Chock full of cranberries and juicy pears, this vegan french toast casserole is a delicious holiday brunch dish!
Well, we came out of the other side of Thanksgiving, everything intact! It was a whirlwind of a weekend for us (first Chicago, then St. Louis), but worth every single bit of time spent with family and dear friends. I ate my weight in mashed potatoes and imbibed in wine and pizza with my parents the day after Thanksgiving, but now that we’re drawing nearer to Christmas, my mind is on baking! I have several cookie recipes in the works for Christmas and have gone through more coconut oil and flour in the last week than you can believe, but first we should probably talk about brunch.
I know that desserts, cookies and after dinner things get all the attention this time of year, but what about brunch/breakfast? As my second favorite meal of the day (dessert comes in first, obviously), it seems to be forgotten during the holiday season in favor of big dinners and platters of cookies, but we all still need to eat in the morning, right? I always run into the issue of having too much dessert around the house and kind of forgetting about breakfast during this season. Easy breakfast to the rescue!
One of the best parts of this vegan french toast casserole is that it’s not only festive looking, with its pretty cranberries and juicy pears, but it’s so simple to throw together! Plus, it gives you an excuse to buy a hearty loaf of bread from the bakery section of the store, always a win. If you are wary of the chickpea flour or aren’t sure about it, just give it a try. I was hesitant at first because it does seem like an odd flour, but it makes the perfect thickener for the liquid part of this vegan french toast casserole. I know Whole Foods normally has it in the bulk bins, so you only have to buy as much as you need and having a bag around is perfect for making clump free gravies (it works like a charm!) and tackling those gluten free recipes you’ve been meaning to try. Between the crunchy sweet chunks of hearty bread on top, to the sweet parts on the bottom, with the cranberries nestled in between the whole thing, this casserole is like a hearty holiday-themed hug.
What do you usually make for brunch during the holiday season? Mine is usually a cross between this, pancakes, or a family favorite of Swedish tea log. Come back later in the week, because we are about to enter into cookie season!
- Chickpea flour is going to work best for this, I wouldn’t recommend subbing in any other kinds!
- Multi-grain bread can be used in place of sourdough, just make sure it’s thick and can hold up to the liquid mixture. The worst thing would be to have a soggy french toast casserole.
- This can easily be prepped the night before! Just whisk together the liquid the night before, prep the bread and store separate until right before you’re ready to bake.
- 3-4 large slices sourdough bread, cubed
- 1 pear, chopped
- ¾ cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup almond milk
- ⅓ cup chickpea flour
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk, chickpea flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the cubed bread in the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the chopped pear and cranberries over the bread and pour the almond milk mixture over the top.
- Bake french toast for 20-25 minutes, until top is golden and crunchy. Serve with additional syrup and coconut whipped cream.