A Morning Essential

A Morning Essential
Toast is one of my favourite breakfasts in the entire world. Not only does it take so little time and effort to just pop a slice of bread or two in the toaster, but it provides a blank canvas for you to customize your breakfast to whatever dietary needs you have, cravings that strike, and food you have on hand. I pride myself on my toast and have even been called the “toast queen” by some of my followers, which by the way is the best compliment ever. Toast can be as fancy or as complicated as you make it, and here I am going to share my favourite ways to build a drool worthy, delicious, and healthy piece of toast. 

tuesday toast
Step 1: 

Start with a good piece or two of bread. I usually do one large, thick slice of bread if I’m cutting it myself or two smaller pieces of bread if I’m using a store-bought, pre-sliced loaf. I always go for either sprouted bread or sourdough bread. I love sprouted bread because it’s higher in protein and fiber than regular bread and I find it’s easier for my body to digest. My favourite sprouted breads are Food for Life Ezekiel bread and English muffins, Alvarado Street sprouted bread, and Dave’s Killer Bread and bagels. Many stores like Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Kroger, Target, Walmart, Publix, and more sell these breads or their own store brand sprouted bread, which can be good for budgeting purposes or if you don’t have access to a Whole Foods, Sprouts, Earth Fare, or other specialty grocery store. I love sourdough bread because it feels more authentic to me and I love the airy, crunchy texture of it. It’s also fermented, so it’s easier for us to digest and rich in probiotics. I buy whole loaves of sourdough and then slice it to my liking, aka thick. My favourite sourdough breads are Coco Bakes (vegan + gf + sprouted), Izzio Bakery San Francisco style, and Sprouts brand. I normally look for sourdough with no yeast or sugar in it, but if you can’t find one made with just flour, water, and spices, it’s okay. If sourdough is your favourite bread you should enjoy it rather than stress over a few minimal ingredients. Also, if you’re gluten free or paleo you can still enjoy toast! Some great gluten free breads are Coco Bakes (vegan too), Little Northern Bake House, Barely Bread (grain free), and Canyon Gluten Free. You could even slice up a sweet potato, roast it, and use it as a toast base. There’s even a convenient product available called sweet potato toast if you’re pressed for time.

morning breakfast

Step 2: 

Next you need to toast the bread. I usually just pop mine in the toaster, set it on a low number/setting, toast once, then flip and toast again. Repeat until toasted to your liking. I do this because it makes sure I don’t burn my toast by leaving it in too long, and that I toast both sides of my bread evenly. If I’m feeling fancy or have the time and patience I’ll toast it on the stove in ghee or oil. Another way to up your toasting game is to brush both sides with melted ghee or oil, then broil it in the oven until crispy.

eggs

Step 3: 

Once your bread is ready then comes the fun part – toppings! Here I will share some of my favourite combinations for toast, both sweet and savoury.

avocado

Example 1: Peanut Butter and Banana

This is a classic toast combination. I love this one because it’s so easy to make and never fails to taste yummy. I just do a slice or two of bread, a thick layer of peanut or any nut butter, ½-1 sliced banana, and cinnamon.

TIP: add some chia and flax seeds if you’re feeling fancy and want to up the nutrients.

TIP: if you don’t like or eat bananas feel free to replace it with whatever fruit you want. Apple and almond butter is a great combination on toast too.

 

Peanut butter and banana

Example 2: Almond Butter and Chia Jelly

This is an upgrade to those peanut and jelly sandwiches you always had as a kid. For this I do 2 slices of hearty bread (this combo can get soggy if you use the wrong bread), then I add a thick layer of almond butter on one side, then I load it up with chia jam.

Chia Jam Recipe: ½-1 cup frozen berries. Heat up the berries in the microwave or on the stove until they’re very soft. Finely mash the berries. Mix in 1 tbsp. chia seeds and 1 tsp liquid sweetener. Let sit in the fridge for 10+ minutes or until it thickens.

TIP: You can sub any nut butter you’d like for almond butter, but AB& Chia J just has a catchy ring to it.

PB AND J

Example 3: Yogurt

The combination of toast with yogurt on top might sound weird but I promise it’s a good one! The tangy, creaminess of the yogurt compliments the crunch of the toast so well. Don’t knock it till you try it!

I usually eat this toast in a sweet and savory combination, so I just do one yogurt one. I use a sturdy bread because the yogurt can make things get soggy pretty quickly.

I start with a super thick layer of yogurt, then I add lots of fruit, then I add a drizzle of nut butter, then I sprinkle on all of the extras: granola, chia seeds, flax seeds, bee pollen, cacao nibs, coconut flakes. I finish it off with a heavy shake of cinnamon and call it a day.

My favourite plain dairy yogurts are Siggi’s, Chobani, and Fage.

My favourite plain dairy-free yogurts are Coconut Collaborative, GT’s CocoYo, Kite Hill, and Lavva.

TIP: If you want your toppings to stick to a specific place on your toast use a tiny drop of nut butter as glue

yogurt toast

Example 4: Avocado

The quintessential toast of first millennials but now seemingly every generation. I feel like avocado toast was the combination that started the obsession our culture has with toast, so I can’t thank it enough. It was also the first healthy meal I made four-ish years ago that I really enjoyed. It still remains one of my favourite meals and go-to for when I don’t know what to eat or need something simple, healthy, and flavourful to reset my healthy habits.

I prefer to do one extremely loaded piece of avocado toast on a thick piece of sourdough, but you can do whatever you want. I also like doing 1-2 smaller pieces of toast and adding them into a meal with scrambled eggs and fruit.

A major key in my avocado toast is that I add a layer of cream cheese to it. It might sound weird but it takes the creamy texture and savoury flavour to a new level. My favourite cream cheeses are both vegan; Kite Hill and Miyokos Creamery. Any plain or savoury cream cheese would work here. You could even do a plain, higher fat yogurt for the tanginess and creaminess.

Next if I’m feeling extra healthy I’ll add in a layer of greens. I love raw arugula or steamed spinach. Cooked kale and spring mix are also good options.

Finally, it’s time for the avocado. I’ll do ¼-1/2 of an avocado per slice of bread depending on the size of the avocado. I don’t discriminate when it comes to how the avocado is presented. You can thinly slice it, mash it, cube it, or just place the avocado on the bread if you don’t have time to do extra dishes. If you really want to be fancy try out an avocado rose, or thinly slice your avocado and then fan it out on your bread (my personal favourite).

Then we season it. I’m a ride or die for my Everything but the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s. I sprinkle it all over the top of my avocado toast. Some of my other favourite seasonings to use are garlic salt, pink salt, cracked black pepper, dill, sesame seeds, basil, chopped green onion, cilantro, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Go to town with all your favourite seasonings to create the best avocado toast you’ve ever had.

You can stop here if you want, but I love to add extra things to my avocado toast to take it from snack to meal level. For my vegan friends, you could do scrambled tofu, roasted chickpeas, beans/lentils, or pumpkin seeds for protein. For my non-vegan friends, you could do smoked salmon, turkey slices, or an egg: fried, scrambled, boiled - whatever you enjoy. All parties can enjoy some fresh tomato and cucumber on their avocado toast for extra veggies, flavour, and crunch, yum!

Another optional thing I do to boost the toast’s nutrient profile and ability to photograph well for Instagram is add some micro greens or sprouts on top of the toast.

avocado

Example 5: Pizza Toast

Start with a hearty, sturdy bread for this one.

Very lightly toast it, then add some red sauce and a ton of pesto. I love Trader Joe’s vegan kale and cashew pesto)

After that add a generous helping of shredded or chopped. Mozzarella. I go for variations of organic dairy mozzarella or Miyokos vegan mozzarella

Melt the mozzarella on top of your toast via the microwave, a covered pan on the stove, or by broiling in the oven. Add some fresh herbs and seasoning if you’d like – basil and garlic are bomb on this. Then BOOM you’re done. Childhood pizza bites, but make it healthy.

toast tuesday

Example 6: Sweet and Savoury

I like doing a smaller piece of bread for this as a part of a bigger meal. I toast it then I add avocado, a drizzle of nut butter, chia and flax, and whatever fruit I’ve got on hand, and some scrambled eggs on the side.

Add a little pink salt on top of that and you’ve got all the flavours encompassed in one meal.

breakfast

Make sure to keep up with all the toast on Instagram by following the hashtag #ToastTuesday and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @gracesfoodfeed so you don’t miss any of my toast creations. Let’s have a toast to toasting the right way!