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Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo

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After the rich heavy meal that is a Thanksgiving feast, the next day I find myself craving something light and fresh. This tasty leftover turkey grilled cheese with lemon basil mayo spread is so loved by my family, that I also make it throughout the year.

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo

When I don’t have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, I just buy the pre-packaged carved turkey from the grocery store. However I must say, nothing beats using leftover smoked turkey!

This isn’t your basic grilled cheese sandwich. With the citrus of the lemon and fresh basil it offers a light herby flavor. But the melted sliced gouda cheese, grilled sourdough bread, and flavorful turkey leftovers bring warm comfort.

It’s marrying these flavors together that creates the perfect balance for a light and fresh comfort food recipe! 

Ingredients to make Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo

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What can I add to grilled cheese to make it better?

We all know and love a classic grilled cheese sandwich.

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo pinterest image

But a classic can be dressed up so many ways! Let’s make grilled cheese better with these tips.

The Best Bread For Grilled Cheese

So what is the best bread for grilled cheese sandwiches?

There are so many different types of breads out there that could be well-suited for a grilled cheese sandwich. But when searching for the best bread for grilled cheese, you should consider the rest of your ingredients.

Are you going savory or sweet? 

Some of you might be thinking, “savory or sweet? What happened to simple?! Bread, cheese, done.”

Sliced sourdough bread.

Simple is still here to stay, especially when pairing with a hot bowl of soup! So you can definitely just stick with bread and cheese. But what kind of cheese? What kind of bread?

Are you buttering or using a different spread? There are still choices even when making a simple grilled cheese!

I love experimenting with different types of grilled cheese sandwiches. Have you ever made a sweet grilled cheese sandwich before?

I have made one with brioche bread, brie, and raspberry preserves and it was like eating dessert! It’s all about thinking through what flavors would pair well together, and what kind of bread would support them well.

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo

Here are my suggestions for the best bread for sweet grilled cheese: Brioche, Pumpernickel, and Multigrain.

My suggestions for the best bread for savory grilled cheese: Sourdough, Rye, and Ciabatta.

Just have fun trying out new ideas until you find your perfect grilled cheese sandwich!

Sourdough Grilled Cheese

For this turkey grilled cheese with lemon basil mayo recipe, I used sourdough bread.

Hello, artisan sourdough grilled cheese!

Sourdough bread is one of my absolute favorites for making a savory grilled cheese sandwich. It is also the best bread for this leftover turkey grilled cheese recipe!

Bread with mayo basil spread

Another worthy reason to cook up a sourdough grilled cheese is the health benefits. Did I just say grilled cheese and health benefits in the same sentence?

Not so much that eating sourdough grilled cheese is like eating raw broccoli; rather, that if you are going to have a slice of bread, sourdough is known for being one of the healthiest choices! 

Due to its fermentation process, sourdough bread has beneficial bacteria and low phytates, which make it easier to digest. Thank you prebiotics!

Lemon basil mayo spread on bread.

It is these hidden health benefits of sourdough bread that may indirectly help with weight loss. Now give me all the sourdough grilled cheese!

What Kind of Cheese is Best for Grilled Cheese? 

For the next dilemma: selecting cheese.

If you thought choosing a bread type was hard, now you have think about the cheese. With more than 1800 types of cheeses around the world, which one is the best for making grilled cheese?

Grilled turkey cheese sandwich

I honestly would not have the answer without being able to try every single cheese out there. Flavor can also be subjective. What one person thinks is the best cheese for making grilled cheese sandwiches, could be be entirely different from another person. 

What I can tell you is that sliced gouda is goud.

For this leftover turkey grilled cheese recipe I used sliced gouda. Which in itself, has about seven types.

To make it really simple, I went to the deli counter and asked for one pound of sliced gouda and they gave me whatever kind of gouda they had.

Sandwich ingredients on a griddle.

According to Google, gouda is one of the most popular types of cheeses, so I think that helps narrow it down to being one of the best.

The sweet and creaminess of gouda cheese is why I find it to be so desirable in a grilled cheese sandwich. It melts deliciously.

Toasted sourdough bread.

But here are my favorites for sweet grilled cheese: Brie, Havarti, and Gouda.

Sliced gouda is also great in savory grilled cheese sandwiches in addition to: Swiss, American, and Provolone.

what to do with leftover smoked turkey?

Now, of course we have the bread and we have the cheese in a classic grilled cheese sandwich. But we are dressing this classic up!

So, when you’ve cleaned up the Thanksgiving mess and wonder what to do with leftover smoked turkey, now you have your answer.

Add it to this delicious grilled cheese recipe!

Turkey on a grilled cheese sandwich.

Thinly slice your leftover turkey for best results with this sandwich and be ready for a flavor combination that will have you smoking your next turkey before the holidays.

How to Make the Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

So many people make their grilled cheese by melting butter in a pan or on a griddle and placing their bread down on it. Others will butter the bread before placing it on the griddle.

For this recipe I did not even use butter. Surprising, I know. But here are two tips on how I make tasty grilled cheese sandwiches no matter the recipe. 

Tips & Tricks

  • Butter and cook both sides of the bread. Now in this case, I used lemon basil mayo spread which I prepared ahead of time.
    • Lather one side of sliced bread with this special mayo and place on the griddle mayo-side down. Then spread more lemon basil mayo on the other side. Flip the bread slice once golden underneath and cook the other side.
    • While the other mayo sides are cooking, add your cheese to one slice to start melting. On the second slice, add more mayo spread followed by carved turkey and tomato.
    • By cooking both sides of the bread, it adds more of that comfort-food flavor, and helps the sliced cheese melt quicker when placed on a recently grilled side. 
  • Add a cheese crust. I didn’t do this for this recipe because of the lemon basil mayo spread. But if making a different grilled cheese sandwich using buttered bread, try adding some shredded cheese.
    • Butter each side and place one side down on the griddle. Put a little sprinkle of shredded cheese on top of the bread slices and let it melt a little, so when you flip to cook the other side it won’t all fall off.
    • This will cook the shredded cheese onto the bread. Continue with adding the sliced cheese to the recently flipped side and so on.
    • You will end up with a crispy cheese crust on the outside of your sandwich which adds so much flavor and extra cheese! 

Hopefully you enjoyed these tips. Also, if you need a better spatula in your life, suffer no longer. Here is my favorite spatula. Now for the recipe! 

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese with Lemon Basil Mayo Spread

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo on a plate

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese Ingredients

Sliced tomatoes with mayo spread.

SANDWICH FIXINGS

  • 8-10 Decent Sized Pieces of Leftover Turkey
  • 4-8 Slices of Artisan Sourdough Bread
  • 1 Vined Tomato (Sliced)
  • 4-8 Deli Gouda Cheese Slices
Lemon with basil being chopped.

LEMON BASIL MAYO SPREAD

  • 1 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • Small Bunch of Fresh Basil (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Large Lemon (Pressed for Juice)
  • Dash of Table Salt
  • Dash of Ground Black Pepper

Lemon basil mayo spread.

Mayo spread with basil and lemon.

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese DIRECTIONS

  1. Start by making the lemon basil mayo spread by whisking together 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise, chopped fresh basil bunch, the juice from pressing 1/2 large lemon, dash of table salt and black pepper.
  2. Set your griddle to medium heat and let warm. Slice your sourdough bread in halves (if using a rather wide artisan loaf) while your griddle is warming.
  3. Spread a generous layer of lemon basil mayo on one side of each of your sourdough bread halves and place mayo side down onto the hot griddle. Once placed, spread the lemon basil mayo on the side that is facing up.
  4. Once the face-down side of the sourdough bread looks crisp and slightly golden, flip to grill the other side.
  5. Once you have flipped your bread to grill the other side, add your sliced gouda on one half. On the other half, add another layer of lemon basil mayo followed by leftover turkey slices and two thin slices of tomato.
  6. Use a spatula to peek under the sourdough halves and flip the half with the gouda cheese over. Place on top of the half with the turkey and tomato and press together to make the sandwich.
  7. The tops of the sourdough should look golden and crisp and your cheese should be “melty.” Plate the grilled turkey sandwiches and enjoy!

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo on a plate.
Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo Spread

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

After the rich heavy meal that is a Thanksgiving feast, the next day is great day to have something fresh and light. Use your leftover turkey to make these tasty grilled turkey, gouda, tomato sandwiches with fresh basil, squeezed lemon and mayonnaise spread.

Ingredients

Sandwich Fixings

  • 8-10 Decent Sized Pieces of Leftover Turkey
  • 4-8 Slices of Artisan Sourdough Bread
  • 1 Vined Tomato (Sliced)
  • 4-8 Deli Gouda Cheese Slices

Lemon Basil Mayo Spread

  • 1 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • Small Bunch of Fresh Basil (Chopped)
  • 1/2 Large Lemon (Pressed for Juice)
  • Dash of Table Salt
  • Dash of Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Start by making the lemon basil mayo spread by whisking together 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise, chopped fresh basil bunch, the juice from pressing 1/2 large lemon, dash of table salt and black pepper.
  2. Set your griddle to medium heat and let warm. Slice your sourdough bread in halves (if using a rather wide artisan loaf) while your griddle is warming.
  3. Spread a generous layer of lemon basil mayo on one side of each of your sourdough bread halves and place mayo side down onto the hot griddle. Once placed, spread the lemon basil mayo on the side that is facing up.
  4. Once the face-down side of the sourdough bread looks crisp and slightly golden, flip to grill the other side.
  5. Once you have flipped your bread to grill the other side, add your sliced gouda on one half. On the other half, add another layer of lemon basil mayo followed by leftover turkey slices and two thin slices of tomato.
  6. Use a spatula to peek under the sourdough halves and flip the half with the gouda cheese over. Place on top of the half with the turkey and tomato and press together to make the sandwich.
  7. The tops of the sourdough should look golden and crisp and your cheese should be "melty."
  8. Plate the grilled turkey sandwiches and enjoy!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 Sandwich
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 780

You’ll Also Enjoy…

I hope you enjoy this delicious leftover turkey grilled cheese recipe. I’d love to know, what kind of toppings do you add to your grilled cheese?

Leftover Turkey Grilled Cheese With Lemon Basil Mayo

If you’re looking for more fall inspired recipes, make sure to check these out next.

You can also visit my recipe archives here.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! Make sure to subscribe to get my Grace Notes directly to your inbox and to access all my insider perks. You can also follow along daily on Instagram and weekly on YouTube!

~Sarah

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