Pie Iron Pesto Turkey Melt


Summer! Always so busy, and this year even more so. We packed our schedule with outdoor events, which hopefully we saw you at, and had a blast. We went to San Francisco (twice), Tahoe, Powder Mountain, and Lake Mead near Las Vegas.


Fall is (slowly) taking over now, which is a great time for us to think back before we think forward to the next season. What went right? What went wrong? Did we find new places to explore more? Did we come up with any new ideas to put into practice? The answers are all yes for us. What about you?

Some things we learned:

  • Maple sugar can be melted into water to make pretty perfect maple syrup that doesn’t spill in your pack. Coconut oil can be found in individual packets fairly easy, and is solid at room temperature, coming close to solving the same spillage issue for backpacking with oil.
  • If you’re cooking for a crowd, this Camp Chef Explorer stove is an awesome thing to own. A cast iron griddle is, too. We’re excited about having a large propane tank so we don’t have to waste so many small green canisters, since we do so much camp cooking.
  • Leave Los Angeles for a road trip north at 4:15am, and you’ll sail. You’ll be in San Francisco by 10:30am, or Tahoe by noon. This is very doable for a quick 3-day weekend trip. We’re going to start planning more camping trips around there.
  • If you’re not sure how much fuel is left in your compressed gas canister, you can float it in water and it will float at the line the fuel is down to. Thank you to the Outessa participant that taught us this one!

While teaching our Campfire Cooking classes for the REI Outessa events this summer, we came up with a few recipes. The Mountain Berry Cobbler we recently posted was one, and here is another. This is a simple sandwich that reminded us how good simple can be. We used a spicy dairy-free pesto, which is a good option to have around for sandwiches in warm weather, where perishability is a factor.

We started looking at our pie irons as leftover transformers. The pesto and cheddar were reused ingredients from other meals we’d made. When we eventually ran out of these ingredients, we switched to a chocolate and Probar Almond Butter sandwich, which was also incredible.

Fall doesn’t mean camping season is over. It means you get your favorite trails to yourself. Let this beautiful season begin!


Pie Iron Pesto Turkey Melt


1 sandwich

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Car Camping


  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 3 slices turkey
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • butter or spray oil


  • Campfire
  • Knife
  • Pie iron


  1. Preheat your pie iron on a campfire.
  2. Meanwhile, assemble your sandwich. Butter one side of each piece of bread. Alternatively, you can spray your pie iron directly with oil. Spread the non-butteredĀ side of one piece of bread with pesto. Layer on turkey slices and cheese. Top with the second slice of bread, with the buttered side facing the outside of the sandwich.
  3. Place the sandwich into the preheated pie iron, sealing it closed. If the sandwich is too big for the pie iron, don’t worry about it. Just press it closed, letting the excess sandwich pieces fall out.
  4. Cook over a campfire, rotating the pie iron often. After a couple of minutes, open the pie iron to check to see if it’s done. When the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted. your sandwich is done.

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