Adventures in Avocado Toast

I never quite understood the whole avocado toast craze until my college semesters became more intense last fall. Between studying, recipe development, photo shoots, volunteering, writing, and trying to plot the spring gardens, regular meals became, well... less regular. At the last farmer's market of the season in Kennebunk, ME, I was treated to samples of fermented vegetables from Gracie's Garden in Standish, Maine.

At the time, I was already researching the gut microbiome and lacto-fermentation, so I was stoked to choose between so many tasty options. I excitedly chose two varieties to bring home - along with some crisp, colorful produce to start my own ferments.

It didn't take long to discover how quickly I could throw together a completely satisfying snack with some quality bread, half an avocado, fermented veg, a sprinkle of salt and seasonings. I finally cottoned on that this was a thang... welcome to the world of avocado toast!

Avocados are an excellent source of vitamins K and folate and a good source of vitamins C, B5, B6, E, potassium and fiber. They're also loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids!

AND... did you know you can actually FREEZE avocados??! Check out how do it at the end of this post. If you'd like to learn more about lacto-fermentation, how it differs & what it has in common with pickles, and/or how to make some fermented veg of your own check out the links provided at the bottom of this post!

I eventually ventured into wider territory. Why not make a complete meal? Or utilize seasonal wild fruits? I could easily have kept this a running conglomeration expanding with seemingly endless creative (but vetted) combinations, but too many open-ended collections are taxing. So, I bring you eleven variations of avocado toast!

Starting with this one - the first one I made.

This is the busy persons' avocado toast (a.k.a. lazy version)… you don't even take the time to smash, slice or dice the avocado... just peel a half and lightly smoosh it onto your toast!

ON THIS ONE: sourdough toast, half an avocado, Hot Pink lacto-fermented spicy cabbage and Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

ON THIS ONE: Dave's Killer Bread, avocado coarsely smashed with fresh lemon juice, lacto-fermented red cabbage & fennel, hemp seeds, Everything But the Bagel seasoning.

ON THIS ONE: my own fresh whole grain bread, avocado smashed with dill pickle juice, chopped dill pickles, red onion, snipped chives, dill & summer savory and freshly ground black pepper

This tastes like egg salad without the egg. If you'd like to bump up the plant-protein, I recommend pressing extra firm organic (sprouted if possible) tofu, dicing it small and marinating in fresh herbs and dill pickle juice for a few hours.... serious YUM!

ON THIS ONE: my own whole grain bread, avocado smashed with fresh lime juice, fresh strawberry slices, Hawaiian black salt, snipped French tarragon and a drizzle of Espresso Balsamic (I purchase from Salt & Olive in Cambridge, MA).

If you've never tasted well-aged flavored vinegars, I highly recommend finding one you enjoy. Many specialty shops offer tastings so you can choose one you adore. All it takes is a tiny drizzle to make a world of difference to your finished dish.

ON THIS ONE: Dave's killer bread, avocado smashed with fresh lime juice & a dash of salt, lime zest, fresh wild NH blueberries, snipped Genovese basil, and a drizzle of Espresso Balsamic.

This one can easily be made with fresh high-bush (commercial) blueberries. Fewer will fit on the toast, but when sliced in half their inner color matches that of the avocado, making a striking presentation.

ON THIS ONE: my own whole grain bread, avocado smashed with fresh lemon juice & smoked salt, wild raspberries, snipped lemon thyme and a drizzle of white wine vinegar with concentrated grape must.

Commercially grown fresh raspberries can be used as well, but fewer will fit on your toast.

If you don't have access to lemon thyme, try common thyme, Greek oregano, chervil, summer savory or fennel fronds.

ON THIS ONE: my own whole grain bread, avocado smashed with fresh lemon juice & a sprinkle of smoked salt, fresh Bing cherries (pitted & cut into 1/6ths), lemon zest, French tarragon and a drizzle of Espresso Balsamic.

Plums are is season at the same time as Bing cherries and would be a lovely swap.

Grilled peaches, diced small, would also work well here.

ON THIS ONE: gingerbread waffles, avocado smashed with fresh orange juice, my New England Cranberry Sauce, toasted pecans, orange zest and a dash of grated nutmeg.

ON THIS ONE: my whole grain bread, avocado smashed with fresh lemon juice, cannellini beans, snipped chives & summer savory, lemon zest and my Lacto-Fermented Red Onions.

The addition of legumes gives this one a boost in both protein and fiber.

ON THIS ONE: my whole grain bread, avocado smashed with fresh lime juice & a dash of smoked salt, spicy sautéed chickpeas (olive oil, almond butter, toasted sesame seeds, smoked paprika, ground cumin) finely diced jalapeno

When I make chickpeas like this, I make a double batch because they are SO good... and frequently snitched right out of the skillet! For another version of these chickpeas (and this version) check out my Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes!

ON THIS ONE: my whole grain bread, avocado smashed with fresh lime juice & a dash of smoked salt, black beans, finely diced jalapeno, chopped grape tomatoes, and snipped chives & cilantro.

This one also packs an extra punch of protein and fiber from the black beans.

So there you are - ELEVEN new versions of avocado toast to enjoy. I'd love to hear some other combinations you are currently diggin'. Comment below with some of your faves!

Now here's HOW TO FREEZE avocados:

1. Wash and dry thoroughly before cutting.

2. Cut each in half, remove the pit, peel, and put them in a freezer bag. Sprinkle with a bit of citrus juice (lemon or lime). Remove as much excess air as possible or place in an airtight container, label and freeze OR...

3. Smash or puree each half with a bit of lemon or lime juice (to taste), portion out into freezer bags (removing as much air as possible), ice cube trays, or airtight container, label and freeze. If using ice cube trays, cover the top with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Properly stored they'll last 3-6 months. Once thawed, they'll be perfect in guacamole, smoothies, dressings or desserts. They will NOT be great for slicing or dicing, so just keep that in mind.

Here are some of my lacto-fermentation recipes if you'd like to try your hand at making your own!

Try my SAUERKRAUT recipe HERE

Try my Lacto-Fermented SPICY CARROT recipe HERE

Try my Lacto-Fermented MOROCCAN SPICED CARROT recipe HERE

Try my Lacto-Fermented RED Onion recipe HERE

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CatherineeBrown@hotmail.com  603-237-1012  PO Box 253 Errol, NH 03579