It’s All Good – Avocado Toast
Going on vacation is a wonderful thing. You eat and drink and take a delicious, restorative break from your responsibilities. You’re so refreshed that, somewhere on your long ride home, you get the idea that when you return you’re going to totally change your life from the inside out and start living clean. Clean eating, clean house, even an exercise program starting at 5:45 am!
Your spouse escalates this mania and soon you’re both making lists with milestones and numbers and schedules. To aid you in your mad plans, you pick up a book that claims it’s possible to maximize both health and flavor in the same dishes. For me, there is no point to health if there is no flavor, so this little adventure might even be sustainable past a day and a half.
I watched a series on PBS a few years ago called Spain: On the Road Again. It combined some of my favorite things: traveling, cooking outdoors, Mediterranean food, and chefs Mark Bittman and Mario Batali. Along for the ride was Gwyneth Paltrow, who leans toward vegan and even macrobiotic eating but still seems to genuinely enjoy the food she eats.
Paltrow and her cooking partner Julia Turshen wrote this new cookbook called It’s All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great. It has a range of recipes that are low on rich ingredients but high on spice and satisfaction. Our little family is going to cook primarily from this book for the next couple weeks and see how we like it. And how we feel. We will absolutely retain a balance with the pleasures of life (and gluten) but, right now, we are looking forward to shaping up.
As we just returned last night from our week-long vacation with champagne and barbecued oysters and hanging out on the beach, we haven’t had much time to lay in our new crunchy food supplies. We were hungry for breakfast this morning but we absolutely did not want to run out for Egg McMuffins the first morning of our new clean living plan. There was one recipe in It’s All Good that was perfect for our predicament: Avocado Toast.
We happened to have a bowl full of avocados that were hard as rocks when we left but had ripened beautifully over the course of the week, some sliced whole wheat bread in the freezer, and some lemons. The one thing we did buy for this little concoction was Vegenaise. Let me be very, very clear: I have nothing against mayonnaise. It’s wonderful (have you ever tried homemade mayo?? Mmmm). If you eat eggs and you eat oil, why would you not eat mayonnaise? It’s just food. Like butter. Eat it in balance with other things and there’s room for it’s creamy goodness, even on a wellness plan.
On the other hand, I have read over and over how incredibly good this Vegenaise is, even to people like me who harbor no grudge against mayo. And, it’s in the recipe for Avocado Toast. Cute Banker and I have jumped into this new lifestyle plan with both feet (and bellies and thighs) and we even have goals involving numbers spinning rapidly downward and races involving K’s! So we decided to go all out. We picked up a jar.
It tastes a whole lot like mayonnaise which, I suppose, is why it’s so popular. It’s ever so slightly less creamy looking, but it spreads just as smoothly. It tastes a tiny bit zippier. Frankly, I don’t think it’s better than mayo, but it will do the trick if you’re vegan or allergic to eggs. It does contain soy though, so pick your allergen. It has slightly fewer calories than mayo (90 as opposed to 100 per tablespoon). All in all, I would just use whatever you happen to have in the house.
Paltrow admits Avocado Toast is less a recipe and more a list of ingredients. To me, that’s exactly what’s called for on an early morning when you’ve got a run to fit in.
Avocado Toast, from It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great
"Toast a piece of your favourite healthy, preferably gluten-free bread. Spread it generously with Vegenaise or good quality vegan mayo... ...and top with a few slices of perfectly ripe avocado... ...ever so gently pressing the avocado into the bread. Hit it with a nice pinch of Maldon salt or Vege-Sal... ...and a few grinds of black pepper. That’s it. Sometimes we squeeze a tiny bit of lemon over it... ...or add some zip with fruity red chilli flakes, but really it’s the holy trinity of the mayo, avocado and salt that makes this like a favourite pair of jeans – so reliable and easy and always just what you want."
Paltrow “sometimes” squeezes lemon over her Avocado Toast but I’m here to tell you the lemon is key to this entire creation. The bright zing cuts through the thick, creamy avo and Vegenaise in a very satisfying way. Cute Banker adds that the “fruity red chilli flakes,” aka “crushed red peppers” are also indispensable, but that depends on whether you want to glide gently into consciousness in the morning, or blast yourself into your day, taste buds first.
Personally, I had to hold my quivering hand back from drizzling a little extra virgin olive oil over the top. I might skip the Vegenaise and just do a really fruity olive oil next time. And some turkey bacon on the side. (For the protein!!)
Whatever minor tweaks we made, all four of us ate this right on up. Quick, easy, healthy, and good. It’s definitely going in the breakfast repertoire.
Want to see what happened next on the road to fitness? Click here.