The Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich

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The Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich

May 11, 2021
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The Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich

It is hard to improve upon the classic BLT, but we think our Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich has a good chance of stealing your heart forever! From it’s luscious eggplant bacon weave to its grilled asparagus and pistachio pesto this BLT will have you declaring love at first bite.

A bowl of grilled asparagus pistachio pesto for a BLT sandwich.

Every BLT sandwich needs a spread and while some might opt for a classic mayo, we really love a slathering of Grilled Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto. It’s super easy to make! Not to mention, it’s delicious on just about everything (from this BLT sandwich) to pasta and more.

An The Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich on a plate ready to eat.

Let’s make the eggplant bacon weaves for this BLT sandwich!

Slice 1 pound of bacon in half.

You can use any type of bacon you like here, but the thicker the slice the longer the cook time.

Slices of eggplant being layered to make eggplant bacon weaves for a  BLT sandwich.

Thinly slice the eggplant.

A mandolin is handy here to get paper thin slices, but a really sharp knife and patience will do the trick too.

Once the eggplant is sliced super thin, cut the slices in half lengthwise creating 2 thin eggplant strips from each thin piece.

Bacon weaves on a sheet pan for BLT sandwiches.

Create a bacon hashtag for your BLT sandwich!

Call it a hashtag, call it a weave, call it whatever you want! It may look tricky to master, but it is a super simple technique.

To form one bacon weave, you’ll need 4 bacon halves total. First, lay 2 bacon halves side-by-side horizontally on a pan. Lift one end of one of the bacon slices and lay a 3rd bacon half on top of the bacon slice that is still on the pan. Lay the bacon slice that was lifted up OVER the slice of bacon that was just placed onto the pan.

Repeat the step with the remaining piece of bacon to create a bacon hashtag.

Thinly sliced eggplant being layered into the bacon weaves for BLT sandwiches.

Layer in the eggplant slices

There is no real science to this, just layer in the eggplant slices over the bacon slices. Lifting and tucking is about all you are doing here.

I prefer the purple eggplant skin side facing in towards the center, but that is just because I think it looks nice.

Baked eggplant bacon weaves for BLT sandwich.

Bake to perfection!

400°F for 40-50 minutes is just about the sweet spot for these eggplant bacon weaves. Final cook time will depend upon the thickness of the bacon used.

Eggplant Bacon Weaves being transferred to a paper towel lined plate.

Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

The paper towel will help to absorb some of the grease that may still be trapped in the crevices of your eggplant bacon weaves.

Now all that is left is to build your ultimate BLT sandwich and serve!!!

A halved Ultimate California Grown BLT sandwich on a plate with an arugula salad. A woman is pouring a glass of sparkling water in the background.

Feel free to get a little crazy here – use any of your favorite toppings. Clearly you will need the bare minimum which is the eggplant bacon weaves, a tomato or two, and some lettuce. But, why limit yourself there?! Go wild with your imagination – spread on some grilled asparagus pesto or heck – add a grilled chicken breast to the mix to REALLY make it a hearty meal.

Wondering what to serve alongside this Ultimate California Grown BLT Sandwich? We have ALL the sides covered!

Thick slabs of sweet potato that have been intricately cut to achieve an accordion effect then threaded onto skewers. The 5 Hasselback Sweet Potato Skewers are on a black serving tray.

Hasselback Sweet Potato Skewers

If you are inspired by our Eggplant Bacon Weaves then you have to try these sweet potatoes too! The secret to this new wave twist on a crispy Hasselback sweet potato recipe lies in a unique slicing method followed by soaking in water to remove any starch before cooking.

A simple salad of citrus, avocado, red onion, and fennel.

Citrus Spring Salad

Looking for a lighter side dish for your BLT sandwich? This simple salad loaded with California citrus, avocado, and fennel is sure to hit the spot!

Don’t fall into a sandwich rut! Check out the recipes below!

There really isn’t anything better than an EPIC sandwich like our California Grown BLT sandwich, so it is important that you have a few sandwich recipes in your repertoire for whenever the craving strikes!

A woman holding a Cobb salad inspired sandwich that has lettuce cups instead of bread.

Whole 30 Cobb Salad Sandwich

No Crumbs Left is speaking our love language with this Cobb salad inspired sandwich that is Whole 30 friendly and sure to hit the spot!

A multi level vegetarian club sandwich.

The Ultimate Vegetarian Club Sandwich

Looking for an EPIC vegetarian sandwich? This super sized Club Sandwich from This Mess is Ours is loaded with Crispy Eggplant Bacon. It’s a little smoky, has a bit of heat and packs a BIG flavor punch!

Share your creation with us by snapping a pic and tagging us on social using #CAGROWN. 

Craving more CA Grown goodness? Follow us on Pinterest for fresh and fabulous recipe inspo!

California Grown BLT Sandwich

We're giving the classic BLT sandwich a glow up with eggplant bacon weaves and grilled asparagus and pistachio pesto!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, eggplant, grilled asparagus, leafy greens, Pistachio, tomato
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • Sheet pan
  • food processor

Ingredients

Eggplant Bacon Weaves

  • 1 pound bacon opt for thinner slices rather than thick.
  • 1 small eggplant see note
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper optional

Grilled Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto

  • 1 /2 cup raw pistachios
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chopped grilled asparagus see note
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 lemon zest and juice divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The CA Grown BLT Sandwich

  • 8 slices bread toasted
  • 4 cups arugula lightly dressed with your favorite salad dressing, we like ranch.
  • 1/2 cup sprouts optional
  • 1 very large heirloom tomato sliced into thick slabs

Instructions

Make the Eggplant Bacon Weaves

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Dull side up.
  • Slice 1 pound of bacon in half through the center, set aside. (See images in blog post.)
    Bacon for a BLT sandwich being sliced in half to create eggplant bacon weaves.
  • Remove the ends from the eggplant so that it is about the same length as the bacon slices. Then either with a mandoline set on the thinnest setting or a very sharp knife begin slicing very thin sheets of eggplant.
    If using a lager Globe Eggplant as pictured, also slice the thin eggplant sheets in half vertically creating 2 eggplant strips.
    Slicing thin strips of eggplant in half
  • To form one bacon weave, you’ll need 4 bacon halves total and each sandwich you make will need 1 eggplant bacon weave.
    First, lay 2 bacon halves side-by-side horizontally on a pan. Lift one end of one of the bacon slices and lay a 3rd bacon half on top of the bacon slice that is still on the pan. Lay the bacon slice that was lifted up OVER the slice of bacon that was just placed onto the pan. 
    Now repeat the lifting and layering step with the remianing slice of bacon creating a weave or hashtag.
  • Once the bacon weaves have been formed, tuck one or two thin eggplant slices on top of each of the slices of bacon, lifting and tucking just as you did before.
  • Season with freshly cracked black pepper then bake for 40-45 minutes until cooked through and crispy.
  • Gently, remove the eggplant bacon weaves to a paper towel lined plate with a spatula. If the edges are sticking slightly to the foil simply work them free with the spatula.

While the Eggplant Bacon Weaves are cooking make the Grilled Asgapargus and Pistachio Pesto

  • Combine the pistachios and garlic in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade. Puse until all of the pieces are small and similar in size.
  • Add the asparagus, basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Slowly, with the food processor running, stream the olive oil into the pesto until completley combined.
  • Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and fold in the zest, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese. Set aside until ready to build the BLT sandwiches.

How to build a California Grown BLT Sandwich

  • Spread 1/4 cup of the Grilled Asparagus and Pistachio Pesto over a slice of toasted bread. Pile 1/4 of the dressed leafy greens on top. Nestle thick slices of tomato over the greens then top with an Eggplant Bacon Weave and another slice of toasted bread.

Notes

A note about eggplant:

Japanese Eggplant works great for this BLT sandwich, but larger Globe Eggplant works as well. You need to simply slice the thin Globe Eggplant slices into multiple smaller strips and you may have more eggplant than you need.

A note about asparagus: 

This recipe calls for grilled asparagus, but blanched or roasted asparagus also works. It just won’t have that smoky vibe. 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of produce grows in California?

California leads the nation in production of: apricots, asparagus, avocados, dry lima beans, broccoli, brussels sprouts, fresh market cabbage, fresh market carrots, cauliflower, celery, sweet corn, American pima cotton, daikon, eggplant, excarole/endive, figs, flower bulbs, cut flowers, potted flowers and potted plants, garlic, table grapes, wine grapes, alfalfa hay, herbs, jojoba, kale, kumquats, lemons, head lettuce, leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, limes, mandarins and mandarin hybrids, cantaloupe melons, honeydew melons, milk and cream, nectarines, nursery bedding plants, nursery crops, dry onions, green onions, parsley, freestone peaches, chili peppers, bell peppers, persimmons, pigeons and squabs, pistachios, plums and prunes (dried plums), pluots, raspberries, safflower, alfalfa seed, Bermuda grass seed, vegetable and flower seed, fresh market spinach, strawberries, processing tomatoes, triticale, greenhouse vegetables, Oriental vegetables and watercress 

California is the sole United States producer of: almonds, artichokes, dates, raisin grapes, kiwifruit, olives, clingstone peaches, pomegranates, sweet rice, clover seed, and walnuts

How many types of crops are grown in California?

California grows more than 400 different commodities, growing more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts​.​
California is the leading agricultural state in the nation​.​

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