Toasting and topping whole grain bread with a variety of fresh vegetables, Basic Needs Collaborative Health and Human Services Intern Misha Arnold guided viewers through the process of making three fancy, plant-based avocado toasts on Oct. 7. Basic Needs at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) hosts monthly “Cooking with CSUMB” demonstrations to help college students eat healthier meals on a budget.
These versatile recipes are suitable for all palettes, allowing students to customize their toast according to taste buds.
When making avocado toast, it’s important to grab thicker pieces of bread that can withstand the creaminess of spreads such as hummus and avocado, while being able to carry the weight of the produce packed on top.
“Softer bread will get mushy if you load it up with as many goodies as we are doing today,” Arnold said. “I’m going to take three pieces of bread from the middle because it has the most surface area.”
Before toasting one’s bread of choice, Arnold advises washing and chopping vegetables since the process moves quickly once the bread comes out of the toaster. Using red bell pepper, mushrooms, persian cucumber, radishes, cilantro, grape tomatoes and more, Arnold began slicing and prepping the toppings for assembly.
Starting with the “garden-fresh avocado toast,” Arnold began slicing vegetables in different directions, beginning with the avocado, which was cut with a butter knife for safety. After separating the beautifully ripe avocado with a twist, Arnold began chopping the persian cucumber.
“Whenever I eat cucumbers, I’ll eat the skin because that’s where most of the nutrients are,” Arnold said. “You’ll get the most vitamins, minerals and fiber from the skins.”
Spreading mashed avocado on a piece of golden-brown whole grain bread, Arnold then lightly topped with spinach artichoke hummus – weary of using too much to prevent a saucy, soggy mess.
Completing the first delicacy with fresh basil, cucumber, grape tomatoes and poppy seeds, Arnold set the piece aside, while informing viewers steps for her “hot and zesty variety” recipe.
Toasting another slice, the second one contains spice and sliced avocado. Supremely spicy hummus was applied first to help the avocado and veggies stay in place. Follow with sliced avocado, radishes, spinach to balance out the heat, pieces of yellow onion, a dash of cayenne pepper and a garnish of microgreens and cilantro for a scrumptious, healthy masterpiece.
Lastly, the “fun avocado toast” was packing nutrients, while bringing joy to mealtime. Spinach artichoke hummus was spread with mashed avocado, afterwards Arnold began creating a face from the vegetables – cucumbers as eyes, ends of grape tomatoes for pupils, slice of mushroom for a button nose and red pepper for the smile, poppy seed freckles, alfalfa sprouts for hair and mushrooms finishing the toast off as ears.
“The easiest way to tell if produce is in-season is how expensive it is,” Arnold said. “Some fruits have two seasons per year.”
Five lucky Otters who participate in Cooking with CSUMB events are eligible to win e-gift cards applicable for groceries, along with one larger prize such as this event’s cutting board and knife set duo.
Kitchen Bingo is being held virtually on Oct. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. Helpful kitchen gadgets will be given away as prizes and Otters can register for the event on MyRaft.
A pop-up food pantry, hosted by Basic Needs and Associated Students, will be available for students to choose and customize their free grocery bags during the week of Oct. 18. Registration is required for pick-up dates and times and closes on Oct. 13.
Basic Needs Intern Sabrina Lee will be hosting the next cooking demonstration on Nov. 4, where she will be showing viewers how to make a homey, comfort meal.
- 1 baby cucumber
- 1 large mushroom
- 1 small radish
- 1 green onion
- 1 small bell pepper
- 5 grape tomatoes
- 1/4 yellow onion
- Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Handful of fresh spinach
- Handful of microgreens
- Handful of alfalfa sprouts
- 1/4 tsp poppy seeds
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp black pepper