bacon ratatouille sliders with lemon saffron aioli

Growing up in Kansas, you witness farming life firsthand.

Instead of staring up at skyscrapers, you gaze across wheat and cornfields that disappear into the horizon.

Instead of hopping onto the subway to visit a friend, you drive down a county dirt road where you pass a farmer in a pick-up truck and politely say hello with a two-finger wave.

Instead of receiving a couple of steaks in the mail for Christmas, you get ribs, roast, brisket, and shank that fills up your entire freezer.

Farming is a way a life for many Kansan folks. Even though I didn’t grow up on a farm, I did learn from a very early age the important role farmers play in our lives. Did you know that one Kansas farmer feeds 155 people? It’s through hard work, perseverance, and dedication that farmers are able to supply high quality food to you and me.

When I was contacted by Kansas Pork Association (whose headquarters is in the city where I went to college!) about spreading the word about Kansas Pork Farmers, I was truly honored. Family farms in Kansas play an important role in keeping America fed. One of those families – the Bellars from Elk County – have been farming for over 20 years. They take great pride in producing the best pork products. You can check out their beautiful farm and see how they feed their swine from crops grown in their fields on the Your Bacon Starts Here website!

Today, I thought we could celebrate pork farmers of Kansas and return the favor by feeding them! I’ve whipped up a tasty slider that’ll surely have folks coming back for seconds.

This bacon ratatouille slider with lemon saffron aioli is a twist on the classic BLT. Instead of just using tomato, I thought incorporating other veggies would be fun – hence the ratatouille. Ratatouille is a simple vegetable medley made up of zucchini, red pepper, onion, and tomato. It’s the perfect companion to a piece of juicy bacon. Slather a little aioli on top and you’ve got a winner, winner, pork-approved dinner.

And, if you’re a bacon lover like yours truly, I highly recommend entering for a chance to Win Bacon for a Year! The Kansas Pork Association is running a contest right now on their Facebook page. Just imagine, 365 days of Kansas-quality bacon bliss!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some bacon that needs sizzling

Bacon Ratatouille Sliders with Lemon Saffron Aioli


for the ratatouille:
1 cup olive oil
3 medium tomatoes, deseeded, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
One large eggplant, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1 large red onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

10 to 12 pieces bacon
10 to 12 slider buns
3 cups arugula

for the lemon saffron aioli:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Couple of strands of saffron
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bacon slices on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside to cool before adding to slider.

for the ratatouille:
Preheat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. First vegetable to brown, tomatoes. Add tomatoes along with one garlic clove, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook for about five minutes or until soften. Remove tomatoes from skillet and set aside. Wipe skillet if you want. I didn't because everything gets cooked down pretty well. You will repeat the same process with the eggplant, zucchini, onions and red bell pepper. Remember, you have to cook each vegetable individually. Once you've cooked the vegetables, throw everybody back in skillet and add a bay leaf, 1/2 cup fresh basil and about 1/3 cup water (more if needed). Simmer veggies for about 15 minutes until everything is well combined. Remove bay leaf before serving.

for the lemon saffron aioli:
In a bowl, combine all ingredients. Place bowl in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

to serve: take about a teaspoon of the lemon saffron ailoi and spread it over the top of the bottom slider bun. Lay a piece of bacon on top (you may need to break the bacon in half). Top with about 2 tablespoons or more of the ratatouille. Top the ratatouille with arugula and more lemon saffron ailoi. Top with bun and enjoy!

ratatouille adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

All images and text ©

***Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.***