Vegan French toast (savoury) – Lazy Cat Kitchen

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by Sil Pancho

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03.03.2024


vegan french toast closeup

As I am channeling my upcoming driving test anxiety into bread baking, I always have some leftover sourdough banging around – that’s how today’s recipe came about. I wanted to use up stale sourdough and I decided that making vegan French toast is the answer.

As I am still holding on to my no added sugar resolution my vegan French toast is savoury and cheesy. I topped it with some garlicky cherry tomatoes and wilted spinach and it was delicious, it makes for a perfect vegan savoury breakfast (or brunch), it comes together in minutes too and that’s always a bonus.

The key to getting vegan French toast – savoury or sweet – done well is to use a correct type of pan. I tried two different cast iron skillets and while both of them are pretty well seasoned, I had some serious sicking to the pan issue. The best result I achieved was by using non stick crepe pan. It worked perfectly and I needed far less oil than a cast iron skillet did.

The second thing worth mentioning is to make sure your pan is hot before adding to it. If you are unsure if it is sufficiently hot, throw a droplet of water on it and if it sizzles and cooks out immediately it means that you are good to go, but if it doesn’t the pan needs more heat.

In terms of toppings, use anything that enjoy on savoury pancakes, for example. I went for a simple combo of garlicky pan fried cherry tomatoes and wilted spinach, but these balsamic mushrooms would also be tremedous. A smattering of vegan ricotta (I make my own) or shop-bought would add a delicious creaminess so I would recommend it too.

MORE ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS

vegan french toast ingredients

LEFTOVER BREAD: Any dense (not the fluffy, supermarket type) bread with a firm crust will work well here. I used 50% wholemeal sourdough as that’s what I had to hand. Traditionally brioche is the best vehicle for French toast so why not make (or buy if you can) vegan brioche and keep any leftovers in the freezer for vegan French toast when the mood strikes.

SILKEN TOFU Silken tofu – the type that tends to come in a Tetrapak (I like Clearspring brand best) – makes for a great egg replacer in this simple dish. Simply whack it into a small blender alongside some soy milk and seasonings and you have a nutritious egg substitute right there.

SOY MILK Soy milk works great in this context, it thins the mixture to the right level and, alongside silken tofu, does a great job of coating the bread, ready for frying.

MISO PASTE I added a really small amount of white miso for extra savoury flavour but you can skip this ingredient (and add more nutritional yeast) if you don’t have it. Miso also contributes saltiness so if you decide to omit it, be sure to season with more salt (or a dash soy sauce) to taste.

NUTRITIONAL YEAST Nutritional yeast add a delicious cheesy flavour to the mixture so I don’t recommend you skip it. In fact, if not using vegan cheddar, I would advise to add more nutritional yeast to the ‘egg’ mixture and to dust the dipped toast with it before frying too.

BLACK SALT Black salt, also sometimes known a pink salt (it’s more like a grey colour) or kala namak has a high sulphur content and that makes it smell and taste like eggs, it’s uncanny. You can get it really cheaply (and it lasts for ages) in your local Indian corner store (if you live in the UK) as it’s commonly used in South Asian cooking.

GARLIC POWDER A touch of garlic powder – also available in Indian corner stores – adds another flavour dimension to the ‘egg’ mixture. If you don’t have it, simply add a few slices of raw garlic instead.

VEGAN CHEDDAR I found that a small amount of grated vegan cheddar (I used Violife’s Cheddarton) sprinkled on top of the dipped toast adds a lot of flavour and texture to this simple dish so I recommend it, but if you are completely against using vegan cheeses, simply dust the toast with more nutritional yeast instead.

OILI used mild olive oil to fry these vegan French toasts, but any neutral flavoured oil will work. Vegan butter should work the same, but I have not had a chance to test it and since it’s made out of vegetable oils I went straight to the source.

vegan french toast mixture

Combine ‘egg’ mixture ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. Dip slices of old bread in the ‘egg’ mixture briefly.

vegan french toast coating

Remove the bread from the mixture, use the side of a butter knife to get rid of excess and sprinkle the bread with grated vegan cheddar on one side.

vegan french toast fried

Place the bread (cheddar side on) on a well pre-heated, non-stick pan brushed liberally with oil. Allow the bread to fry for 3-4 minutes on low-medium heat, until nicely caramelised. Sprinkle the other side with grated vegan cheddar, flip and fry the other side. Serve with your favourite savoury pancake topping – I used garlic fried tomatoes and wilted spinach.

vegan french toast

vegan french toast side

  • 110 g / ½ cup silken tofu
  • 120 ml / ½ cup soy milk
  • ¼ tsp black (eggy) salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 g / 1 tsp white miso
  • 3 g / 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt & pepper
  • approx. 50 g / 1.75 oz vegan cheddar (I used Violife’s Cheddarton)
  • 4 slices of old sourdough bread* (or vegan brioche)
  • mild olive oil, for frying

GARLICKY TOMATES AND SPINACH

  • 10 ml / 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 150 g / 5.3 oz cherry toms, halved
  • 50 g / 1.75 oz baby spinach
  • salt & pepper

METHOD

  1. Put the first six ingredients in a small blender (I use my Ninja smoothie maker) and blend until smooth. Season with pepper and, if needed, a pinch of salt. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Grate vegan cheddar coarsely and set aside.
  3. Dip a slice of bread in the ‘eggy’ mixture, use the blunt side of the knife to wipe of excess mixture off the surface of the slice.
  4. Pre-heat a non-stick crepe (or another flat, non-stick) pan. Once hot brush it liberally with oil.
  5. Top the dipped slice with a small amount of grated vegan cheddar on one side and put it on the oiled pan, cheesy side down.
  6. Allow it to cook on low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes before sprinkling the other side with cheese, flipping the slice (brush the pan with more oil if needed) and frying it for 3-4 minutes on the other side.
  7. Keep warm in a low oven while frying the other slices.

GARLICKY TOMATES AND SPINACH

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté on a whisper of a heat until cooked through and fragrant, stirring frequently.
  2. Arrange cherry tomatoes cut side down on the pan, sprinkle with salt and cook undisturbed on a very low heat until softened on one side (about 2 minutes).
  3. Flip tomatoes gently, season with salt and pepper. A pinch of sugar is nice too.
  4. Gently remove tomatoes from the pan, keeping some of the garlicky oil in the pan.
  5. Add a splash of water and baby spinach to the pan. Mix them together and cover the pan with a lid or a large plate. Allow spinach to wilt on a very low heat. Season and serve.

NOTES

*BREAD: use a good gluten-free bread to make this dish gluten-free.

TOPPING ALTERNATIVE: These balsamic mushrooms also make a delicious topping. I also sometimes like to use vegan ricotta or shop-bought vegan feta crumbled on top.



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