Sweet, spicy, creamy, crunchy—this elevated avocado toast is anything, but basic. Juicy blackberries, spicy serrano peppers, and honey whipped ricotta are just a few star ingredients in this deliciously balanced meal you will crave all day.
OMG this blackberry serrano avocado toast is hands down my favorite quarantine creation. I’ve been experimenting with new flavor combos, and let me tell you—blackberry + serrano = where it’s at. I’ll get into the deets in a bit, but first I want to talk about where the efffff I’ve been the past few months.
If you’re a DTR insider you probably got my email explaining why I decided to take a hiatus. But if you missed out, here’s the short of it. Basically, I’ve gone through a lot of life changes over the past couple years. I’ve moved homes, states, and jobs multiple times and having my hats in so many places became draining. Creativity started to feel forced and I lost touch with why I want to do this in the first place. Which is to help passionate home cooks cultivate the confidence to get more creative inside the kitchen, and out.
It means the world to me when I’m able to inspire others to trust their intuition and let loose in the kitchen. To take what you like from a recipe and leave what you don’t. To be bold, to experiment, to break the rules, to laugh at yourself, and most importantly—to have FUN.
But my mission doesn’t stop in the kitchen. I want your experience with cooking to empower you, so you can take that confidence and apply it to all areas of your life. Because growth is contagious and when you improve one area of your life, others just seem to follow. It’s like a ripple effect and I’m here to throw the first stone, baby.
The time I took away from creating for the blog felt “wrong” and uncomfortable, but it gave me the clarity I needed to refocus on my purpose for DTR, so that I can bring even more value to my content. So thank you for sticking with me, friends. I truly want each and every one of you to unleash your full potential (in and out of the kitchen) and I’m here to help along the way.
Now, we’ve got to get to this f*cking toast because I am BURSTING with excitement to share it with you guys!
Tips for Making Elevated Avocado Toast
I have two rules when it comes to elevated avocado toast—make it flavorful and make it filling. You may recall my Spring Avocado Toast, which made it’s way onto the menu at the Overland Cafe in Los Angeles. If you’ve tried it you know it does not fall short in either category. I didn’t think it was quite possible to top the flavor combinations of that toast, but this blackberry serrano number with honey black pepper whipped ricotta totally blows it out of the water. Out of the park?
This avocado toast is incredibly well-balanced. It passes what I like to call the “FTCN” test, which stands for flavor, texture, color, and nutrition. These four factors are what I believe make up a v successful dish.
When creating a dish, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a good variety of both flavor and texture?
- Did I incorporate as much color into the dish as possible without overpowering or competing the flavors?
- Did I include some sort of whole food that will provide nutrition to the meal?
If the answers are yes, I promise you’re on the right track to a deliciously diverse and dimensional meal.
Let’s get into the deets, shall we? First, let’s talk bread. I like to use a hearty, rustic bread, something thick that will hold up well to all the toppings. I actually made my own bread to use here and it was amazing. Nice and crusty outside, soft and chewy inside with that subtle yeasty flavor from the fermentation.
Side note: I’ve been making my own no-knead bread lately in my dutch oven and I cannot get enoughhhhh. The recipe will be coming out soon to my DTR insiders ONLY, so make sure you subscribe here to get on my email list!
Okay, let’s move on to the next ingredient. The honey black pepper ricotta with lemon zest sets a foundation for the toppings and mimics the sweet and savory element we get throughout the rest of the dish. The ricotta is quickly whipped in a food processor to smooth out the lumps for a creamy, dreamy texture.
Next we’ve got the juicy blackberries and spicy serrano peppers. Serrano peppers are similar to jalapeños, but a bit spicier. They provide a bold, almost floral freshness that perfumes the mouth before the heat kicks in. It’s the perfect complement to the sweetness from the berries and cool, rich texture of the avocado.
The sunflower seeds, as well as the crusty bread, provide a crunchy element to balance out the creamy textures of the avocado and ricotta. And last, the fresh oregano and tarragon provide a final pop of brightness to balance it all out.
How to ditch the recipe: Blackberry Serrano Avocado Toast Edition
There are SO many alterations you can make to this recipe, but here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
- Bread: As I mentioned earlier I’ve been making my own bread, which is similar to a rustic Italian loaf. But a nice seedy or whole grain bread would also be fantastic. I don’t really like to use flavored bread (ie: rosemary garlic) for avocado toast because I feel like the flavors compete with each other and I like to let the toppings be the star.
- Whipped Ricotta: You can choose to whip the ricotta, or not. The flavor will be the same, but the texture won’t be as smooth and creamy. If you’re like wtf is with the black pepper and honey combo, maybe take out one or the other (or both). You can add herbs to the ricotta instead, like tarragon or oregano to keep those flavors going throughout. You could even swap the ricotta for cream cheese. OR skip it and sprinkle on some feta or shaved parm to garnish, instead. If you’re vegan or dairy free, you can 86 it completely—there’s still so much flavor/texture going on, you won’t even miss it!
- Blackberries: Blueberries, strawberries, or cherries would also be great. Something sweet, but also bright or tart to balance the richness of the avocado and complement the spicy pepper. Feel free to use a combo, as well.
- Serrano: Serrano peppers can sometimes be 2x as hot as a jalapeño. I’ve usually got a pretty good sweat going when I eat this, so if you want a milder option I’d stick with a jalapeño or Fresno chili.
- Sunflower seeds: Pretty much any nut or seed you have on hand will work, here. You just want that crunchy texture. Some other options are walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or pine nuts.
- Herbs: There really is something special about fresh tarragon + oregano, but basil, thyme, or even mint would be delicious, as well.
- Add ons: Crispy bacon or panchetta is almost a must. I wanted to keep this recipe vegetarian, but I’ve made it with bacon before and I’m just going to say it—it’s better. Some crispy roasted chickpeas would also be delish.
Alright friends, that should give you some inspo to get started. Let me know if you make this and tell me how you ditched the recipe! I love to hear from you, so shoot me an email if you have any questions, or just to say hello. Wishing you all resilience, joy, and love during this unfamiliar time.
Check out some of our other toasty favorites!
- Spring Avocado Toast
- Butternut Squash Hummus Crostini + Pomegranates
- Mixed berry peach toast
- Heirloom Tomato Caprese + Garlic Crostini
Blackberry Serrano Avocado Toast + Honey Black Pepper Whipped Ricotta
For the whipped ricotta
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 lemon zested
- ground black pepper to taste
For the avocado toast
- 2 slices thick, crusty bread
- olive oil
- 1 small avocado
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- serrano pepper sliced thin
- fresh tarragon to garnish
- fresh oregano to garnish
- salt and pepper to garnish
- drizzle of honey
For the whipped ricotta
- Combine ricotta, honey, lemon zest, and black pepper in a food processor and whip until smooth. Taste and adjust honey and black pepper, if necessary. If you're in a hurry, you can skip the food processor and just mix the ingredients in a bowl until combined. The flavor will be the same, you just won't have the smooth, whipped consistency.
For the avocado toast
- Brush bread slices with olive oil and grill on a flat top or under the broiler. If you're in a hurry you can just throw your bread in the toaster. Spread ricotta mixture on toast and sprinkle with salt.
- Slice avocado and squeeze with lemon. I like to cut it into slices horizontally and then into thirds vertically, but you do you. Slice serrano peppers thin with a mandolin or sharp knife. Add avocado, serrano peppers, and blackberries to toast on top of ricotta.
- Top with sunflower seeds and garnish with freshly torn tarragon and oregano. Drizzle with honey and give it one more sprinkle of salt and pepper and dusting of lemon zest, if you wish.