As the environmental and ethical credentials of this fashionable fruit come under scrutiny, we offer four delicious, vegan alternatives to avocado on toast that won’t cost the earth.
It’s delicious, its simple to prepare and it’s packed with goodness. Small wonder that avocado on toast has become such a staple on the menus of fashionable cafés and restaurants. But, as with many things which seem too good to be true, avo on toast really is too good to be true. There is a dark back story emerging about the production of avocados which should make us think twice about the amount we consume.
The increasing international appetite for avocado has sent its price soaring, making it more profitable for Mexican farmers to produce than most other crops. This not only means that less food is being grown for domestic consumption but it is also encouraging deforestation as farmers illegally thin out mature forest to plant avocado trees. Unfortunately, avocado trees also require a lot of fertilisers, pesticides and water to survive: each fruit requires nearly 100 litres to produce. Add to this the fact that much of the production in Mexico is now controlled by drug cartels and that’s all the encouragement we at Miller Green need to hunt out some tasty toasty alternatives.
Pa amb tomáquet
This simple Catalan classic is the perfect way to use those late tomatoes still ripening on the vine. The great thing about this recipe is that you can grate the tomatoes – which is a brilliant way of taking the skins off as well. Just cut your tomatoes in half and rub the cut surface against a box grater. Out comes perfect pulp, leaving the skin behind. Take some rustic bread with plenty of holes and pop it under the grill to crisp it up. Rub the surface of the crisped bread with a clove of garlic and dollop on the grated tomato. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle over a little olive oil. If you want to add a few chopped herbs, go ahead but the dish is perfect without.
Greek baked beans on toast
Taking further advantage of those late tomatoes, creamy butter beans add a nice bit of protein.
- 2 x 400g jars of cooked butterbeans
- Good splash of Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 800g ripe tomatoes, halved and grated
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- Small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve
- Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and garlic, then cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until softened but not brown. Add the tomato purée and cook for a further minute before adding remaining ingredients apart from the beans. Simmer for a couple of minutes, season with salt and pepper and then stir in the beans. Tip the whole lot into a large ovenproof dish, then bake for about an hour. Remove from the oven, allow to cool a little, then pile onto toast, scatter with parsley and drizzle with a little more olive oil to serve. This dish is also delicious cold and will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for several days.
Creamy wild mushrooms
As late summer segues into autumn mushrooms will be plentiful and this is a delicious way to eat them.
- 200g mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- splash of olive oil
- ½ red onion, finely sliced
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped – stalks and all
- 75 ml soy cream
- squeeze of lemon
Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped mushrooms and onions and season with the salt and pepper. Sauté gently for about 10 minutes before adding the parsley and the soy cream. Heat through until the cream starts to bubble. Add a little squeeze of lemon, adjust the seasoning and slop it over your freshly toasted sourdough.
Kale and walnut pesto
For a topping that packs a mighty nutritional punch as well as tasting delicious, what better than kale and walnut pesto?
60g chopped kale, stalks removed
¼ tsp sea salt
1½ tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
Toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until lightly browned. Allow them to cool and then whizz in a food processor until finely ground. Add the chopped kale and the salt and pulse until finely chopped. Add the yeast flakes and pulse once more to combine everything. Slowly pour in the olive oil, pulsing to incorporate. Spread the pesto nice and thinly on a piece of toasted sourdough.