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Here’s how to make your next BLAT sandwich (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato) the very best possible version of itself.

A BLAT sandwich divided between two plates
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Why we love this recipe

In my book, even a run-of-the-mill BLT is hard to beat. I don’t think I ever quite shook the childhood feeling of being allowed to eat a bacon sandwich. Even so, there are a few easy ways to ensure this simple meal is the best possible version of itself, every time.

Our BLAT sandwich:

  • Uses a combination of simple, nostalgic ingredients and peak-quality produce
  • Is great with regular mayo but even better with the Japanese kind
  • Invokes a few attentive details to make sure every bite is the best bite

I first published a version of this recipe here way back in 2011, along with some of the more, shall we say, idiosyncratic narrative ever to pass as recipe headnotes. If you’re a fan of old-school food blog writing, you can find the original text here. You’ll see a reference to The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, a charming little book by the wonderful food writer Susan Russo, who sadly passed away in 2019. I’d written about BLTs to help spread the word about Susan’s book. It’s still for sale if you’d like to have it.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients on plates
  • It’s white bread all the way for this recipe, and I don’t say that often. My favorite supermarket version is Arnold Country white (which also makes really good French toast). It’s a generous size and has a great texture and gentle sweetness. Toast it lightly.
  • In many contexts I prefer a really thick-cut bacon. For a BLAT, I actually prefer something a bit thinner — but still thicker than standard supermarket bacon — so that it yields easily when you bite into the sandwich. Cook it in the oven if you’re making more than one sandwich.
  • A BLAT is only worth making when you’ve got beautifully ripe tomatoes. In the summer, you’ll probably have your pick. If you can’t resist this sandwich in the winter (and I definitely can’t sometimes), look for hothouse tomatoes grown as locally as possible.
  • The lettuce pictured here is my favorite — romaine grown on a farm in our area and picked before it gets too big. It’s got a great crunch, tons of flavor that includes a gentle sweetness, and a nice delicate texture. Something in the butterhead family (like Boston or Bibb) would work similarly well. Sometimes I like to swap in baby arugula for a peppery vibe that contrasts beautifully with the fatty ingredients.
  • You can use a good-quality supermarket mayo, an easy homemade version, or my favorite, extra-savory option: Kewpie mayo. This Japanese brand is creamier, tangier, and more umami-fied than American mayo.
  • Here and everywhere, I like to use Hass avocados for their combo of creaminess and availability. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with more choices, use whatever kind you love.

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a perfect BLAT sandwich. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Lightly toast your favorite white sandwich bread. Spread with mayo.
  2. Layer on the bacon.
  3. Add tomato and then avocado, sprinkling each layer with a bit of salt and pepper.
  4. Top with lettuce, close your sandwich, cut into halves or quarters, and serve right away. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

A BLAT sandwich is simplicity incarnate, which means a little attention to detail goes a long way.

Sandwich layering tips

Sandwich layering is all about maximizing every bite.

  • Spread the mayo just shy of the edges of the bread so you’ll get some in every mouthful.
  • If your bacon is substantial, cut each slice in half and arrange the slices crosswise. Be a little more generous than you think you should.
  • Tomatoes go next so that their juices will be able to commingle with the bacon and even a bit with the bottom layer of bread. Cut them just 1/4-inch thick and don’t overlap too much. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Next up, avocado. If your bread is a good size, you should be able to fit half an avocado’s worth of 1/4-inch-thick slices in a single layer. Sprinkle this layer with some salt and pepper, too.
  • If your lettuce leaves have a softer side and a crunchier side, arrange them in alternating directions so you’ll get a little bit of each experience on both halves.
Got any variations?

Sure do. For the spread, try spicy or black garlic mayo. For the greens, swap in baby arugula or mizuna. Or add another layer entirely. Grilled or slow-roasted salmon makes a phenomenal addition, as does grilled shrimp, picked lobster meat, a sautéed soft shell crab, some simple egg salad, or a fried egg.

Can I make a BLAT sandwich in advance? What about leftovers?

You can cook the bacon up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat with a short stint in the microwave. Assemble sandwiches just before serving.

More favorite sandwiches

a BLAT sandwich on a small white plate

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a BLAT sandwich on a small white plate
4.84 from 6 votes

BLAT Sandwich Recipe

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Simple, classic, perfect: when you want a BLT, there's no substitute. Our version, with avocado, is juuuuust right.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 1
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Ingredients 

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 slices beautifully ripe tomato
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • 2 romaine lettuce leaves or a handful of arugula

Instructions 

  • If your bacon is substantial, cut the slices in half crosswise. Place into a cold frying pan and set over medium heat. Cook, turning over each slice from time to time, until just crisp. Or cook it the oven if making more than one sandwich. Drain on paper towels.
  • Toast the bread lightly.
  • Spread the mayo just shy of the edges of the bread so you'll get some in every mouthful.
  • Tomatoes go next so that their juices will be able to commingle with the bacon and even a bit with the bottom layer of bread. Cut them just 1/4-inch thick and don't overlap too much. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Next up, avocado. If your bread is a good size, you should be able to fit half an avocado's worth of 1/4-inch-thick slices in a single layer. Sprinkle this layer with some salt and pepper, too.
  • If your lettuce leaves have a softer side and a crunchier side, arrange them in alternating directions so you'll get a little bit of each experience on both halves.
  • Cut sandwich in half or quarters, on the diagonal if you know how to live, and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. It's white bread all the way for this recipe, and I don't say that often. My favorite supermarket version is Arnold Country white (which also makes really good French toast). It's a generous size and has a great texture and gentle sweetness. Toast it lightly.
  2. In many contexts I prefer a really thick-cut bacon. For a BLAT, I actually prefer something a bit thinner — but still thicker than standard supermarket bacon — so that it yields easily when you bite into the sandwich. Cook it in the oven if you're making more than one sandwich.
  3. A BLAT is only worth making when you've got beautifully ripe tomatoes. In the summer, you'll probably have your pick. If you can't resist this sandwich in the winter (and I definitely can't sometimes), look for hothouse tomatoes grown as locally as possible.
  4. The lettuce pictured here is my favorite — romaine grown on a farm in our area and picked before it gets too big. It's got a great crunch, tons of flavor that includes a gentle sweetness, and a nice delicate texture. Something in the butterhead family (like Boston or Bibb) would work similarly well. Sometimes I like to swap in baby arugula for a peppery vibe that contrasts beautifully with the fatty ingredients.
  5. You can use a good-quality supermarket mayo, an easy homemade version, or my favorite, extra-savory option: Kewpie mayo. This Japanese brand is creamier, tangier, and more umami-fied than American mayo.
  6. Variations: For the spread, try spicy or black garlic mayo. For the greens, swap in baby arugula or mizuna. Or add another layer entirely. Grilled or slow-roasted salmon makes a phenomenal addition, as does grilled shrimp, picked lobster meat, a sautéed soft shell crab, some simple egg salad, or a fried egg.
  7. You can cook the bacon up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat with a short stint in the microwave. Assemble sandwiches just before serving.
Adapted from Susan Russo's The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.

Nutrition

Calories: 586kcal, Carbohydrates: 43.3g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 35.2g, Fiber: 5.9g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Sandwiches
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.84 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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12 Comments

  1. Awesome post. Your ability to weave grand sammy history with Mead-esque philosophies, and wrap it all around across-the-pond horizons (and all that involves) is truly amazing. Needless to say, I may need to defrost that bacon that is in the freezer…

      1. IEP – cool resource! I, unfortunately, mis-spoke and probably sent you down a random path that got you wondering what the hell I was talking about ;-). I should have clarified that I was talking about Margaret Mead, not George Herbert Mead. But why would you know that since I said ‘philosophies’ rather than anthropologies. My bad. Its the themes that you muse on in your paragraph 6 that reminds me of Margaret Mead and her classic quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” But I like the challenge of relating George Herbert Mead to your writing too 🙂 Also, I realize that not all families refer to sandwiches at “sammies”…. Leave it to me to be so darn confusing in a simple comment 😉

      2. Oh! I probably should have figured that out, given your background. But it actually works perfectly with the little I now know of G.H. Mead as well, me forming thoughts through a conversation with a sandwich. But no problem. I’ll take both despite deserving neither!

  2. OK, I’ll say it. “You, Carolyn, are a total rock star!” This post is wildly playful and fun, like you and a good BLT. Thanks so much!

    1. Ha! Thanks, Susan. But let’s keep the focus on the rock-star status of your fabulous little book!

  3. Truly? You’ve lost me now. But I’ll still eat a sandwich with you and happily listen to you yammer on in your own special language. I find it soothing.

    And you ARE indeed a superhero/rock star. I assumed that was a given.

  4. You’re seriously off your rocker, and I’m totally digging it. Also, a BLT (white toast, mayo on the side) is my all-time favorite sandwich. Theme versus plot THAT.

    1. I would also have accepted “You’re a total rock star,” or “You seriously remind me of my favorite superhero,” but I’ll take what I can get.

      How’s this: What’s a BLT (white toast, mayo on the side) without “The harsh uncertainties of the modern world — from the Sadie Hawkins dance to the bitterest political unrest — cause people to seek gratification in predictable pleasures. It is comforting to trust in the collective wisdom, but it is foolish to leave too much to chance.(I’m lookin’ at you, mayo.)”

      Also, bacon is its own theme.