Upgraded Avocado Toast: grilled zucchini & spicy crispy chickpeas

The past years have truly been the avocado toast mania literally everywhere around the world 🙂 In my opinion, avo toasts should remain a guilty pleasure, not because they are sweet, but because avocados are not grown in France, usually in large productions having a very negative impact on the planet (high carbon footprint, water consumption, deforestation). But, as I mentioned in other posts, nobody is perfect and I can’t resolve myself to stop eating any exotic fruits or veggies because they come from far away. So I still have an avocado if I really crave one and moderate my consumption to the extent with I trust is reasonable. I will always consider that food frustration isn’t part of a healthy diet.

Well, I think that the million dollars question is why is avocado so trendy and consumed in surreal quantities? A lot of articles are saying that its success is mostly attributed to its versatility, being quick and easy to prepare with thousands possibilities. It became ultimately popular as a superfood with the vegan, keto or any ‘raw’ diets for its nutritional value: rich in vitamin E, potassium, fibres and unsaturated fat. However, do not trust what you can read on eating avocados daily being good for your health, weight loss or anything else. I’m not gonna say that it’s a bad ingredient but simply that we tend to hide that avocados are really caloric.

On a cooking and recipe developer perspective now, I feel like we really rely on the basics with avocado toasts while they can be twisted nicely with other ingredients. This allows to consume less of the exotic fruit as it will be accommodated with other products bringing another set of nutrients and helping reducing the quantity of avocado per serving. Changing the way we cook is key to having a better consumption both benefiting our health and the planet. With this recipe, I have combined avocado with zucchini and roasted chickpeas to make a powerful snack or option for an aperitif with friends, family…

So please, bear in mind that it’s not because it’s booming on Instagram that it’s a reason to have an avocado toast 5 times a week. And remember that what’s not good for the planet isn’t good for you neither. But don’t feel bad because you’re craving an avocado or exotic fruit, just rethink the way you prepare them – how you possibly can have half an avo instead of an entire one – and reduce your overall consumption by buying it less often.


RECIPE for 2 toasts

Prep time: 30 minutes          Cook time: 45 minutes

You will need:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 zucchini
  • A jar of chickpeas (I made it all to have leftover roasted chickpeas)
  • Bread of your choice (corn and walnuts in this case from Farine&O bakery)
  • Lemon juice
  • Poppy seeds (optional)
  • Flax seeds (optional)
  • Parsley (or any other herb you like best)
  • Olive oil
  • Espelette chilli pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: 

Step 1: Spicy oven-roasted chickpeas

Heat up the oven to 180°C

Drain the chickpeas really well (keep the water to use in other recipes), rinse and dry the chickpeas as much as you can using absorbant kitchen towel.

Remove the skin around it – this is fastidious but the key to crispy oven roasted chickpeas.

Place the chickpeas in a bowl, add a teaspoon of olive oil and salt to taste. Toss with a spoon to coat the chickpeas correctly. They shouldn’t be too greasy.

Place the chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake them for 45 minutes. Halfway through cooking, shake the baking-tray to allow a homogeneous contact to heat all over the chickpeas which will help them get the desired texture.

Let the chickpeas cool down a bit before adding some pepper and Espelette chili, toss to coat the chickpeas.

Step 2: Grilled zucchini

Wash the zucchini and cut it into thin slices.

Put a dash of olive oil in a pan and place over a medium heat. Add the zucchini slices and sprinkle some salt. Cook for a few minutes until soft. Set aside.

Step 3: Avocado and toast

Slightly toast the bread if desired (I usually do it, it will make the toast easier to eat and bring an extra crispiness).

Cut the avocado in halves:

Scoop one half into a bowl, add lemon juice to taste, salt, pepper, Espelette chili and thinly minced parsley. Using a fork, gently crush the avocado. Pay attention not to crush too much, you should still have some small avocado pieces.

With the other half, I made avocado roses to decorate but this is optional. You could either save this half for another dish or make more toasts. To make the roses, place the cut side down and slice thinly in the width (around 1-2mm). Separate the slices into two batches to make small roses and fan them out. Start curling the slices from the smaller side until the end so it actually takes a flower’s shape.

Over the bread, spread some avocado cream, then add the flower if you made it, place the grilled zucchini slices and crispy chickpeas. Top up with a dash of lemon juice, poppy seeds, flax seeds and parsley !

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