or as the French call it: “Pain perdu”
Corn-free / Dairy-free / Egg-free / Nut-free / OAS safe / Peanut-free / Sesame-free / Soy-free
Note: Can be made gluten-free
The story behind this recipe
A childhood memory
The first time I ever had French toast, I was 10 years old and on a field trip with my classmates. We had been horse riding and walking all day, and by 4 pm were all very tired and hungry.
I remember stopping at a picnic area with a few tables and a grill. The teachers had brought a few stale baguettes, a small container with milk, and granulated sugar. Clearly, this was all planned…
One of them set up the grill while the other sliced the bread, dipped it in milk, and placed it over the flame. Once done cooking, the teachers sprinkled the toasted baguette with sugar and handed each of us a slice.
In my mind, this remains the best snack I have ever had, and I have a very fond memory of that afternoon. However, at the time, I did not know it as “French toast” but as “pain perdu”, which means “lost bread”. The bread that is not fresh anymore, hence the stale baguettes.
After that, I never had it again, until I moved to the US and realized French Toast figured on most brunch menus. Trying to recreate that magical afternoon, I ordered it a few times and tried it a few more when my friends ordered it.
However, I was always disappointed. It was not at all what I expected. Too moist, not crunchy enough, and so much egg and milk that I got sick nearly every time. There was too much going on in a recipe that was once so simple.
So, tired of this constant disappointment, I decided that I would simply never have French toast ever again. (A bit radical and dramatic… I know!)That was until 2 years ago, when we found an egg-free and dairy-free recipe in the China Study cookbook.
This safer and friendlier version reconciled me with this American brunch staple… (I hate to break it to you, but French people don’t really eat French toast for breakfast!) and inspired us this Healthier French Toast recipe.
If you are not familiar with the China Study, check it out! This book and study really made the difference when we debated becoming vegan for our health.
The health benefits of this recipe
I don’t think one can claim that there is any benefit to eating French toast. However, this Healthier French toast recipe contains a lot less sugar and fat than traditional and more common recipes. So if you can’t stay away very long from French toast, you might as well eat this version.
Despite its overall lack of health benefits as a dish, flaxseed meal and whole wheat bread are better alternatives to the traditional ingredients.
Indeed, flaxseeds are a great source of essential nutrients, including vitamin B, magnesium, phosphorous, protein, and dietary fiber. As a complement to a healthy diet and exercise, these contribute to better digestion, constipation relief, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
Moreover, if you suffer from egg intolerance or allergy, flaxseed meal will be your new best friend. Mixed with water, it works as an egg replacer, so you can safely resume baking. Just add 1 tbsp of flaxseed meal to 3 tbsp of water, and let the magic happen!
A few tips for this recipe
If you like your French toast more moist, dip the slices of bread in the milk a bit longer before putting them in your frying pan.
This recipe works well with sourdough bread and coconut milk, but it is flexible and can accommodate gluten allergies.
I love serving my Healthier French Toast with yogurt and fresh berries.
This recipe also pairs very well with a good coffee and a glass of this delicious Grape Berry Smoothie.
This is our go-to recipe at home, so I hope you enjoy it too! Let me know how it turns out by commenting below or tagging me on Instagram @missallergist #missallergist
Healthier French Toast
- 8 slices whole wheat French country bread thick
For the batter:
- 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup coconut milk unsweetened
- Use a flat-bottomed soup plate or tupperware that is big enough to hold an entire slice of bread.
- Pour the milk, vanilla, flaxseed, sugar, and spices into that dish and mix well.
- Heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
- When the pan is ready, quickly dip one slice of bread into the batter.
- Flip the slice of bread and dip it on the other side.
- Then place it in the pan and fry both sides until golden brown.
- Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 with the leftover slices.
- Serve warm with berries and your favorite dairy-free yogurt.
Bon appétit !