Avocado Toast Salad is the Best Thing Since Avocado Toast

April 17, 2018

Yesterday morning, I was assembling avocado toast in the staff kitchen when one of my coworkers walked in, pulled an avocado out of her bag, and said, “Emma! Same!” This tells you all you need to know about our office. Sort of like that time I made avocado toast for breakfast, got to work, then found out that our team lunch was—surprise!—avocado toast. Because it’s avocado toast’s world. We’re just living in it.

And riffing on it. Maybe some feta and mint. Or anchovies and boiled egg. Or preserved lemon and harissa. At the bakery where I worked, we made this seedy bread, smashed avocado on top, plus shaved cucumbers or radishes, like roof tiles or fish scales, and a generous pour of thick, local buttermilk.

All these variations build on the classic foundation—an open-faced sandwich—like an addition on a house. Here, I wanted to channel one of those home renovation shows (and by that, I mean the closest I’ve ever gotten to watching a home renovation show: the Queer Eye reboot) and break down some walls, paint some cabinets, film the husband and wife when they walk through the door and oh, she’s crying! I’m crying! Everyone’s crying!

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Panzanella makes people cry, right? This Tuscan bread salad is just what it sounds like—a salad made out of bread, not lettuce, with lots of tomatoes and olive oil and vinegar, maybe some onions and basil, too. I was daydreaming about this—as one inevitably does in the doldrums of winter—while eating avocado toast and, just like that, the idea flickered, then gleamed, like a light bulb, or the sun. Avocado toast salad!

Bread: It's what's for dinner. Photo by Ty Mecham

Here’s how we’ll do it:

  • The bread: Sliced bread is not the best thing here—too thin. We want giant, torn, shaggy chunks. Find a crusty-edged, fluffy-centered loaf. I like a wheaty, seedy variety, but a sourdough would do well, too. Very thickly slice, then tear into pieces with your hands, like the savage that you are. Drizzle with olive oil and toast until crispy.
  • Seeds: Actually, while the oven is on, why not toast some seeds, too? I opted for sunflower and sesame. You could also go the nut route—walnuts or pecans or pistachios for more green.
  • Veggies: I called in my go-to avo toast toppings: cucumbers, radishes, and red onions. Maybe you’ll want some tomatoes or bell pepper, raw zucchini or roasted butternut, even oil-cured olives or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Fresh herbs: Again, this is personal! I went with basil, dill, and parsley. But no one is stopping you from choosing mint or tarragon or oregano.
  • Dressing: Funky dairy and avocado are strange bedfellows, but they work. Think back to that feta or buttermilk. I channeled this with a lemony, olive oily Greek yogurt dressing.

How do you riff on avocado toast? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Annada Rathi
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    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Annada R. April 2, 2020
Avocado soup with lime juice, chaat masala and tadka seasoning of vege oil, mustard/cumin seeds. Top the soup with obscene amount of croutons.
Rhonda35 April 1, 2020
I don't know how I missed this the first time, Emma - it's a genius idea! Look forward to giving it a try soon.
Emma L. April 1, 2020
Thanks so much, Rhonda!