9 No-Cook Twists on Avocado Toast

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[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Like your favorite indie band that makes it big, even the best food trends invite their fair share of mockery and derision. Which is why I could easily go on a nice long rant for you right now, all about how tired this whole avocado toast "thing" is and how annoying it is to see obnoxiously priced avocado-smeared bread popping up on every other café menu in America. It would be a good rant, too—funny and cutting and cruel. But it would also be completely, utterly hypocritical. Because the truth is, I think avocado toast is pretty great. Not only does it make a quick and delicious snack, it's easy to transform into a meal with the addition of a few toppings and garnishes. It's versatile, refreshing, and satisfying all at once.

And so, in the spirit of embracing this particular trend, I've put together nine great twists on avocado toast. Some will fill you up for dinner; others are more of a light and simple snack. Better yet, not a single one requires a lick of cooking (unless you count an optional toasting of your bread as "cooking," in which case, we have other problems to iron out).

To keep things simple, I've taken the same fundamental approach to each recipe. I begin by lightly brushing the bread with olive oil and toasting it. Then I scoop half a ripe Hass avocado directly onto the bread and gently mash it with a fork, add my toppings, and sprinkle it with salt. If you find yourself with a not-quite-ripe avocado and a burning desire to use it anyway, you can slice it instead, but I'm partial to the mash, since it allows for more even coverage and helps my garnishes adhere to the bread. So, without further ado, I'll take your avocado toast and raise you...

Boquerones and Smoked Paprika

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It's no secret that I love anchovies. But I also accept that the intensely savory salt-cured variety can be off-putting for some. That's where the popular Spanish tapa, boquerones, comes in. These tender, vinegar-marinated fresh anchovies add a brightness to avocado without overwhelming your palate. With a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dusting of paprika, this toast is creamy, smoky, tart, and briny all at once.

Get the recipe for Avocado Toast With Boquerones and Smoked Paprika »

Frank's RedHot and Blue Cheese

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You don't have to have chicken on hand to revel in some classic Buffalo flavor. This also happens to be the easiest, drunk-food-friendliest toast of the batch. Avocado stands up well to a dose of spicy, tangy Frank's RedHot and a sprinkle of blue cheese, which means heat fiends can really push the limits (and their more spice-averse counterparts can keep things on the mild side, while still getting plenty of flavor).

Get the recipe for Avocado Toast With Frank's RedHot and Blue Cheese »

Cucumber, Soy Sauce, and Shichimi Togarashi

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Seedless cucumber does a great job adding cooling crunch to avocado toast, but it doesn't impart much in the way of flavor. To amp up this version, I drizzle soy sauce onto the avocado and toss some peppery scallions on top. But the real finishing touch is a pinch of shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-spice blend of chili peppers, sesame seeds, and other ingredients like nori, ginger, and orange peel. You can order it online, find it in most Asian specialty stores, or simply substitute some ground red chili pepper, black pepper, powdered ginger, and sesame seeds for a comparable, if somewhat less nuanced, seasoning.

Get the recipe for Avocado Toast With Cucumber, Soy Sauce, and Shichimi Togarashi »

Mango, Chili Powder, and Mint

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Juicy, tart mangoes are surprisingly excellent at cutting through the richness of avocado. Unfortunately, it can be hard to predict just how sweet they'll be. If you're working with an especially ripe or fruity mango, make sure to compensate with additional lemon juice to keep the sweetness in check. A sprinkle of chili powder adds contrasting heat that more firmly anchors this toast in savory territory. I went ahead and added some chopped mint for an aromatic, herbal touch, but basil would do nicely here as well.

Get the recipe for Avocado Toast With Mango, Chili Powder, and Mint »

Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, and Capers

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Avocado and smoked salmon are a natural pair, but because they're both so fatty, they need some acidity to balance them out. For this rendition, I took a few cues from the classic bagel and lox, adding tomatoes, capers, and thinly sliced rounds of red onion to the mix. In place of cream cheese, I used a schmear of goat cheese beneath the avocado for a little extra tang. A squeeze of lemon juice and a little fresh black pepper bring everything together.

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Radishes, Baby Peas, and Fresh Herbs

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This combination is an unabashed celebration of spring. As with many of these recipes, I manage the avocado's natural fattiness with some lemon juice, salt, and pepper. A smattering of baby peas adds pops of sweetness. To keep them from rolling right off the toast, I press them gently into the smashed avocado. Next, I add a layer of radishes for some spicy crunch, followed by some chopped herbs. I used basil here, but lemon thyme, mint, or chives would also make a great addition.

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Chipotle Mayo and Cotija Cheese With Cilantro and Lime

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This Mexican-inspired take gets its acidity from fresh lime juice and a dash of creamy heat from homemade chipotle mayo. You can take the easy route and simply spoon some of the liquid from a can of chipotles in adobo into store-bought mayonnaise, or you can go all in and make that mayo from scratch. In either case, it's a surprisingly quick step. Though I used a squeeze bottle to drizzle it onto the toast, you could also mix it straight into the avocado for an equally flavorful result, though slightly less attractive presentation. Then I top everything with a layer of salty, crumbly Cotija cheese and a generous dose of grassy cilantro.

Get the recipe for Avocado Toast With Chipotle Mayo and Cotija Cheese »

Ricotta, Olive Oil, Lemon Zest, and Basil

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You'll want to hunt down a high-quality ricotta and some great olive oil for this recipe—they're really the stars of the show. Look for a ricotta that has only whole milk, an acid coagulant, and salt as ingredients (you can read about our reasoning and favorite brands here). Can't find one? Try making it yourself instead—our recipe takes just five minutes, and I guarantee you'll be shocked by how much better it tastes. Once you have your ricotta, there's not a whole lot to do here: Mash your avocado, add that requisite squeeze of lemon, and then top it with some dollops of ricotta, a drizzle of olive oil, and some lemon zest and basil chiffonade for extra flavor. Given how many rich ingredients make their way onto this toast, it's remarkable how light and summery it tastes.

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Citrus Suprèmes and Slivered Fennel

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Those delicate, jewel-tone, skinless citrus wedges, known in the culinary world as suprèmes, may look intimidating, but they're really quite easy to slice once you get the hang of it. All you'll need is a little time, a test orange or two, a paring knife, and these step-by-step instructions. You'll be left with easy-to-eat, beautiful-to-behold slices of fruit that have no stick-in-your-teeth membranes or bitter pith to worry about. And they'll come in super handy for all manner of salads, chutneys, salsas, and, yes, this avocado toast.

Though you'll spot oranges in the above image, I'd heartily recommend experimenting with a variety of citrus—think grapefruit, tangerines, clementines, or pomelos. The tart-sweet family of fruits pairs exceedingly well with the anise-y flavor of fennel, which makes its way onto this toast in paper-thin slices cut with a mandoline. For a light, mild finish, you can add mint, as I did, or incorporate some arugula and feta cheese for a punchier, bolder flavor.

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