Have Thanksgiving leftovers? Enjoy a turkey and provolone panini

Have Thanksgiving leftovers? Enjoy a turkey and provolone panini

In the lead up to this month’s big holiday, all of the focus, understandably, is on “the big feast”. If you subscribe to any cooking magazines, or watch any of the various cooking channels, it’s very likely that you can scarcely escape the plethora of tips and tricks for putting together the forever elusive “perfect” Thanksgiving, served alongside more tips for saving time than there is time to be saved.

However, let us imagine for a moment that we see our seasonal lives standing at the edge of midnight. The table, once crowded by faces, is now a blissfully lonesome shadow of the ‘eve-that-was,’ The big night, fretted and toiled over, is now just yet another memory added to the fabric of the mind’s fast-fading record. While this may be the end of the holiday’s work and planning, there does remain a single, thankfully quite lighthearted “how to” to be discussed; as I like to call it, “Leftover Turkey. Wut do?”


Although what I’m left with, and how much, is rarely a matter I can exert much control over, there are a few predications I can make for myself based purely on experience. First and foremost, I usually have at least a meal or two worth left of turkey – though rarely more, and usually less. Typically, I also have some of the appetizer meats and cheeses left over, or if I don’t then I’ve usually put a few aside for myself (yes, I’m devious that way!). Think provolone and salami. Now, add a few dinner rolls, or in this case ciabatta bread, some sliced onion, tomato, fresh baby spinach, and parmesan.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

However, this being the season of big meals and kitchen time, I’m not stopping at simply combining these items on the bread and calling it a day. After all, a cold sandwich on a cold wintry day has about as much appeal as… Well, that doesn’t really need metaphor, does it?

All of which brings us to today’s recipe – leftover turkey paniniciabata bread panini with turkey, provolone, salami, spinach, tomatoes and red onion.

Image of turkey pannini sandwich

To start out, we begin by slicing the ciabatta bread, and then rubbing the inside with freshly crushed garlic, which we follow with a bit of olive oil. Then line each side of the bread with provolone and salami, followed by fresh baby spinach, thinly sliced vine ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion, and then finally the turkey. Once that’s done, press the sandwich in a panini maker until your panini is melted to your liking.

If you don’t have a panini maker, you can achieve the same effect by setting the sandwich in a cast iron pan with a tab of butter, and then setting a small cast iron pan over the sandwich as described below in the recipe.

Turkey and provolone panini

  • Prep Time – 5 min
  • Cook Time – 8 min
  • Total Time – 13 min
  • Yields 2-4 servings


  • Fresh turkey slices
  • Fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Red onion – sliced thin
  • Vine ripe tomatoes – sliced thin
  • Sliced salami
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • Clove of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh ciabatta bread or your choice of rolls


  1. Rub the garlic on the inside of the bread followed by a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Place slices of cheese on each side of the bread followed by slices of salami.
  3. Place slices of tomato on each side of the bread followed by fresh baby spinach leaves and a thin slices of red onion.
  4. Finally place the sliced turkey on each side of the bread.
  5. Place the sandwich in a panini maker and grill until the sandwich is melted to your liking.
  6. If you do not have a panini maker you may place the sandwich in a large heavy cast iron pan heated with the pat of butter. Place a smaller heavy cast iron pan on top of the sandwich and grill the sandwich on a gentle heat so that you do not burn the bread.
  7. When one side is grilled carefully turn the sandwich over and again place a pat of butter under the sandwich followed by the smaller heavy cast iron pan on top and grill until the sandwich is melted to your liking.

The end result is perhaps my favorite way to use leftover turkey once the big holiday’s over with. What are some of your favorite uses for leftover turkey? Follow us on social media to join in on the conversation, and don’t forget to subscribe to Café Quill for more holiday recipe ideas.