Avocado toast may not be a new trend in restaurants, but it's the perfect base for adding new flavors and experimental ingredients. Avocados are hearty fruits that are full of good fats and nutrients, and its flavor is fairly neutral, making it a great vehicle for citrus, pungent spices, and hearty toppings. Here are a few ways to take your avocado toast to the next level:

  1. Spice It Up

    Avocado is like a chameleon, so chefs like to use it as a way to deliver spice. Some common spice choices are cumin, sea salt, and citrus, but there are chefs who are taking it a step further. At Groundwork Coffee in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, their version brings forth Latin and Asian flavors, with chili-infused avocado and white corn that's sauteed in a sweet Asian sauce. The dish is finished with a soft-boiled egg that's dusted with queso fresco and togarashi seasoning. At Dove's Luncheonette in Chicago, the toast is jazzed up with a drizzle of jalapeno-lemon vinaigrette to add the same kick that's found in some of their other Tex-Mex dishes.

  2. Go Beyond Basic Bread

    Piling avocado on toast can get heavy, which means you may want to use a hearty bread. Many chefs use a multigrain bread because it's dense, but others use different vehicles. For instance, at Eli Zabar, they serve up avocado mashed on anything from raisin pecan crisps to hearth bread, but prefer to serve it up on their rustic, European-style Jerusalem loaf. At Slab Sandwich + Pie in Seattle, their avocado is served on a house-baked farro bread. Chicago's Pub Royale puts avocado on top of paratha, to stick with the Indian cuisine found throughout the pub menu. And the Park Cafe in Charleston worked with a local bakery to make a bread full of nuts and grains that doesn't get soggy when piled high with avocado.

  3. Add Unique Toppings

    Avocado may be the star of the show, but adding protein turns a hearty snack into a full meal. Many restaurants add a poached egg because the avocado toast craze started as a breakfast or brunch staple. Chefs have topped that by adding everything from smoked salmon to burrata, but some are leveraging even more creativity. At Boston's Island Creek Oyster Bar, for instance, their avocado toast is topped with a fried egg and fresh lobster knuckle meat. Jessica Largey, a famed chef from Los Angeles, prefers to top her avocado with abalone, which she marinates for a few hours. She serves it on toast alongside charred pickled cucumbers.

    Avocado toast is a simple way to start building new flavor profiles, experimenting with new proteins, and trying out new spices. It's versatile enough to be served all day long as a hearty snack or as a full meal, which makes it a great addition to any menu.