Turkey Pan Bagnat - Sandwich in a Loaf

I was challenged by the people at Lean on Turkey to devise an exciting turkey recipe suitable for a family picnic that would be particularly appealing to kids. Inspired by the French Pan Bagnat, a hollowed out loaf filled with Salade Niçoise, I made a Turkey Pan Bagnat or Sandwich in a loaf.

Turkey Pan Bagnat is very robust and portable, all you need to do is cut it into slices or wedges when it's picnic time. My kids were astonished when I sliced into the loaf to reveal layers of sandwich fillings inside. Turkey Pan Bagnat is fun and different - well worth the 25 minutes preparation at home.

Be adventurous as you like with the flavours, fillings and bread for your Turkey Pan Bagnat. Any shop bought or home made loaf with a thick crust will work. The fillings I've used below are a rough guide to fill a 500g loaf. You may find you need more or less depending on the size and shape of your loaf.

Building a Turkey Pan Bagnat.jpg

The one snag I had is that it fell apart a little when I sliced it, but wrapping it in a napkin it held it together while eating it. Keep the layers of salad very thin to and make sure you pat all your ingredients dry before assembling to avoid this and soggy bread. Despite this, the kids loved it and my husband thought it was fantastic.

Make sure you save the middle of the loaf you pulled out! Use the leftover bread to make salmorejo which is a delicious chilled Spanish soup. Or, make it into breadcrumbs to freeze and use in homemade burgerscassoulet, healthy fish and chips or stuffing

Turkey Pan Bagnat - Sandwich in a Loaf


  • Serves: 4 hungry adults
  • Time: Around 25 minutes
  • Cost:  £1.79 per serving (based on 4 sharing)
  • Calories:  526 per serving (based on 4 sharing)


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for frying (plus extra for coating the bread)
  • 400g fresh turkey steaks
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or turkey seasoning of your choice)
  • Crusty un-sliced loaf weighing around 500g
  • 35g rocket or watercress, washed and dried
  • 250g roasted red peppers from a jar, drained and patted dry
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved and cut side patted dry
  • 4 spring onions, washed and dried, topped and tailed
  • 125g mozzarella, thinly sliced and patted dry (optional)
  • Good handful of fresh basil, washed and dried (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large shallow pan and fry the turkey steaks for around 2-3 minutes on each side over a medium heat until they are cooked through. Season the turkey steaks with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning while they are cooking. Remove the turkey from the pan and leave to cool.
  2. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the top off your loaf and put to one side. Carefully pull away the soft bread from the inside of the loaf to hollow it out leaving a 1cm crust. Rub the inside of the loaf with around 2 tablespoons of olive oil to help seal it and prevent it getting soggy.
  3. One by one, evenly layer the sandwich ingredients inside the loaf. There’s no set way of doing this, but a first and final layer of salad should help prevent the bread becoming soggy. It’s also good to think about the layers of colours and a little seasoning too. Start with a thin layer of salad, followed by a layer of roasted red peppers, then a layer of turkey steaks (it may be necessary to cut them to ensure a snug and even fit) then another layer of salad along with the spring onions laid in parallel, then another layer of roasted red peppers followed by another layer of turkey followed by mozzarella cheese (optional), then a layer of cherry tomatoes, placed cut side down, and a final layer of salad and/or basil leaves (optional).
  4. Place the cut top back on the loaf and press down firmly. Wrap the whole loaf tightly in three layers of cling film and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours until needed. To serve, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the loaf into slices or wedges. 

This recipe is in association with Lean on Turkey.