Ever since I started going to the gym and I started to pay more attention to what I eat, one of my favorite foods is toast with avocado. It is not an actual diet food, since it is high in calories, but it’s perfect for a nutritious breakfast or snack that provides a high burst of energy enough to face an intense workout session (or even a late night watching Netflix on the couch, or so I’ve been told!).
Avocado toast was also my inspiration to create a super-simple recipe to prepare with dukkah, a mix of herbs, spices and chopped dried fruit typical of Egyptian cuisine, which could certainly not be left out on Labna.
Let’s start with avocado on toast. If you are interested in healthy cooking and you are on Instagram, your newsfeed is probably full of slices of various types of bread, with sliced or crushed avocado spread on top. I resisted the temptation to try it for a while, but in the end, all those people in America who love avocados could not all be wrong.
Thus, I too became avocado-dependent! Which is not necessarily a problem, because avocado is good for our health in many ways, unless you overdo it. Avocado is a super-energy fruit, since it is very high in fat, but compared to meat and dairy products it has a very small amount of saturated fats, the kind we should only eat in moderation; moreover, it allows us to recharge our levels of omega-9 oleic acid, fiber, potassium (double the amount in a banana!), magnesium and folic acid.
If this information has made you a believer, you can start by simply toasting a slice of whole-wheat or black bread, even better if it is the kind with seeds, in the oven or in a very lightly oiled frying pan, and slicing (or crushing with a fork, if you prefer) half an avocado.
Prepare the dukkah separately.
- 40 g pine nuts *
- 40 g shelled pistachios *
- 40 g sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme *
- a healthy pinch of pepper
- Weigh the ingredients separately and let them toast in a pan on medium/high flame; given that the times to toast each ingredient are different, but we certainly also do not want to dirty a lot of pans, first toast the pine nuts and pistachios, then combine the sesame seeds, then the coriander and cumin, and finally, the thyme.
- Allow the contents of the frying pan to return to room temperature then crush it with a mortar and pestle or chop it in mixer. You can decide if you prefer a fine powder or fine grainy mix. In my opinion, a grainy mix works best for the avocado recipe.
- Transfer the chopped grainy mix into a small glass jar, then add salt and pepper and shake the mix.
- Keep your dukkah jar with all your other spices in a dry, cool place away from sunlight.
(*) There are many varieties of this spice mix; you can use other dried fruits instead of pistachios and pine nuts (e.g. almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts), add different herbs (such as mint and marjoram), or experiment with unexpected ingredients such as lemon zest and chili pepper.
When a dukkah that you like is ready, you can assemble the avocado on toast; squeeze a few drops of lemon juice to the avocado before sprinkling it with dukkah.
Speaking of variations, after reading (and partially trying) a thousand recipes, I have collected some alternatives to dukkah to change the way you season the avocado toast. Once you have tried it, you will no longer be able to do without it, and you will want to prepare it at least once a week!
- – Poached or soft-boiled eggs (a classic!)
- – Zaatar and Greek yoghurt
- – Tahini
- – Hummus or just boiled chickpeas
- – Feta cheese, goat cheese, or cream cheese
- – Lemon (peel and zest) and chili
- – Lox and red onion or radishes
- – Chopped mint
- – Fresh tomatoes and mozzarella
- – Rocket and pomegranate seeds
- – Tuna tartare
- – Grilled chicken
- – Mango and honey
- – Banana and nuts (although a bit high in calories)
Speaking of za’atar, dukkah, just like our favorite spice mix, can be used in many recipes. In Egypt, it is traditionally used in pita bread, which is first dipped in olive oil, then in dukkah, like a delicious bruschetta, and also used to flavor salads and fish dishes.
Soon, I will try to prepare other recipes that include dukkah, so you will not find yourselves with a jar full of seasoning that you have no use for!