Photo: Dalina Rahman / FOAP (Getty Images)
Toast is synonymous with breakfast, but up until a few years ago when avocado toast hit the scene with the fury of Britney’s comeback, it was always relegated to a side dish, accompanying eggs or your traditional morning fare.
Popularized by fashion bloggers and millennials alike, toast has now become the star of the show, 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 gratuitous yolk dripping down the side. Hashtag: #eggporn. You’d think Boomerang was invented just to capture a fork slowly pressing down to reveal an explosion of silky yellow innards. Cue: 10,000 likes.
This once-crusty slab of bread with a melting pat of butter is now a main dish, acceptable as breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even as a dinner appetizer, 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 Toast Toppings
Smoked salmon 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.
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 also works well with roasted asparagus, spinach, or fresh-sliced tomatoes.
Sweet Toast Toppings
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, balsamic and figs, a smattering of mixed berries, or even fresh mint with a sprinkle of lemon zest.
While peanut butter is a great spread to glide along toast beneath a multitude of fruits like banana and apple, smoothly smothering every nook and cranny, it’s also a calorie bomb, so try some alternatives like walnut or almond butter to coat your toasted wheat, whole grain, or standby sourdough. (Unless you’re not worried about calories, in which case, have at it.) For the rest of us whose metabolisms are grinding to a screeching halt, strawberry, honey, and thyme blend beautifully with almond butter while raspberries, mint, and maple syrup bring walnut butter to life in glorious ways. Cocoa nibs also work on any kind of nut butter to transform your toast from simple to sophisticated. Add a handful of those mini morsels and call it dessert for breakfast.
Sweet and Savory Toast Toppings
Burrata is the life of the party when you’re packing on salty and sweet toppings. Think gooey burrata on grilled sourdough with prosciutto and ripe grilled peaches or strawberries with fresh basil.
Both tangy goat cheese and feta 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.
Toast has come a long way, so give avocados a break and try some new ingredients to expand your toast repertoire. And don’t worry about avocados. They’ll be just fine. They’ve still got the market cornered on guacamole, and never forget, “guac costs extra.”