BLT with Arugula


A jazzed up version of the classic BLT with baby arugula stepping in for the lettuce.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Do you like BLTs? (BLT=Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich for those of you readers not familiar with this American classic.)

I’ve been mad for them as long as I can remember. But I never thought to sub out the lettuce for arugula (which grows like a weed around here) until my mother brought home an arugula BLT from a local bistro. So good!

The spiciness of the arugula is wonderfully countered by the fatty smokiness of the bacon. If you don’t have arugula available (also known as rocket) you can use watercress.

I wilted the greens in a little bacon fat just to make it easier to pack more into the sandwich.

BLT with Arugula Recipe

  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes one BLT sandwich


  • 2-3 slices thick smoked bacon
  • 1-2 thin slices of a fresh, large tomato
  • 1-2 ounces (a couple handfuls) fresh baby arugula (can substitute watercress)
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Mayonnaise


1 Cook the bacon: Heat a large sauté pan or cast iron pan on medium low heat. Lay the strips of bacon in a single layer on the pan. Slowly cook the bacon, rendering out the fat, until lightly browned on one side. Using a fork or tongs, turn the strips of bacon over to cook the other side.

When the bacon strips are sufficiently cooked remove from pan and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb the excess fat.

Pour out excess fat from the pan (leaving about half a teaspoon in the pan) into a jar or a container to either dispose of or to store. (Never pour bacon grease down the sink, it will clog your pipes.)

2 Wilt the arugula: In the same pan, add handfuls of fresh baby arugula or watercress. Toss in the remaining remaining fat. As soon as the greens start to wilt, remove from heat and remove from the pan to stop the cooking.

3 Toast bread, build sandwich: Toast bread slices in a toaster. Spread mayonnaise (or your favorite spread, butter will do too) over the slices. Layer the sandwich with bacon, sliced tomato, and lightly wilted arugula. Cut on the diagonal.

Eat immediately.

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Showing 4 of 11 Comments / Reviews

  • Anna

    Actually, during tomato season, I make BLT salads with baby arugula leaves, since I don’t eat bread anymore. Homemade mayo thinned into a Ranch-y salad dressing is usually how I dress it. I’ve got a long wait for tomatoes, though.

  • The Nervous Cook

    This sounds really great, though I’m not normally one to worship at the alter of bacon. I’m always looking for substitutions for it in a _.L.T.: Tofu L.T.? Scrambled-egg L.T.?

    Whatever I find to finally sub in will probably still be a great match for the arugula, though. What a simple and delicious swap!

    Try avocado as a sub for the bacon. It’s my dad’s favorite sandwich (still have to write that one up). The ALT. ~Elise

  • Jim

    Could you use Mâche Rosettes instead of arugula?

    If you try it, please let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Ron

    Ever since starting on the South Beach diet several years ago, have been using baby spinach in place of lettuce for this and wouldn’t have it any other way. Will try the arugula but can be more bitter than spinach.

    Make sure to stick with baby arugula which will be spicy, but not bitter. The leaves of the more mature plants can get bitter, in which case you can cook them like any other bitter green, such as kale or chard. ~Elise

  • Frank Woelke

    Why not use Fresh spinach, egg salad, Bacon, and tomato? Then you will have a spinach salad Sandwich. They are real good Especially if you put Bacon fat with a little sugar as a dressing istead of mayonaise. I love salad sandwiches. I make a cobb salad sandwich with basically the same stuff plus Avocado and blue cheese.

    Now I’m getting hungry, I have to go make me a sandwich right now. LOL

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