4 delicious alternatives to avocado toast

Pea and mint toast.
Pea and mint toast. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Roast red pepper toast.
Roast red pepper toast. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Beetroot hummus toast.
Beetroot hummus toast. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Pumpkin and truffle oil toast.
Pumpkin and truffle oil toast. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

(THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Oh, avocado toast. This sinfully creamy, ridiculously simple meal of smashed, pureed or sliced avocado on crisp toast has been the subject of so much conversation.

On Instagram alone, nearly 800,000 posts are dedicated to avocado toast. In the United States, tech company Square discovered that Americans were spending US$900,000 (S$1.2 million) a month on the product while, in Australia, millionaire Tim Gurner cited spending A$19 (S$19) on avocado toast as one of the reasons young millennials cannot afford to buy homes.

Needless to say, this celebrated toast has influenced, inspired and caused almost a cult-like following among young urbanites looking to get on both the health and trend bandwagon.

I have seen avocado toasts on the menus of countless restaurants in Klang Valley, Australia and London. While it is undoubtedly delicious, like most things in life, even good things can get boring when you have them one too many times.

One day, while I was pureeing baby food for my daughter, I realised that, with a little extra work, many of her meals could be repurposed into gourmet spreads that could be used to make unique non-avocado toasts.

So I started experimenting and trawled the Internet for additional ideas and inspiration.

After some trial and error, I discovered four recipes that I felt could work wonderfully well on toasts and looked rich and colourful too.

Many of these spreads are incredibly easy to make. The pumpkin and truffle oil spread, for example, requires only two ingredients: pumpkin and truffle oil. The truffle oil gives it a rich, opulent quality that mimics the salubriousness of a high-end eatery.

The roasted red pepper spread generally serves as a crowd favourite (in my experience) and is piquant and robust, with a tinge of spiciness. If you are after something green in lieu of avocado toast, try the chunky pea and mint spread, which is herbaceous and fresh.

The beetroot hummus is essentially a smooth, creamy Middle Eastern hummus with the earthy flavours of beetroot. It is something I first tried in a restaurant and which I have since tried to replicate, because it is both delicious and has such a lovely, rich purple hue. This is probably the spread that requires the most work, but that is only if you choose to make your hummus from scratch (you can cheat and use canned chickpeas).

All the spreads incorporate vegetables and while there is seasoning and oil in them, they make for reasonably healthy breakfast/brunch meals. The spreads work well as dips too, so you can just make them in bulk if you are after colourful options for that next dinner party.

But if you are looking for ways to enrich your toasts – and some new toast hashtags to start spreading on Instagram – you will enjoy whipping up these vibrant alternatives to avocado toast.


Pea and mint toast. PHOTO: THE STAR

1. PEA AND MINT TOAST

INGREDIENTS
For the pea spread
500g peas, cooked
¼ cup packed mint leaves
½ cup olive oil
Juice from ½ a lemon (can add more if you want a tangier taste)
Salt to taste

For the topping 
12 to 16 cherry tomatoes, grilled
6 to 8 eggs, poached

For the toast
6 to 8 slices of bread of your choice, toasted

METHOD
1. In a food processor, process all the ingredients for the pea spread until smooth but chunky. Spread pea mixture lavishly on toast and top with cherry tomatoes and poached egg. Serve immediately.

Serves six to eight


Roasted red pepper toast. PHOTO: THE STAR

2. ROASTED RED PEPPER TOAST

INGREDIENTS
For the roasted red pepper spread
6 red peppers
Olive oil, for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, roasted
4 tsp vinegar
2 tsp Sriracha sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

For the topping
5 thick-cut slices of aged cheddar cheese
Olives, as desired

For the toast
5 slices of bread of your choice, toasted

METHOD
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Cut peppers into bite-size pieces. Place on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until peppers have wilted.
2. In a food processor, process peppers, garlic, vinegar, Sriracha sauce, salt and pepper until slightly pulpy but spreadable.
3. To make the topping: Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Place cheese slices on baking paper some distance apart from one another as cheese will spread in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cheese has formed a crispy lattice. Leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled, place in an air-tight container if not using immediately.
4. To assemble: Spread roasted red pepper on toast. Top with olives and cheddar crisp and serve immediately.

Serves five


Beetroot hummus toast. PHOTO: THE STAR

3. BEETROOT HUMMUS TOAST

INGREDIENTS
300g dried chickpeas
3 beetroots, diced
1 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roasted
2 lemons, juiced
½ cup to ¾ cup tahini
2 tsp cumin powder
Water from the cooked chickpeas, to loosen mixture

For the topping
Feta cheese, crumbled
16 asparagus spears, grilled

For the toast
8 slices of bread of your choice, toasted

METHOD
1. Soak chickpeas in water for at least six hours or overnight for best results. The next day, cook chickpeas over low heat for 1½ to 2 hours until soft and tender. Reserve some of the cooking water, drain and set aside.
2. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. On a baking tray, drizzle olive oil over beetroot and roast in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Blend beetroot in a food processor and set aside.
3. Put all the other ingredients in the food processor and blend until you get a smooth, creamy mixture. Add water to loosen mixture if necessary. Finally, add beetroots and process until combined.
4. To assemble: Spread beetroot hummus on toast, place crumbled feta cheese on top and add asparagus spears to complete. Serve immediately.

Serves eight


Pumpkin and truffle oil toast. PHOTO: THE STAR

4. PUMPKIN AND TRUFFLE OIL TOAST

INGREDIENTS
For the pumpkin spread
900g butternut pumpkin, steamed till soft
2 Tbs truffle oil

For the topping
8 slices smoked salmon
6 button mushrooms, grilled and sliced
Microgreens to garnish
Olive oil, for drizzling

For the toast
8 slices of bread of your choice, toasted

METHOD
1. In a food processor, blend the pumpkin and truffle oil until smooth and creamy. Spread pumpkin mixture generously on toast.
2. Place salmon on top of pumpkin spread, garnish with mushrooms, microgreens and drizzle a little olive oil on top. Serve immediately.

Serves eight