Natto Toast: The Ultimate Guide to This Protein-Packed Breakfast

We’ve stumbled upon a dish that’s as intriguing as it is delicious—natto toast. For those unfamiliar, natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans, known for its strong flavor and sticky texture. It’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of food, but when paired with the crispiness of toast, it becomes a culinary adventure worth trying.

This fusion of Japanese tradition with the universal love for toasted bread creates a breakfast option that’s not only unique but also packed with nutrients. Natto is a powerhouse of protein and probiotics, making this dish a healthy start to any day.

Ingredients

Let’s dive into the components that make natto toast an unforgettable experience. You’ll find that the simplicity of the ingredients belies the rich, complex flavors they create together.

For the Natto Mixture

  • 1 package of natto (fermented soybeans), typically about 50 grams
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard (optional for added zest)
  • 2 teaspoons of honey or sugar (to balance the natto’s bitterness)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small packet of Japanese karashi mustard (often included in the natto package)
  • 2 slices of your preferred bread (whole grain, white, or sourdough work beautifully)
  • Butter or olive oil, for spreading on the toast
  • A dash of salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish options: thinly sliced avocado, tomato slices, or a sprinkle of sesame seeds and nori strips for an extra layer of flavor and texture

Required Equipment

Embarking on the journey to create our natto toast, certain kitchen tools are essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable cooking process. Here’s what we’ll need:

  • Toaster or Oven: For achieving that perfect golden-brown crisp on our bread. A toaster is convenient for quick preparation, but an oven can be used for larger batches.
  • Mixing Bowl: Needed for combining the natto with soy sauce, mustard, and honey or sugar, ensuring each soybean is evenly coated with the flavorful mix.
  • Small Spoon or Spatula: This will help us in mixing the natto ingredients thoroughly and spreading the natto mixture onto the toast.
  • Knife: Essential for finely chopping the green onions and any optional garnishes like avocado or tomato we decide to add atop our natto toast.
  • Cutting Board: A flat surface for safely preparing our garnishes.
  • Toasting Rack (optional): If using an oven, a toasting rack will ensure our bread toasts evenly on both sides.

Gathering these items beforehand will streamline our cooking process, allowing us to focus on the art of assembling the perfect natto toast. Let’s get all our equipment ready and dive into the enticing world of this unique fusion dish.

Prep Work

To dive into making our natto toast, let’s first focus on getting our ingredients ready for action. This includes thawing the natto and preparing any additional toppings that’ll bring our toast to life.

Thawing the Natto

If you’re using frozen natto, you’ll need to get it ready to be the star of your toast. Place the natto in the refrigerator overnight to ensure it thaws gently and retains its unique texture and flavor. If you’re short on time, a quicker method is to leave the natto out at room temperature for a few hours before you plan to use it. However, be mindful not to let it sit out too long to avoid any spoilage. Once thawed, gently stir the natto to awaken its characteristic sticky quality, making it perfect for spreading over your toast.

Preparing Additional Toppings

While the natto is coming to life, take this opportunity to prepare any additional toppings that will elevate your natto toast. If using green onions, wash, dry, and finely chop them. For avocado lovers, slice the avocado thinly to lay smoothly on your toast. Tomatoes can be sliced or diced, depending on your preference. If you’re opting for a bit of crunch, lightly toast some sesame seeds in a dry pan until golden brown, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. And for those who enjoy a tangy kick, get your karashi mustard or a milder mustard ready for drizzling. Preparing these ingredients ahead of time means you’re all set to assemble your natto toast swiftly, bringing together all the flavors in perfect harmony.

Directions

Let’s dive straight into making this unique and flavorful dish. Follow these steps to enjoy a delightful natto toast that’s both nutritious and delicious.

Mixing the Natto

  1. Prepare the Natto: Begin by transferring the thawed natto into a mixing bowl. Natto is usually packaged with a small packet of soy sauce and mustard, which you’ll use here.
  2. Add Flavorings: To the bowl, add the contents of the soy sauce and mustard packets provided with the natto. If your natto didn’t come with these, use 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and a quarter teaspoon of mustard or to taste.
  3. Sweeten (Optional): For a subtle sweetness, stir in a teaspoon of honey or sugar. This step is optional and based on personal preference.
  4. Mix Thoroughly: Using a small spoon or spatula, mix the ingredients together until well combined. The natto will become sticky and stringy as you mix, which is perfectly normal for natto.
  5. Garnish Preparation: Finely chop the green onion and set it aside. This will be used to garnish the toast.

Preparing the Toast

  1. Toast the Bread: Toast your selected bread slices to your preferred level of crispiness using a toaster or oven. If using an oven, you can lay the bread slices directly on the oven rack or a baking sheet for 3-5 minutes at 400°F (204°C).
  2. Butter or Oil: Once toasted, while the bread is still warm, lightly butter one side of each slice or brush it with olive oil. This step adds flavor and moisture to the toast.
  1. Spread the Natto: Take the mixed natto and evenly spread it over the buttered or oiled side of the toast. Ensure an even distribution for the best eating experience.
  2. Add Toppings: Sprinkle the chopped green onions over the natto-covered toast. If you’ve opted for additional garnishes like sliced avocado, tomato, sesame seeds, or nori strips, add them on top now.
  3. Season: Finally, season your natto toast with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. If using, a dab of karashi mustard can add an exciting kick.
  4. Serve Immediately: Natto toast is best enjoyed fresh, so serve immediately after assembling.

Serving Suggestions

Natto toast is best served fresh and warm, allowing the flavors to meld beautifully on the palate. Below, we offer tips on how to elevate your natto toast with additional toppings and complementary side dishes.

Additional Toppings

To enhance the texture and flavor of your natto toast, consider adding a variety of toppings. Here are some suggestions:

  • Avocado Slices: Creamy avocado slices add a rich, buttery texture that contrasts well with the sticky natto.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Halved or quartered cherry tomatoes offer a juicy burst of freshness that can brighten up the dish.
  • Crispy Bacon: For a savory twist, add strips of crispy bacon atop your toast for a delightful crunch.
  • Drizzle of Sesame Oil: A light drizzle of sesame oil can introduce a nutty aroma that complements the fermented soybeans.
  • Pickled Ginger: Adding pickled ginger can provide a spicy and slightly sweet accent, cutting through the richness of the toast.
  • Microgreens: A sprinkle of microgreens on top of your natto toast will not only make it visually appealing but also add a fresh, slightly peppery flavor.

Side Dishes

Pairing your natto toast with the right side dish can turn it into a wholesome meal. Here are some ideas:

  • Miso Soup: A bowl of warm miso soup pairs wonderfully with natto toast, offering a comforting balance of flavors.
  • Japanese-Style Salad: A simple salad dressed with sesame dressing or a light vinaigrette can add freshness and balance out the meal.
  • Soft-Boiled Egg: Serve your toast with a soft-boiled egg on the side for an extra protein boost. The runny yolk adds a deliciously rich element when mixed with the natto.
  • Fresh Fruit: A side of fresh fruit like sliced pears or apples can provide a crisp, sweet contrast to the savory flavors of the toast.
  • Green Tea: For a truly Japanese experience, enjoy your natto toast with a cup of green tea. The tea’s bitterness is a perfect counterpoint to the savory, complex flavors of the natto.

With these serving suggestions, you can easily customize your natto toast to suit your taste preferences and turn it into a delightful meal or snack that’s both nutritious and satisfying.

Variations

Exploring variations of natto toast allows us to embrace diverse dietary preferences and creative flavor combinations. We’ve crafted ideas for vegan and low-carb versions without compromising on the authentic experience.

Vegan Natto Toast

To make vegan natto toast, swap out any animal-based products for plant-based alternatives that complement the umami-rich flavor of natto. Here’s how:

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 slices of your favorite vegan bread
  • 1 packet of natto, stirred with included sauce
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • Vegan mayonnaise, to taste
  • Soy sauce, a dash for added flavor
  • Optional toppings: sliced cucumber, sprouts, vegan cheese
  • Instructions:
  1. Toast the bread slices until they reach your desired level of crispiness.
  2. Spread a generous layer of vegan mayonnaise on each slice of toast.
  3. Top with the stirred natto, ensuring even distribution.
  4. Add the avocado slices and any additional toppings you prefer.
  5. Finish with a dash of soy sauce for an extra burst of flavor.

This vegan natto toast keeps the heart of the dish intact while offering an option that’s plant-based and bursting with textures.

Low-Carb Natto Toast

For those following a low-carb diet, we can still enjoy the unique taste of natto toast by using an alternative base. Low-carb “bread” can be homemade or purchased, but ensure it stands up to the natto’s moisture.

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 slices of low-carb bread or bread alternative (consider cauliflower toast or almond flour-based options)
  • 1 packet of natto, prepared with the sauce
  • A smear of mustard or wasabi, for a spicy kick
  • Thinly sliced radish and cucumber for extra crunch
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Instructions:
  1. Prepare or toast your low-carb bread until it’s golden and crispy.
  2. While the bread is toasting, prepare the natto by mixing it with its sauce until it becomes sticky and aromatic.
  3. Spread a thin layer of mustard or wasabi on the toast for a bit of heat.
  4. Spoon the natto onto the toast. The key is not to overload the delicate base.
  5. Garnish with slices of radish, cucumber, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for added texture and flavor.

Our low-carb natto toast variant reimagines the classic in a way that suits a carb-conscious diet without skipping on the traditional taste and beneficial probiotics of natto.

Make-Ahead Instructions

To ensure that our natto toast can be enjoyed even on the busiest of mornings, we’ve put together some make-ahead instructions. These steps allow you to prepare components of the dish in advance, making breakfast both quick and delicious.

Preparing Natto

  1. Thaw and Season: If using frozen natto, move it to the refrigerator the night before to thaw. Season the natto according to taste with soy sauce and mustard, then cover and refrigerate.
  2. Portion: Divide the natto into individual serving sizes. This step helps speed up the assembly process in the morning.

Toast Preparation

  1. Slice Bread: If you’re using homemade bread or a larger loaf, slice the bread to your preferred thickness and store it in an airtight container or bread bag at room temperature.
  2. Cauliflower or Almond Flour Toast: For those preparing a low-carb version, you can make your cauliflower or almond flour toast ahead of time. Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  1. Chop Veggies: Any additional toppings like avocado, cucumber, or spring onions can be chopped the night before. Store them in air-tight containers in the fridge.
  2. Prepare Sauces: If you’re using any sauces or dressings, prepare these in advance and refrigerate.

Conclusion

We’ve explored the delightful world of natto toast together, a dish that’s as nutritious as it is delicious. Whether you’re opting for the classic version, diving into a vegan alternative, or keeping it low-carb, there’s a natto toast variation that’s sure to fit your lifestyle and taste preferences. Remember, the beauty of this dish lies in its flexibility, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and bread types. With our make-ahead tips, enjoying a wholesome, probiotic-packed breakfast has never been easier. So let’s embrace the fusion of flavors and make natto toast a staple in our morning routines. Here’s to starting our days off right with a serving of culture, both culinary and literally!

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