Vegan French toast? You probably just did a double take. It almost seems impossible, given that eggs make up the bulk of the traditional French toast recipe.
But I have said this before, and I will say it again: “If it can be made, it can be made vegan.” All it takes is creativity, ingenuity and maybe a bit of help from yours truly here at Thanksgiving & Co.
Brunch can be an overwhelming adventure for the indecisive. Do we want savory? Do we want sweet? French toast is a brunch favorite because we get eggs, bread, toppings and syrup all in one go. Savory and sweet. Everybody wins!
The traditional process for making French toast is to dip old(ish) bread into a batter of egg, milk and sugar, and then pan-fry it until it’s golden brown. Add syrup and your choice of toppings, and voila, brunch is served.
Fun fact: “Pain perdu,” the French phrase for French toast, means “lost bread.” Medieval European cooks needed to use every bit of food they could find to feed their families, so they creatively revived old, stale bread by moistening and reheating it. And thus, French toast was born.
Delicious vegan French toast
Only two major components make up this delicious French toast recipe and — spoiler alert — neither involves eggs.
The two components of this simple, straightforward recipe are:
1. Crusty bread: Always start with a good, thick cut of crusty bread; a day or two old is best. The recipe simply will not work if you try to use soft, packaged bread from the grocery aisle. Also, you’ll need to make sure the bread you purchase is vegan, of course. I used a traditional sourdough.
2. A tasty batter: The beauty of stale bread is that it is a blank canvas. It takes on the flavor of whatever you add to it. So, as long as you have a well seasoned batter, it really does not matter if there are eggs in it. Eggs do add a bit of protein and additional flavor, but us vegans have our tricks for achieving this as well.
For the batter, we start with a non-dairy milk and sugar base, and spice things up from there.
Cinnamon is classic, but you can also warm it up with a little nutmeg and clove. Although they’re not strictly necessary, eggs really do come in clutch as a thickening agent in the traditional recipe, so I added a little arrowroot flour and some chia seeds for thickening instead.
I also added some of my favorite vegan party tricks for the savory, eggy flavor: nutritional yeastand kala namak. (You might remember this ingredient from our vegan deviled potatoes recipe.) Finally, I chose a sourdough bread because it adds an interesting dimension of flavor in the place of the eggs.
This recipe is a dead ringer for the original. Your whole family will ask,“Are you sure this is vegan?” as they devour everything on their plates. And honestly, that’s the best thing a vegan chef can hear.