How To Take The BLT Combination Beyond The Sandwich

There's no way to go wrong with a BLT sandwich. The combination of two slices of freshly toasted bread — sourdough, Italian loaf, or multi-grain — spread with classic mayo, crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and the crunchiest bacon possible makes this a great meal. Most have it as lunch or dinner, and with some scrambled eggs inside, you can call it breakfast. The flavor, easy preparation, few ingredients, and versatility, make it one of the most incredible sandwiches of all time.

Although the sandwich is popular in America, its origins are debatable. Some say it was created for teatime during the Victorian era in England (via TasteAtlas). It was later, after World War II, that it became popular in America when lettuce and tomato became widely available, and women started to pack lunches to work outside their homes. According to Sir Kensington's, others claim it's just a twist of the club sandwich, another American classic.

Moving past this debate, the BLT is served across the U.S. with many twists. Many of these include adding ingredients to the sandwich, like turkey, salmon, avocado, or using cherry tomatoes as an alternative. But this combination of crispiness, fat, acidity, and freshness can go even further by altering some of the BLT's key components.

Play with your carb options

There are some BLT principles that should be respected. Food critic Mimi Sheraton said the bacon needs to be fried and crispy, the lettuce must be fresh and simple (skip the iceberg, go for baby leaf or butter lettuce), and tomato slices should be very thin. With all your ingredients assembled, add them to another carb.

Crunchy Creamy Sweet recommends BLT pasta. The recipe combines chopped bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a pinch of diced red onion, in a bowl of cooked farfalle pasta. The dish is finished with a mayo-based dressing, with ranch sauce and sour cream to add creaminess. Of course, go for the pasta shape of your preference: Shells, scoops, or tube pasta goes great with thick sauces. All of this can be joined with steak, salmon, shrimp, or your choice of protein.

If you're not a pasta lover, try a BLT baked potato as a great side dish. The Pioneer Woman suggests chopping all the BLT basics while a potato is in the oven getting tender and brown. Again, this is finished with a mayo-based buttermilk sauce. If you want to keep it simple and respect the sandwich, switch to a bun, add beef or chicken, and fashion yourself a BLT burger (via My Recipes). At the end, it's all a matter of creativity. Think about your favorite carbs and imagine how bacon, lettuce, and tomato fit in the equation. BLT pizza? Why not!

Make it vegan

The easiest way to make a vegan version of a BLT sandwich is by switching to vegan bread, and skipping bacon and mayo. But, where's the fun in that, right? A vegan version could mean replacing the sandwich entirely, or maybe just one of the ingredients.

Start with the sauce: Aquafaba is the creamy result of stirring chickpea water. You can use this to make vegan mayo with other ingredients like mustard, apple cider vinegar, and sunflower oil (via Minimalist Baker). Once you've made the mayo, you can spread it over your bread and proceed with the rest of the ingredients. Another interesting twist you can make is by replacing mayo with hummus for a Mediterranean twist. Upgrade the spread to avocado hummus for a richer meal.

The other choice is to go full vegan by replacing the mayo and using plant-based bacon. You can use eggplant (via All Recipes) or carrots to make vegan bacon, or other vegan proteins, like tempeh or tofu (via Zucker & Jagdwurst). Assemble your lettuce, tomato, and vegan bacon between your bread of choice and you have yourself a delicious, vegan BLT. It's all about taste and preference when crafting your own BLT combination, while enjoying the convenience and richness of this classic sandwich.