Enjoy the taste of summer with Garden BLT’s with Pesto Aioli. Bursting with basil flavor and all the veggies of the summer harvest. Freeze your extra pesto to make these sandwiches all year long! These hearty BLT’s are the perfect weeknight meal to eat on the patio!
Way Beyond Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato
BLT’s are my favorite, but I’ve always thought that those 3 ingredients, the bacon, the lettuce and the tomato, aren’t enough! Garden BLT’s with Pesto Aioli solve that problem! I always add avocado and cheese (Wisconsin native!), but when so much is coming out of the garden I just want to keep adding. Cucumber gives it a little extra freshness, and then there’s the pesto! Our garden is full of greens, basil and beyond, and pesto is my favorite use-up!
When the garden is full of greens, I make batches of pesto and store the extra jars in the freezer. This is a great way of preserving all kinds of garden greens. Basil is the pesto classic for sure, but I also throw in Swiss chard, kale, spinach or arugula, whatever needs to be used. It stretches your basil, adds nutrition, and those little green jars are like frozen gold in the middle of winter!
A bit of pesto mixed with mayo makes the spread on these BLT’s. Aioli is just fancy for mayo, usually homemade mayo with raw egg and oil, but we’re skipping that here! If you don’t want to do the pesto step, just mayo works too. If you’ve ever frozen pesto in ice cube trays, this aioli is the perfect way to use up a couple cubes. A huge ciabatta loaf makes for a “sandwich for dinner” kind of menu.
Start your sandwiches by making a batch of pesto in your food processor. Mix a few tablespoons of the pesto with mayo for the BLT’s and freeze the rest. Next, cook your bacon on a sheet tray in the oven at 400° for about 20 minutes. If you’ve never cooked bacon in the oven, try it, it is truly the best method! While the bacon cooks away, assemble all your other ingredients. Toast your ciabatta in the oven and pile on your ingredients. I love to load BLT’s up with lots of veggies, tomato, cucumber, avocado, and lots of lettuce or any greens! Finish with your bacon out of the oven, slices of cheese and the pesto aioli!
All the extra veg might lessen the kid-friendly appeal, but for my kids, I serve them a fully loaded wedge with all the fixings and encourage them not to take it apart. They usually do anyway, but it’s still a family favorite!
More Recipes from the Garden!
- Creamy Tomato Basil Fettuccine
- Super “Greens” Hummus
- Garden Bruschetta
- The Summer Lunch
- Freezer Marinara Sauce
- Strawberry Shortcake
Garden BLT’s with Pesto Aioli
- For the Pesto:
- ¼ c pine nuts best if toasted in a dry pan, don’t burn!
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 c garden greens including some or all basil, or any combination of Swiss chard, kale, spinach, or arugula – washed and tough stems removed
- 1 t kosher salt
- 10 grinds pepper
- 1 juice of a lemon
- ⅓ c Parmesan cheese grated
- ⅓ c olive oil
- ⅓ c water
- For the Sandwiches:
- 2 T mayo
- 1 package bacon
- 1 loaf Ciabatta Bread
- tomato sliced
- cucumber sliced
- 1 avocado sliced
- white cheese slices any kind such as provolone, muenster, havarti or white cheddar
- In a food processor, add all pesto ingredients (pine nuts, garlic, greens, salt, pepper, lemon juice, Parmesan) except olive oil and water and process.
- With food processor running, drizzle in the oil and water through the feed tube until smooth , about 2 minutes (stop to scrape down the sides with a spatula).
- Combine 2 T of the pesto with 2 T mayo and store the rest of the pesto in small jars or ice cube trays and freeze.
- Preheat oven to 400° convection bake, cook bacon on a large sheet pan until crisp, about 20 minutes but check it often and flip bacon if needed, drain on paper towel, extra bacon can be frozen and used in omelets, breakfast tacos, or pasta dishes with veggies and cream.
- While the bacon is cooking, prepare other ingredients, slice Ciabatta open and toast slightly in the oven, slice veggies.
- Assemble sandwiches spread with the pesto aioli, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, bacon, cheese and avocado. Cut into wedges and serve.