This French Toast Casserole is really easy. Honestly, there’s only three steps: the night before you mix up the marinade, assemble the casserole, then bake it the next day. Crazy simple! You can have the kids help, too. An adult should handle cutting bread and any blades in a food processor or blender, but little ones can help grease the casserole, peel bananas, measure ingredients and assemble the casserole. A teen with some kitchen experience can likely handle this entire recipe.
For the bread, we used a crusty sourdough from a local bakery. You can also find loaves of gluten free bread, too – we get these at local bake shops and market, but in a pinch check the freezer case at your natural foods store. The most important part of choosing your bread is to select a plain loaf – nothing with savory additions, like rye, caraway, onion or garlic. Those would not be tasty in this recipe! Keep it simple, and the casserole will be a huge hit!
Try this recipe for a breakfast-in-bed occasion or any brunch with family and friends. It might also be a fun breakfast-for-dinner. Want to mix it up? Try walnuts or almonds or sunflower seeds instead of pecans. Strawberries would be tasty in the syrup instead-of or in-addition to the blueberries. As written, this recipe is vegan and can easily convert to gluten-free. It will serve four to six people two slices each, depending on how you cut your bread.
- one loaf of plain bread, cut into 12 thick slices
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- 2 bananas, peeled and broken into chunks
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (we used unsweetened soy milk)
- 4 Tbl. ground flax seed meal (such as Bob's Red Mill)
- 2 Tbl. sugar (optional, or to taste)
- 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- pinch salt (optional, to taste)
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
- 1 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- The night before you wish to make this (or a few hours before, at least), grease a 9x13 oven-safe casserole dish with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Cut bread into 12 thick slices, about one inch.
- In a blender or food processor, combine bananas, non-dairy milk, flax seed meal, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Process until smooth and silky, and all banana chunks are broken down. If you are making this by hand, use a potato masher to break down the bananas as much as possible.
- Spoon a thin layer of banana-liquid into the bottom of prepared casserole dish. Add bread in layers and pour on all remaining banana-liquid and chopped pecans on top. Using your hands, spread evenly onto both sides of all the bread. Really try to coat all the bread so that the liquid absorbs into it.
- When bread is coated, cover casserole and place into fridge for at least three hours and up to overnight. This step is crucial for the bread to absorb all the marinade.
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Place casserole dish, uncovered, into oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges are crisp and lightly browned. Bread slices on top will look crispy first, so be sure to check that for doneness.
- Prepare the blueberry syrup while the casserole bakes by adding fresh or frozen/thawed blueberries, maple syrup and water to a saucepan over medium heat. Stir often to prevent burning. Syrup is done when everything is combined and a deep purple color; cooked berries will have burst and look soft.
- Serve French Toast slices while still warm, topped with Blueberry Syrup.
- Other fun topping ideas include fresh blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, powdered sugar, or homemade coconut whip (try the vanilla whip from our recipe here).
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