I am starting a new series on this blog. People are always asking me for my recipes. I don’t work from recipes often, and I don’t think I’ve ever really written one down for any of my creations. I’m not guarding a secret blend of 11 herbs and spices. I’m just lazy about it. I will get better at it, and one day I might be tasked with writing a cookbook. That day is not today. I will do the next best thing and share my take on someone else’s recipe.
People actively trade recipes, share them on social media, talk about them, and request recipes. How many of the recipes we see actually get made at home? How well do they turn out? Did you nail it? Did you follow it precisely or use artistic license? Was it an unmitigated disaster? I will try a recipe and see how it goes. In the first installment, we will try to make vegan French toast.
Vegan French Toast
Today’s recipe comes from Love and Lemons. I will make a vegan French toast. Wait? What? Vegan French toast? Doesn’t French toast require eggs? How can it be vegan?
For almost every non-vegan food, there is at least one substitute. Depending on the role eggs play in a recipe, there are numerous substitutes for eggs. In this recipe, the role of the egg is played by almond milk, nutritional yeast, and flour. The almond milk provides the creamy liquid consistency. Nutritional yeast gives a small boost of protein, vitamin B12, and the “eggy” flavor. Flour will thicken the mixture up some more.
Some of the other ingredients you’d expect in French toast are also included, such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The recipe calls for stale ciabatta bread, but fresh ciabatta is also fine. Heartier breads, especially those made with extra gluten, work well too.
I followed the recipe closely, but my tendency to wing it in the kitchen takes over. The ciabatta bread was not stale yet. I used slightly more nutmeg, since the already-ground nutmeg I have is not as potent as freshly ground. All-purpose flour is what I had on hand, and I am not going to purchase millet flour just for this recipe. I also added more cinnamon and slightly less maple syrup. If you want to intensify the cinnamon flavor, a tiny pinch of ground cayenne pepper will wake it up.
When I don’t have ciabatta bread, I’ve used a hearty whole grain bread, such as Dave’s Killer Bread. It holds together very well when dunked in the liquid. Nature’s Own whole wheat gets a little soggy, but bread doesn’t seem to last long enough to get stale in my house anyway.
I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan
I will make the bold claim that this vegan French toast is difficult to distinguish from the “real thing.” I have served this to my wife, daughter, in-laws, nieces, and nephews, and they all love it. Vegan modifications get a mixed reception. A few “veganized” dishes are indistinguishable from their non-vegan counterparts. Some are obviously different in taste or texture. There are some that are culinary trainwrecks. However, this French toast recipe is pretty close. When it’s time to make French toast, this is our go-to recipe instead of the traditional version made with eggs.
French toast doesn’t sound healthy and this is a healthy eating blog. However, part of healthy eating is a healthy relationship with food. Part of that healthy relationship is to treat yourself occasionally. The substitutions I have made steer this breakfast favorite in a healthier direction without compromising enjoyment:
- Higher nutrient density with respect to caloric content than a standard French toast recipe
- Increased protein and fiber content by using whole grain bread
- Zero cholesterol by omitting eggs and going vegan
You could even argue that by making it healthier while still tasting awesome actually increases enjoyment over a traditional recipe.