Did you have a fabulous Christmas full of all things lovely and delicious? I certainly did, and with my mum still here visiting from Ontario, I’ve got a couple more days off work to show her around the city. Unplugging from blogging for a week was 100% a great decision I feel so good after having done so. With that said however, I missed you guys and can’t wait to share today’s recipes with you!
After a month of holiday parties I’m sure the last thing you want to do is think about eating more food. Buuuuuuut… what if I said avocado toast bar? As in, a kind where you have a whole bunch of golden toasted, sprouted grain bread, perfect unblemished avocados, and a rainbow of toppings to arrange on top. I know in a few days we’ll probably be saying that avocado toast and sweet potato toast are soooooooo 2016, but as trendy as I like to be about food, I sure won’t be turning either down.
Before we get to toppings, let’s have a quick chat about bread. Avocado toast needs a nice sturdy foundation, so in this case I’ve used The Big 16 Sprouted Grain Bread by Silver Hills, a company based in Abbotsford, BC, not too far from Vancouver. While it’s not gluten-free, sprouted grain means that the seeds of the whole grains that make the bread have been soaked, then sprouted. If you’ve heard about sprouted grains but aren’t quite sure why they’re beneficial, here’s what you should know:
Inside whole grains are all sorts of valuable nutrients like folate, vitamin C, antioxidants, calcium, and iron. However, sometimes our digestive systems can have a hard time unlocking and absorbing them. This is partly because grains have protective compounds on the outside which helps them survive in nature without being eaten by bugs, pests, etc. (Remember when I talked about soaking beans in a reader Q&A post? Same deal.)
Those protective compounds – phytic acid being one – can be removed if we soak the grains before cooking or further processing them. Soaking also activates enzymes that trigger the sprouting process. When the sprout grows, those nutrients become ‘unlocked’ so we can actually absorb them, and the grain (or in this case, the bread) becomes easier to digest. Cool, right?
Whether you use sprouted grain bread, gluten-free bread, or any other bread that you love, the only other things you’ll need for your avocado toast bar are some ripe avocados (I smashed half of mine with lemon juice and kept the rest sliced), and your toppings of choice. My combos were as follows:
- Sliced avocado, smoked salmon, dill and sunflower sprouts
- Mashed avocado, hard boiled egg, tomato and sunflower sprouts
- Sliced avocado, cucumber, Easter egg radish and dill
- Mashed avocado, Easter egg radish, crispy curried chickpeas (recipe below) and sunflower sprouts
If you’re hosting New Year’s brunch, consider this for the menu. And even if you’re not, perhaps this will persuade you to do so! ?
DIY Avocado Toast Bar
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Ingredients (8 toasts)
- 8 pieces bread of choice
- extra virgin olive oil, for brushing
- 2 avocados, pitted and thinly sliced
- 2 avocados, mashed and mixed with 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 8 baby cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4-6 thin slices smoked salmon
- 4 thinly sliced Easter egg radishes
- 2-3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced English cucumber
- 1/2 cup crispy curried chickpeas
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped dill
- 1/2 cup sunflower sprouts
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
For the crispy curried chickpeas (makes about 1 cup; can be made in advance):
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, patted dry
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and black pepper
If making the crispy chickpeas, preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pat the chickpeas dry as best as you can, then toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes or until golden, shaking the pan every 10 minutes for even cooking. Remove them from the oven and toss in curry powder. (This is done afterwards so that you don’t burn the spices in the oven.) Set aside.
Prepare your toppings as directed above. Set them out in small bowls, along with the crispy chickpeas so that your guests can pick and choose what they like.
Just prior to eating, turn the oven to its broil setting. Lightly brush the bread with extra virgin olive oil and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet. Toast it for a few minutes on each side or until it’s as dark as you like. Remove the toast from the oven.
Slice the toasts diagonally in half. Set them next to the to toppings and enjoy!
So tell me…
- What was your fave food trend this year? I can’t choose just one, but in addition to avocado and sweet potato toasts, I love how fermented and probiotic-rich products are increasing in popularity. Gut health for the win!
- Any big plans for New Year’s Eve/Day?