Using Veggies in Your Toast Recipes
The idea of swapping out bread for sweet potatoes is ingenious, but why stop with taters? We searched for additional nutritious ingredients that could act as “toast,” since, when you think about it, the “toast” is basically a vehicle to support all of your scrumptious toppings. With the base role of toast expanding past bread, the amount of new flavor combos are endless. Plus, the swaps are gluten-free and you get an extra vegetable in your daily diet! We scoured the grocery store and pulled together a list of produce that could be subbed in for bread in all of your toast recipes.
Note: Having a relatively flat surface to act as the base support, or “toast,” is the main goal. Not all ingredients need to be cooked, let alone in a toaster. Here, we use a stand-up toaster, a toaster oven, and a grill to cook the toast subs.
This alternative to bread offers a variety of nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, B6, and C. They’re high in fiber, meaning they can keep you feeling full for a substantial amount of time. While sweet potatoes have insoluble fiber that is associated with reduced risk of diabetes, they have a medium to high glycemic index, so diabetics shouldn’t chow down on too much sweet potato at a time. A whole small sweet potato (4.6 oz or 130g) has 112 calories and 26g carbs. This could be more than a lower calorie bread, but the extra health benefits make sweet potatoes a worthwhile substitute.
Taste tip: peel (optional) one large sweet potato and slice into ¼” thick vertical slices. Set your toaster to the highest heat setting and place potato slices inside (just as you would with bread). Toast slices 2-3 times per side until they have some browned bits and are cooked all the way through. For something sweet, top with almond butter, bananas, and cinnamon. For something savory, try feta cheese, spinach, and halved cherry tomatoes.
Bell peppers are comprised of mostly water – 92% to be exact. They are so rich in vitamin C that just one medium sized pepper can offer up to 169% of the Recommended Daily Allowance. Folate, potassium, and vitamins K1, E and A are all present in bell peppers, in addition to a plethora of antioxidants dependant on the pepper’s color. A cup of chopped bell pepper (149 g) is only 46 calories, making it a low cal substitute for bread.
Taste tip: slice the sides off the bell pepper to make 3-4 “plates.” Clean out any seeds, then either continue with raw slices or broil in a toaster oven for 6-8 minutes. Top with hummus, arugula, and red pepper flakes.
Portabella, portobello, or portabello? Whichever way you say it, know that these dense, meaty nightshades can take your toast to a whole new level. They’re a good source of the vitamins riboflavin and niacin, and of the minerals copper, selenium, potassium, and phosphorus. Mushrooms also have compounds that may decrease inflammation. One whole portabella mushroom has only 22 calories and 2g of protein, giving it an extremely low glycemic index of 2.
Taste tip: remove the stem and inside gills, then cut a shallow X on top of the mushroom. Brush the entire mushroom with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast for 10 minutes on each side in a 400°F toaster oven (total of 20 minutes). Once the mushrooms have cooled slightly, top with diced butternut squash, microgreens, sunflower seeds, and dried cranberries.
Eggplant gives your typical toast an interesting texture and flavor with extra health boosts. It has zero cholesterol, low sodium and fat, and high dietary fiber, which keeps you feeling full in between meals. Eggplant is chock full of minerals such as manganese, potassium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, and vitamins B-6, C, E, K. 100g (about 4 oz.) of raw eggplant is only 25 calories which makes it a very low calorie alternative to a slice of bread.
Taste tip: slice eggplant into ¾” slices, lengthwise. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 4-5 minutes, then flip slices over and continue grilling for another 4 minutes, until slices are tender (not too soft) and slight grill marks form. Let cool slightly then top with mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
Apples have a crunchy, sturdy texture and a tasty tartness that puts a unique spin on your sweeter toast recipes. They are a great source of vitamin C and potassium and contain antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, catechin, and quercetin, which is shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer, and anti-depression effects. Apples arehigh in fiber and low in energy density, making them optimal for weight loss. One medium sized apple has 95 calories which makes it comparable to bread.
Taste tip: remove the stem and core of the apple. Slice the apple into ¼-½” disks and discard the bottom. Top raw slices with plain nonfat yogurt, pistachios, pomegranate seeds, and a drizzle of honey.