These Pesto Chicken Overnight Pressed Sandwiches are filled with thin sliced chicken breast, spinach greens, provolone cheese, and flavored with traditional pesto – perfect to make-ahead for lunch, picnics, and warm weather.
1hearty loaf of bread, about 16 oz., such as ciabatta, focaccia, or French, unsliced
1/4 cup traditional prepared basil pesto
1 pound thin/deli sliced chicken breast
1 handful spinach leaves
4–6 slices provolone cheese
optional: additional toppings such as olives, roasted red peppers, red onions
Build the sandwich: Slice bread loaf in half horizontally. Spread half of the pesto (2 tablespoons) on each side of the bread loaf. Next, layer the sliced chicken on the bottom half of the loaf. Follow this with the spinach leaves, any optional toppings you like, and then the provolone cheese slices. Place the top of the loaf onto the sandwich. *Steer clear of ‘wet’ toppings – the juice will be pressed out and the bread will get soggy. Avoid these kinds ingredients or add them to the sandwich right before serving.
Wrap the sandwich: Use plastic wrap or parchment paper and rubber bands to wrap the entire sandwich securely.
Press the sandwich: Place the wrapped sandwich on a secure shelf in the fridge. Place a cutting board on top of the sandwich, and then place a heavy weight on the cutting board (helps distribute the weight). You can use a cast iron pan, a brick, books, or anything else you can find. Press for at least 4 hours, up to overnight (12 hours).
Serve the sandwich: Once the sandwich is pressed, slice vertically into 4-6 individual sandwiches. Serve immediately or wrap up the sandwiches and save for a to-go or picnic lunch. Refrigerate and enjoy within 2-3 days.
Bread recommendations: Use a large, unsliced bakery loaf of bread, such as ciabatta or focaccia, or any hearty French loaves you can find (12-16 ounces; preferably about 12 inches long). It’s important to use a flatter loaf with a more dense crumb, rather than a light, airy loaf. I would not recommend using par-baked or “bake at home” loaves that are meant to be served warm.
If you don’t want to make four sandwiches at a time with a large loaf, try making individual pressed sandwiches instead. You can purchase individual sandwich rolls in the bakery of most grocery stores. Apply 1 tablespoon pesto and 4 ounces sliced chicken breast to each sandwich.
Inspired by Pressed Broccoli Rabe & Mozzarella Sandwiches from Now & Again by Julia Turshen (affiliate link). Nutrition information estimated with MyFitnessPal.