The Perfect Vegan Pancakes recipe is by far the most popular on this website. It ranks high in Google for the search term “vegan pancakes” and I notice a big spike in web traffic every Saturday morning for that reason. In fact, on March 4th, the traffic to this website was off the charts and I couldn’t figure it out… until I realized it was national pancake day.
Despite the success of these vegan pancakes, I’ve been feeling like something is missing. I mean, what’s the question that rings out around the world on Saturday morning, “pancakes or french toast?” We’ve solved the vegan pancake problem, but unfortunately, I think we can do a better job with vegan french toast.
The challenges here are understandable when you consider that the key to a good french toast is an eggy batter. Obviously, that doesn’t work for vegan cooking. So the most common solution is banana. Like, mash up a banana with milk, coat the bread, and pan fry. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but banana never creates a solid crust; it just becomes a goopy caramelized coating. Not to mention, it doesn’t exactly have the right flavors. So, to combat these problems, we’re throwing out the banana, adding flour to form a crusty coating, switching to coconut milk for a more solid mouthfeel, and throwing in a few clever ingredients to develop a more egg-like taste.
Makes 6 slices
- 6+ slices whole wheat bread
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons flour (whole wheat or GF)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- A few drops of vegetable oil for cooking
- Maple syrup and/or fruit for serving
A note on bread… I used fluffy white French bread for these pictures only because it’s much more photogenic than thin slices of whole wheat Ezekiel bread. But personally, when I make this for myself, I always use a much healthier sprouted whole-grain bread and I hope you will too!
Gather your slices of bread and dry them out. The best way to do this is by leaving them on the counter overnight. If you’re in a hurry, simply pop them in a 200º F oven for 5-10 minutes until they’re firm but not toasty. Note: the reason you want dry bread is because it’ll absorb more of the batter when soaked.
Add all the other ingredients (coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, flour, nutritional yeast, cinnamon, and ground flaxseed) to a bowl and whisk until combined. In terms of the flour, you can easily substitute any variety you’d like – brown rice or chickpea both work well. The flaxseed will give this more egg-like binding power and the nutritional yeast is a brilliant idea I got from Love and Lemons. It gives the batter a wonderful eggy flavor that works so well in this french toast.
Pour this batter out into a large, flat container (such as a baking pan) and drop in 2-3 slices of the dry bread. Depending on thickness, give them about 1 minute on each side to absorb as much batter as possible without becoming too soggy. Meanwhile, begin warming a large non-stick skillet with a few drops of vegetable oil.
With the skillet fully warm over medium-high heat, transfer the slices of bread into the pan and cook for at least 3 minutes on each side. Once the batter transforms into a golden coating on both sides of the bread, remove from the heat and serve as quickly as possible, preferably with maple syrup and/or sliced fruit.
Variation: Rather than serving plain ‘ol french toast slices, why not make a sandwich out of it? Cut one slice of french toast in half, spread one side with a mixture of mashed bananas, strawberries, and almond butter, then top with the other half for the perfect sandwich: