version filled with roasted turkey roasted red pepper, fresh basil and goat cheese.  There’s almost no prep work.  The sandwich can be assembled in minutes.

You don’t need a special Panini press to make this sandwich.  If you have one that’s great or simply place the sandwich in a saute pan and press it down with a lid.

Ciabatta bread is the typical bread used for a Panini.  It’s Italian bread shaped like a slipper and takes its name from ciabatta, the Italian word for slipper. It’s long, wide and a little flat and perfect for sandwiches. You can use a large baguette, Italian sub roll or focaccia.



1 ciabatta bread (about 8 ounces)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 pound roasted turkey

1/2 cup sliced, drained canned roasted red peppers

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Several fresh basil leaves

Olive oil spray

Cut bread into 2 5-inch pieces and slice them open lengthwise. Spread olive oil on the top half and sprinkle garlic over the oil.  Place turkey on the bottom half.  Place roasted red pepper over the turkey. Sprinkle goat cheese over the red pepper and top with 5 or 6 basil leaves.  Cover with the top half.

Heat a nonstick skillet, large enough to hold both Paninis, over medium-low heat and spray with olive oil spray.  Add the Paninis and press down with a lid.  Saute 3 minutes. Turn over and press with a lid.  Saute another 3 minutes. Makes 2 servings.


4 cups washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

1 cup fresh arugula

2 tablespoons reduce-fat salad dressing

Place Italian-style salad in a bowl.  Tear arugula into small pieces and add to bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Makes 2 servings.


Nutrition Information

This meal contains 616 calories per serving with 30 percent of calories from fat.

Shopping List

To buy: 1 ciabatta bread (about 8 ounces), 1/2 pound roasted turkey or leftover turkey,1 jar roasted red peppers, 1 package crumbled goat cheese, 1 bunch basil, 1 bunch arugula and 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

Staples: Olive oil, garlic, olive oil spray and reduced-fat salad dressing.



Helpful Hints

  • Shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, Monterey jack cheese or a stronger cheese such as gorgonzola can be used instead of goat cheese.
  • Saute the Paninis over medium-low heat so the insides will warm and the crust will be crisp and golden brown, not black.


  • Assemble Panini and start to cook.
  • While sandwich cooks, assemble salad.
  • Finish Panini.