How to Eat Toast for Dinner

September  3, 2014

Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Dinner always tastes better when you eat it with your hands.  

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My favorite part of eating toast for dinner is how decidedly grown-up it makes me feel. Not because it's a particularly involved method of preparation or because it requires any real mastery -- it's quite the opposite, actually. I experience the same feeling of adult bravado when I eat chips or candy in lieu of a real meal. It's the old "I can do whatever I want for dinner because nobody's going to stop me -- whether it's eating dessert first, ingesting 200 grams of sugar, or eating dinner with my hands." 

Unlike a bag of Swedish fish or Smartfood (hey, everyone has their vices), toast -- topped with vegetables and proteins -- is a low-key, affordable dinner that will keep you satiated on a budget. It also somehow feels fancier than a regular sandwich. 

Some tips to get you started:

  • Don't settle for sliced white bread. Pick a toothsome loaf -- a seeded multigrain boule, or crusty ciabatta -- to give your base some heft.
  • Start with a creamy base like hummus, ricotta, smashed avocado, or pesto. The flavor will saturate the bread and add some punch. 
  • Top with fresh vegetables and your protein of choice. Stick with what's in season -- tomatoes now, kale in winter -- for the freshest-tasting toast possible.

Here are a few recipes for inspiration:

Roasted Tomatoes and Onions on Toast


Mushrooms on Toast


Bagna Cauda Toasts with Radicchio, Egg, and Avocado


Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese



Sautéed Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Poached Egg Holiday Toast

Sautéed Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Poached Egg Holiday Toast


Toast With Squash, Prosciutto, and an Egg


"Moroccan Guacamole" Toasts with Fried Egg

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to eat toast for dinner?  

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • HalfPint
  • AntoniaJames
  • Joy
Yes, my name rhymes.


HalfPint September 3, 2014
During the summer when tomatoes are overflowing from the garden, we have tomato bruschetta for dinner...alot. And it never gets old or tired.
AntoniaJames September 3, 2014
"Things on Toast" is practically a food group in our house. I make bread regularly, and we always seem to have a bit of an old loaf hanging around when the new loaves come out of the oven, so turning it into dinner provides the perfect thrifty solution. Examples; ; and its first cousin: . We eat these with a fork and knife. Other, not-recipe methods include: toasting artisanal bread, covering with an almost sheer layer of grated Asiago or Pecorino Romano (sometimes with a light film of pesto down first), floating it on tomato soup, or minestrone, or Tuscan bean soup, and running it under the broiler for about 30 seconds, as one would with French onion soup. We also thinly slice baguettes, toast, and cover generously with Genius (Ottolenghi & Tamimi) hummus, topped with my homemade dukkah, which is included as part of this recipe: , which also features toast, and would make a great summer dinner! ;o)
Joy October 20, 2014
These are great examples. Thanks!