Toppings For Your Toast Beyond Avocado

by Gennefer Gross

Toast is synonymous with breakfast, but up until a few years ago when avocado toast hit the scene, it was often relegated as a side dish, accompanying eggs or your traditional morning fare. Today, toast is the star of the show when draped in ripe slices of avocado, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few sprinkles of sea salt or chili flakes. And to make it even more Instagram-worthy, a poached egg perched atop it with yolk dripping down the side.

This once crusty slab of bread with a melting pat of butter is now a main dish, acceptable at breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even an appetizer at dinner, and always gloriously gilded with California’s favorite green fruit. But avocados aren’t the only topping to elevate toast to a tantalizing entree. There’s a world of equally Instagrammable toppings you can dress up wheat, rye, or sourdough with that will satisfy your every craving.

Savory

Smoked Salmon: Smoked salmon (which also covers the longtime NYC breakfast staple, lox) is the perfect partner for toast. Start with a layer of cream cheese and line it with luscious folds of soft cured salmon, topped with fresh chopped dill or red onion and capers. (Or, all three!) Smoked salmon’s flavor is bold enough to hold up to a variety of toppings, so feel free to experiment. And if you want to really take it to the next level, slide some salmon across your avocado toast. BOOM! The Internet explodes.

Soft Scrambled Eggs: Eggs and toast go hand in hand but buttery bursts of a fluffy scrambled egg turn this simple carb into a truly decadent experience. It’s simply spectacular topped with just fresh black pepper, but it also works well with roasted asparagus, spinach, or sliced tomatoes for added health benefits. And if you’re looking for a super low-cal alternative that packs a nutrient punch, chives top out at only one calorie and are loaded with vitamins.

 

Sweet

Ricotta: Whipped ricotta cheese is the most versatile base for a number of sweet toppings to toast the start of your day. Think honey and apple slices, pineapple and coconut, grapefruit and ginger, bananas and cinnamon, mixed berries, or even fresh mint with a sprinkle of lemon zest. This velvety spread, frothed with fruity accoutrements, is a vitamin-rich vehicle to revive your morning or afternoon snack routine.

Cottage cheese: Healthier than its Italian sister, ricotta, cottage cheese is another ideal base to cradle any number of fruits like the ones listed above, but consider other options like apricot jam, strawberry preserves, crushed walnuts and honey, or fresh figs or watermelon with a splash of balsamic (pro-tip: Grill the watermelon. Seriously, grill it till smoky tropical fruit wafts through the air.) Also consider pouring on a few teaspoons of your favorite yogurt. Yes, yogurt. An icing of low fat yogurt will seep into the curds to boost the flavor factor while the small, toasted dose of carbs underneath will keep you full till your next meal. Top with blueberries or strawberries to finish it off, and voilà, you’ve got an under 400 calorie breakfast treat.

Sweet And Savory

Burrata: Burrata brings the party when you’re packing on salty and sweet toppings. Think gooey burrata languishing across grilled sourdough with prosciutto, ripe grilled peaches, and balsamic. Drop on some pine nuts or corn for added texture, and experience summertime in toast form.

Goat Cheese / Feta: Both of these tangy cheeses add the perfect pop of piquancy to balance sweet ingredients and cut their natural acidity to sate your sweet tooth with a savory smack. Pick ultra jammy fruits like smashed blackberries or raspberries with honey and fresh mint or try cooked beets and blood oranges, garnished with orange zest to bask in the warm aromas of citrus with every bite. You just upped your snack game big time.

Hummus: Hummus has it all. That delectable creaminess from smashed chickpeas and tons of texture from the skin so it’s an ideal backdrop for layering flavors, especially sweet ones to balance its earthiness. Add some shaved carrots and raisins or cranberries or apples and crushed walnuts for rustic toasts. Or, if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can mix hummus, almond milk, spinach (stick with me here), strawberries, and sunflower seeds in a blender for a healthy toast ‘smoothie.’ Spread it on whole grain, topped with hemp seeds and ride that protein high for the rest of the day.

Toast has come a long way, so give avocados a break, and break out new ingredients to expand your toast repertoire. And don’t worry about avocados. They’ll be fine. They’ve still got the market cornered on guacamole, and never forget, “guac costs extra.”

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