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3 Simple (and Colorful) Spruce-Ups for Plain Old Toast

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I like to think of toast as a universal food, one that many of us grew up on. In my childhood, there was nothing more comforting than a toasty slice of bread with a good pat of Irish butter. Even now, the smell of bread toasting in the oven is both comforting and instantly creates a hunger in me.

Last year, I published a whole book on it called Toast: Finding Freedom in the Kitchen, hoping to bring back the universal love of breaking bread together. Because truthfully, what is more special than sharing a meal with someone? I started a dinner party company back in 2015 with the intention of creating space for people to connect around food. Food does that; it’s a language we all share, and often our most meaningful conversations and connections happen over sharing a meal. While throwing multiple dinner parties a week, I fell in love with toast. It’s simple, yet so complex. You take a simple piece of bread, and with a few short tips, you can create a masterpiece.

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Have grapes ever looked more sublime?
Have grapes ever looked more sublime?

Toast is an easy food to be resourceful with. I often keep a loaf of bread in my freezer and then get quite creative with whatever is left in my refrigerator to craft some tasty toasts. There are so many options of bread to play with, regardless of your dietary restrictions. I tend to stock up on a loaf of ciabatta (my personal favorite) and a loaf of gluten-free bread so I have options at my fingertips. And with a few ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen, you can craft something quickly and beautifully.

Toast is about freedom, intuition, and play. With this simple meal, you can learn to practice freedom in the kitchen, use your intuition with ingredients, and make a delightful meal for you, or to share.

With just a few upgrades, you can make your toast game strong and spruce up your artistic side in the kitchen. This year, try these three tips to upgrade your toast world.

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Don't worry, we still love you, avocado toast.
Don't worry, we still love you, avocado toast.

1. Freedom: Don’t play by the rules!

With any toast recipe, I challenge you to get creative/ If you don't have the suggested bread, or you’re missing an ingredient, try using a different variety of bread or subbing a similar ingredient. For example, I love swapping out goat cheese with a vegan cream cheese, or using gluten-free bread so that all of my friends can enjoy.

2. Intuition: Trust your instincts

Do you have some leftover veggies from dinner last night? Or maybe a boiled egg for breakfast? Using leftovers or foods that are often overlooked is a great way to step up your toast game.

Like a work of art.
Like a work of art. Photo by Rocky Luten

3. Play: Make it fun

I love setting up a toast bar at many of my parties because it allows people to play with food and create a toast that they’re craving. Try filling a bunch of small bowls with condiments, sauces, cheeses, and toppings. Then toast a large baking sheet of your favorite bread and set the toasts out, allowing your guests to create their own masterpiece.

This is what a toast bar gets you!
This is what a toast bar gets you!
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Avocado + Crispy Kale + Tahini + Seasoning Salt Toast

B8a3d544 1067 4d5b ab49 68f08ea87199  img 6971 Kara Elise
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Makes 1 slice
  • 1 large slice good bread, I’m using a seedy grain bread from a local baker
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • Sea salt + pepper
  • Seasoning of your choice
Go to Recipe
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Pomegranate + Lox Toast

B8a3d544 1067 4d5b ab49 68f08ea87199  img 6971 Kara Elise
3 Save
Makes 8 slices
  • 8 slices good rye bread
  • 4 eggs, soft boiled
  • Olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 radishes
  • 1 Persian cucumber
  • 4 ounces quality smoked salmon
  • 4 sprigs dill
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Go to Recipe
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Roasted Grape + Ricotta + Thyme Toast

B8a3d544 1067 4d5b ab49 68f08ea87199  img 6971 Kara Elise
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Makes 4 slices
  • 4 slices good bread
  • 1 cup red grapes
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • Honey, optional
  • Olive oil to drizzle
Go to Recipe

What are the different ways your amp up your toasts? Share them with us below!

Tags: toast