Trendy avocado toast makes for spendy snacking

Considering the golden slice of toast on my plate, my eyes stray a few feet to the kitchen fruit basket, cradling a ripe avocado.

But I just can’t do it. Not for breakfast, not with coffee. Not when my palate is craving anything sweet slathered or sprinkled on buttery toast.

I get it that mashed avocado is tantamount to vegan butter, and it’s “healthful” fat at that. (So is butter in my book.) Avocado, however, also is inimitably savory, and I rarely can stomach eggs or bacon before 10 a.m.

Yet its appeal at every meal must be part of what’s driving the avocado-toast craze, which has been mocked as an affectation of “bourgeois” millennials. It’s even been dubbed “the devil on toast” by

I had my own eye-rolling reaction to avocado toast when out for drinks last weekend at an Ashland hot spot. From the small-plates menu inspired by myriad cuisines, from the Mediterranean to Asia, the table next to ours selected avocado toast.

Really? I thought. Who pays top dollar in a restaurant for a snack that you can produce at home with a 79-cent avocado and a 15-cent slice of bread? Particularly when the presentation couldn’t have been more pedestrian: just mashed avocado spread onto sandwich bread; no dusting of spices, not even an herb garnish. Restaurants must be making a killing on this trend.

At least this eatery charges a mere $3.75 (not including Ashland meals tax) for avocado toast, compared with the $6.78 per pop that Square reports Americans on average are paying. That translates to $900,000 per month that Americans are spending on this green gimmick, up from $17,000 per month in 2014, according to Square data cited in Time magazine.

Despite exponential price increases in avocados over the past six months, everyone can keep more green in their wallets by making avocado toast at home. As the following recipe shows, preparation couldn’t be simpler. But at least test-kitchen cooks for the Kansas City Star suggested a variety of toppings that would go a long way toward making this dish restaurant-worthy.

End-of-season cherry tomatoes with ribbons of fresh basil would go well here. Although I still think I’d prefer a slice of fresh mozzarella.

Tribune News Service photo

Avocado Toast

1 ripe avocado, halved, seeded and peeled

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 slices country-style wheat bread, toasted

Using the tines of a fork, mash avocado in a bowl. Add lemon juice, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Stir to blend well. Divide between the two pieces of toast.

Serve as is or add a variation from below. Makes 2 servings.

Avocado Toast With Egg: Poach, scramble or hard cook an egg. Place egg on top of avocado toast and serve.

Bacon Avocado Toast: Top with a crisp turkey bacon slice that has been halved and crisscrossed across toast.

Tomato Basil Avocado Toast: Slice 4 cherry tomatoes and layer on avocado toast. Sprinkle with finely chopped basil.

Salsa Avocado Toast: Spread a tablespoon or two of salsa over toast.

Avocado Toast With Radishes: Thinly slice radishes and place on avocado toast. Add chopped chives.

Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast: Top avocado toast with thin slices of smoked salmon and sprinkle with minced fresh dill.

Strawberry Avocado Toast: Slice two or three strawberries and place on top of avocado toast.

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