Avocado toast, while currently a trendy morning meal, will undoubtedly stand the test of time. It’s a quick meal you can eat on the go. Avocado is loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for heart health, lowering cholesterol, lowering systemic inflammation, and reducing the risk of cancer. In addition, the healthy fat in avocado fills you up and satisfies your hunger until lunch.

QUICK, VEGETARIAN

SERVES 2 | PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES

FOR THE AVOCADO TOAST

1 ripe avocado

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 slices multigrain sourdough bread

2 slices large heirloom tomato

FOR THE PESTO

1 cup fresh basil leaves

2 or 3 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons walnuts

⅓ cup Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan option)

⅓ cup olive oil

TO MAKE THE AVOCADO TOAST

1.Slice the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl, and mash with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2.Toast the bread.

3.Spread the mashed avocado evenly over both slices of toast.

4.Top with a tomato slice and a big slather of pesto.

TO MAKE THE PESTO

1.Put the basil, garlic, walnuts, and cheese in a food processor or blender and turn the power on.

2.Add the olive oil in a slow stream from the top of the processor. Process until thick and pungent, which should take just a few seconds.

3.If there is pesto left over, spoon it into a small jar, topped with a thin layer of olive oil to keep it fresh and prevent discoloration. Cover with a lid and refrigerate.

MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Make the pesto ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (if you don’t eat it before then). Use it in everything from soup and pasta to eggs and toast!

SUBSTITUTION TIP: For a salty version, sliver 2 ounces of smoked salmon and press into the mashed avocado, along with 2 tablespoons thinly sliced celery. For a sour version, press ¼ cup mixed berries into the mashed avocado and drizzle with balsamic glaze (available in the grocery store next to balsamic vinegars).

HERB PROFILE

BASIL

Fresh or dried leaf

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS: None known

TASTE/ACTIVITY: SPICY/WARM/NEUTRAL

PROPERTIES: Antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, cerebral stimulant

USES: Aids digestion; dispels gas and bloating; aids memory and concentration

SUGGESTED PREPARATIONS: Compound butter, infused vinegar, pesto, soups, stews, syrup, tomato-based sauces

ESPECIALLY GOOD FOR: ANTIOXIDANTS

Basil is extremely high in flavonoids, a class of beneficial phytonutrients found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that also show anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Diets rich in flavonoid-containing foods protect against oxidative damage associated with cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular disease. Basil has potent volatile oils that also give it antibacterial and antiviral qualities.

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