Pressed Picnic Sandwich

For years we have loved to throw on a backpack and go on an adventure, walking who knows where and for who knows how long. However, this creates difficulty when the hungry strikes. Luckily, this pressed picnic sandwich comes to the rescue because it is meant to get smooshed and it tastes better after having sat for a while.

slice of picnic sandwich held in hand over blue plate with pasta salad

Recently we realized that we enjoy having a meal ready to eat when we arrive at the campsite so that we have something to munch on while we are getting set up. I make this sandwich the day before we leave and put it in the refrigerator for the flavors to meld. Pro Tip: Put a six-pack of some variety on top to help smoosh it down while it sits there melding. By the time you reach the campground, it is just about perfect and makes an easy meal for lunch or dinner, no matter when you arrive.

Please note that this article contains affiliate links, and we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post. You can read our full disclosure on our disclosure page.

While we love to cook on the fire, it is nice to have something ready to eat that is tasty cold. This way we can appease our hunger, get everything set up, and then build our fire. Served with some fresh fruit and veggies, some pasta salad, or with chips and dip, none of us get hangry with this sandwich in our bellies!

What we love about a Pressed Picnic Sandwich:

  • Tastes better after sitting
  • Extremely durable, even after being smooshed
  • Mix and match your favorite ingredients

The Ingredients for a Pressed Picnic Sandwich

  • Round loaf of bread (packs ingredients more neatly)
  • Olive oil (helps keep the bread from disintegrating)
  • Jarred pesto (we like both traditional and sun-dried tomato varieties)
  • Deli meat (your favorites – currently we are on a turkey kick with the kid)
  • Deli cheese (whatever goes well with your meats)
  • Veggies (we find baby spinach to hold up well)
round loaf of bread
round loaf with top sliced off and inside pulled out
inside of bread bowl smeared with pesto
jar of sun-dried pesto used in this recipe

The Process

  1. Carefully slice the top off your loaf of bread and set it aside. Scoop some out to create a bowl. (Snack on this if you wish!)
  2. Brush the inside of your bowl and the lid with some olive oil. This helps create a barrier from the other liquid ingredients from soaking in and destroying the integrity of your bowl.
  3. Smear pesto across the olive oil. We like to do a nice thick layer both around the insides of the bowl and again on the lid. Our current favorite happens to be a sun-dried tomato pesto, but traditional basil pesto is also tasty.
a layer of meat inside the bread bowl
a layer of spinach on top of the cheese and meat
a layer of cheese on top of the meat
round loaf sliced into pieces
  1. Place a layer of meat inside your bowl coming up the sides. It can be any sort of deli meat you prefer. Because of the kid’s preferences we are doing a lot of turkey.
  2. Add a layer of cheese on top of your meat, again coming up the sides. The kid currently likes provolone. We’re fine with that.
  3. Add a layer of veggies if you want to add some crunch. Baby spinach works well as it doesn’t get as soggy as lettuce can. We also like thinly sliced red bell pepper, cucumbers, and tomatoes. And yes, we know that the cucumbers and tomatoes do get soggy so we are judicious with them.
  4. Place another layer of meat and cheese on top of the veggies, or just continue layering meat and cheese until your lid will fit securely on top of the bowl.
  5. Put the loaf lid back on the sandwich. Carefully cut into six to eight slices.
  6. Wrap securely with plastic wrap. We recommend multiple layers here. Then place in the refrigerator and put something heavy on top. We had a box of drink cans which worked well.
  7. Let sit for at least four hours before eating, overnight if you can wait.
  8. Unwrap, serve, and enjoy!

FAQ and How to Customize

Q. What other meats and cheeses do you suggest?

A. Currently we are on a turkey and provolone kick but seriously any tasty deli meats and cheeses would work just fine. Ham and swiss? Go for it! Roast beef and cheddar? Sounds great! Prosciutto and havarti? Invite me please!

Q. My child won’t eat spinach, help?

A. Honestly, you could get away with no vegetables on this sandwich although our taste buds would find it a bit boring. However, if your child won’t eat spinach are there any lettuces they do eat? All leafy vegetables are good options if you like the flavor. Alternately, are there any other vegetables they do eat? If so, can you slice them thin enough to layer into this bread bowl sandwich?

Q. We can’t find sun-dried tomato pesto, what should we use instead?

A. If you are wedded to the idea of using sun-dried tomato pesto and aren’t scared of making your own, David Lebovitz has a lovely recipe. This sandwich also is tasty with traditional basil pesto, and, in a pinch, we have made it without anything other than spreading high quality flavored olive oil on our bread.

Equipment needed

  • Bread knife: This sandwich recipe doesn’t really require any specialized equipment, but we do recommend a serrated bread knife. You can make it without one. It will just be a whole lot easier to create your bowl and to cut it into slices afterwards with one.
  • Plastic wrap: We find wrapping this tightly with plastic wrap, as opposed to aluminum foil, just works better. We can get the wrapping tighter with plastic and that is key to the smooshing process.
  • Something heavy: You need to weight this sandwich down after wrapping for at least a few hours. We have used our cast iron dutch oven when nothing else is available but traditionally we try to use something that is already in the refrigerator such as a box of 12 oz cans.

More Make Ahead Recipes to Enjoy:

Pressed Picnic Sandwich

a favorite make ahead sandwich to eat cold at the campsite while setting up
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Resting Time6 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, deli meat, make-ahead, sandwiches
Servings: 6 slices

Equipment

  • Serrated Bread Knife
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Weight

Ingredients

  • 1 round loaf of bread
  • olive oil
  • 4 oz jarred pesto we like sun-dried tomato
  • sliced deli meat we like turkey
  • sliced cheese we like provolone
  • fresh veggies we like baby spinach

Instructions

  • Carefully slice the top off your loaf of bread and set it aside. Scoop some out to create a bowl.
    1 round loaf of bread
  • Brush the inside of your bowl and the lid with some olive oil. This helps create a barrier from the other liquid ingredients from soaking in and destroying the integrity of your bowl.
    olive oil
  • Smear pesto across the olive oil. We like to do a nice thick layer both around the insides of the bowl and again on the lid. Our current favorite happens to be a sun-dried tomato pesto, but traditional basil pesto is also tasty.
    4 oz jarred pesto
  • Place a layer of meat inside your bowl coming up the sides. It can be any sort of deli meat you prefer. Because of the kid’s preferences we are doing a lot of turkey.
    sliced deli meat
  • Add a layer of cheese on top of your meat, again coming up the sides. The kid currently likes provolone. We’re fine with that.
    sliced cheese
  • Add a layer of veggies if you want to add some crunch. Baby spinach works well as it doesn’t get as soggy as lettuce can. We also like thinly sliced red bell pepper, cucumbers, and tomatoes. And yes, we know that the cucumbers and tomatoes do get soggy so we are judicious with them.
    fresh veggies
  • Place another layer of meat and cheese on top of the veggies, or just continue layering meat and cheese until your lid will fit securely on top of the bowl.
    sliced deli meat, sliced cheese
  • Put the loaf lid back on the sandwich. Carefully cut into six to eight slices.
    1 round loaf of bread
  • Wrap securely with plastic wrap. We recommend multiple layers here. Then place in the refrigerator and put something heavy on top. We had a box of drink cans which worked well.
  • Let sit for at least four hours before eating, overnight if you can wait.
  • Unwrap, serve, and enjoy!

This pressed picnic sandwich is seriously tasty!

And as easy as it is to make, I have no excuse not to make one prior to any camping trip. If you try this, or any of the variations, tag us on Instagram @campinganswer and show us photos of your creation. We are always looking for new modifications to try.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




Scroll to Top