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12 Globally Inspired Avocado Toast Variations, From An MD

Linda Shiue, M.D.
Internal Medicine Doctor & Chef
By Linda Shiue, M.D.
Internal Medicine Doctor & Chef
Linda Shiue, M.D., is a former practicing internist who now runs Thrive Kitchen, where she educates patients on health via food. In addition to her medical training, she studied at San Francisco Cooking School and has a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University.
Image by Rachel Gulotta Photography / Stocksy
March 21, 2021

Trendy or not, I think avocado toast is a good template for a nourishing light breakfast, lunch, or snack, if you think of it as a platform for some tasty, nourishing toppings.

First, start with the bread. If you're lucky enough to live in San Francisco, get a good whole-grain loaf, such as Tartine bread. Other good options include the 21-seed Dave's Killer Bread, sold sliced on the shelves of most supermarkets, or other whole-grain breads. They will not only provide the fiber and other nutrients of whole grains but be sturdy enough to hold your toppings.

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Next, the avocado. It doesn't matter if you have the bumpy, black-skinned Mexican variety or the smoother, green-skinned variety—make sure your avocado is not overripe and mushy but just right: slightly firm and sliceable. You can either arrange it in slices, or if it's a bit softer, dice it, place it on your toast, and then use a fork to smash it.

Toppings are your chance to get creative. Add spices. Add leftovers. Add things you would put into a salad. You need just a few tablespoons per piece of toast, so this is a good way to use up those odds and ends/leftovers that have a lot of flavor to contribute but are not enough to make a meal.

Here are some suggestions inspired by flavor profile and global cuisines:

  1. The Classic: Whole-grain toast, avocado, red pepper flakes, squeeze of lemon juice, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Salad Days: Whole-grain toast, avocado, arugula, thin slices of radish, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  3. Italian: Whole-grain toast, avocado, sliced cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, red pepper flakes, squeeze of lemon juice or several drops of balsamic vinegar, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Spanish: Whole-grain toast, avocado, smoky Spanish-spiced chickpeas, squeeze of lemon, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  5. Moroccan I: Whole-grain toast, avocado, thinly sliced bell pepper, za'atar, squeeze of lemon juice, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  6. Moroccan II: Whole-grain toast, avocado, thinly sliced preserved lemon rind, harissa, squeeze of lemon juice, cilantro, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  7. Egyptian: Whole-grain toast, avocado, dukkah, squeeze of lemon juice, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  8. Smoky: Whole-grain toast, avocado, pimentón, black salt, squeeze of lemon juice, and drizzle of olive oil.
  9. Mexican: Whole-grain toast, avocado, thinly sliced jicama, cayenne, squeeze of lime juice, pinch of salt, and drizzle of olive oil.
  10. Korean: Whole-grain toast, avocado, gochugaru, toasted sesame seeds, several drops of rice vinegar, pinch of salt, and drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
  11. Japanese: Whole-grain toast, avocado, furikake, togarashi (Japanese chili powder), few drops of rice vinegar, pinch of salt, and drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
  12. Taiwanese: Whole-grain toast, avocado, thinly sliced cucumber, several drops of seasoned rice vinegar, pinch of salt, drizzle of toasted sesame oil, scattering of thinly sliced scallions, and crispy fried shallots.
Excerpted from Spicebox Kitchen: Eat Well and Be Healthy With Globally Inspired, Vegetable-Forward Recipes by Linda Shiue, M.D. Copyright © 2021. Available from Hachette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc. 
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Linda Shiue, M.D.
Linda Shiue, M.D.
Internal Medicine Doctor & Chef

One of the few MD’s who is also a trained chef, Linda Shiue has dedicated her life’s work to bridging the gap between the medical, nutrition and culinary worlds. She is the founder and director of Thrive Kitchen, a teaching kitchen at a large national healthcare system, where she educates patients on cooking craveably delicious, healthy meals.

A practicing internist for more than a decade, Dr. Shiue made the journey from the clinic into the kitchen to more effectively support the many patients she saw struggling with lifestyle-related medical issues, despite taking medications. Noticing the gap in conventional Western medical training to address nutrition (only a quarter of medical schools in the U.S. offer a nutrition class), Dr. Shiue formalized her own culinary education, attending San Francisco Cooking School, before staging in the kitchen of Michelin-starred restaurant Mourad in San Francisco and obtaining a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University.

For her first cookbook Spicebox Kitchen, Dr. Shiue shares her uniquely informed perspective on food and medicine. Using the vast world of spices and their health benefits as her guide, she takes readers on a journey through worldly and healthful flavors.


Photo by Michelle K. Min