A side view of a BLT sandwich with bread, mayonnaise, bacon, tomato, and lettuce. Text says 'crafting the perfect BLT'
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If you had to name one summer sandwich, chances are you’d name the ever-famous BLT. Not a summer goes by without me making this super simple sandwich. If you don’t already know, BLT stands for bacon, lettuce, and tomato, which are the key ingredients to this lunch icon. Of course, one could say bread and mayo are also important elements, but I guess BLTBM just doesn’t sound as appetizing!

Some may say that bacon makes everything better, but the World Health Organization tells us that processed meat, such as bacon, increases the risk of colorectal cancer. However, like anything, quantity and frequency matter. Save your bacon-eating to a few BLT’s each summer, and it can still be a part of a healthy diet. There are, however, vegan options, such as tempeh bacon, if you wish to avoid processed meat altogether.

While some may prefer iceberg lettuce, I like the refreshing crunch and flavor of romaine. Plus, romaine lettuce is a green leafy vegetable, which offers more nutrients than iceberg. The “T” in a BLT is probably the most important part of what makes or breaks this sandwich. Out of season, store-bought tomatoes are just not going to cut it. It takes patience to wait for that perfectly ripe tomato out of the garden or farmers market to make the impeccable BLT with juice running down your arm. If you choose to enclose these ingredients between two slices of toasted bread, choose a hearty whole-grain bread for added fiber and nutrients. However, if you wish to ditch the bread, or you just aren’t patient enough to wait for those tomatoes, try a BLT salad.  More vegetables, including corn and avocado, are a healthy alternative. Enjoy your BLT this summer and all the variations you can make from it.

 

BLT Chopped Salad (Printable PDF)

1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped

4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup sweet corn (fresh, frozen and thawed or canned)

1 avocado, pitted and diced

2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil

1 lime, juiced

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, toss lettuce, bacon, tomatoes, corn, avocado and feta. In a small bowl or shaker, make the dressing by whisking oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss. Divide into three bowls for serving.

Yield: 3 servings

 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 340 calories, 21 grams fat, 520 milligrams sodium, 28 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 11 grams protein

 

Source: World Health Organization

 

This blog post first appeared in the Pantagraph on June 21, 2021.