Avocado Toasts with Heirloom Tomatoes

A California chef has a way with late-summer ingredients
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Chef de cuisine Julya Shin, of Pizzaiolo in Oakland, has some advice for kitchen greenhorns. "Relax. When you take cooking too seriously, you take all the fun out of it."

Shin's recipe for avocado toasts topped with tomato salad--an homage to late summer if ever we've tasted one--is, she says, "a basic outfit that you can accessorize."

Swap burrata for the avocado, add blanched green beans, or use cilantro and jalapeño chiles in place of mint and basil. Dressed up or down, it's still one of the finest no-cook dishes of summer.

Avocado Toasts with Heirloom Tomatoes and Herbs

Recipe adapted from Julya Shin, Pizzaiolo, Oakland, CA

Yield: 2 servings (plus leftover tomato salad)

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


Red onion, ¼ medium (thinly sliced)

Red wine vinegar, ½ cup

Ripe heirloom tomatoes, 2 medium (cored and cut into bite-size pieces)

Cherry or grape tomatoes, ¾ cup (preferably Sungold tomatoes; halved)

Mixed herbs (such as basil, cilantro and mint), 1 cup (roughly torn)

Sea salt, 1 teaspoon, plus extra for serving

Extra-virgin olive oil, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons

Good quality day-old bread, 2 thick slices

Garlic clove, 1 (peeled and halved)

Ripe Hass avocado, ½ (pitted, quartered lengthwise and peeled)

Persian cucumber, 1 (peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds)

Freshly ground black pepper

Crème fraîche (or yogurt), 2 tablespoons (optional)


1. To a small bowl, add the:

  • Sliced red onion
  • Red wine vinegar

Set aside to macerate for 5 minutes

2. To a medium bowl, add the:

  • Chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Torn herbs
  • 1 teaspoon of the sea salt
  • ½ cup of the extra-virgin olive oil
  • Macerated red onion plus 2 tablespoons of the red wine vinegar macerating liquid

 Stir to combine and set aside to marinate for 15 minutes.

3. Into a toaster, such as the KitchenAid® Pro Line® Series 2-Slice Automatic Toaster, add the:

  • Bread slices

Once they are golden-brown, use a pastry brush to lightly coat the bread with the:

  • Remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Then rub with the:

  • Halved garlic clove

On each piece of toast, place an:

  • Avocado quarter

Use a fork to smash the avocado onto the toast. Season with a:

  • Pinch of sea salt

Place the toasts onto the plates.

4. To the bowl with the tomato mixture, add the:

  • Sliced cucumber

Stir to combine, then spoon some of the tomato salad over each toast. Sprinkle with the:

  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Drizzle with the:Crème fraîche or yogurt, if using


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