This vegan sweet potato french toast casserole makes the perfect holiday brunch. It requires just 15 minutes of active kitchen time and can be prepared up to a full day in advance. Hearty french bread is cut into cubes and soaked overnight in a rich mixture of sweet potato purée, coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In the morning, the dish gets popped in the oven to bake for 45 minutes and then topped with spoonfuls of warm fruit preserves and drizzles of maple syrup.
This post is sponsored by Hero Fruit Spread. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Blissful Basil.
With the arrival of our first little one just around the corner, I've been feeling extra sentimental about the upcoming holiday season.
Life's always changing. It moves forward and shifts and twists and turns. It's no wonder that time moves so swiftly. But then there are moments, like the holidays, where time slows a bit, and there's a return to tradition.
Lately, I've found myself wondering how things will change once Dan and I take on this new role as parents. Will we make use of the family traditions we had growing up? Will we make new ones?
My family has many—oh so many—traditions. There's holiday cookie baking, the best ever guacamole at Thanksgiving (one of our closest family friends who's worked at Frontera Grill for decades brings guacamole by the bowlful), joint Christmas Eve celebrations, my mom's famous cinnamon roll Christmas tree, and so many more.
Since going vegan, it's also become tradition for me to create vegan dishes for any and all holiday celebrations.
My number one requirement for the dishes I make during the holidays: they must be broad crowd-pleasers that everyone will enjoy. Oh yes, and they should be festive and easy to make yet entirely wow-worthy, too. Nothing better than hearing a few oohs and ahhs ring out after each bite.
I suppose you know where I'm going with this, but this vegan sweet potato french toast casserole hits all of those marks. It's an absolute crowd-pleaser, it's festive (and fun, too), almost too easy to make, and utterly wow-worthy.
It's the ideal sweet brunch or breakfast to whip together for loved ones during the holiday season but isn't so festive that it can't be enjoyed in other seasons, for other reasons.
Hey! It's the weekend! Let's make a super simple, extra delicious french toast casserole.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at the quick + easy how-to.
First thing's first. You'll whisk together a bit of ground flaxseed and filtered water and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or so to create a flax "egg". This acts as the binder.
While the flax mixture thickens and gels, slice a 20-ounce French or sourdough boule (or loaf) into 1-inch cubes.
I don't recommend using soft loaf bread for this recipe. You'll want a nice, sturdy loaf to create the optimal french toast texture—crispy on top with a soft, gooey, almost soufflé-like interior.
Once you've sliced your bread, add it to a lightly greased baking dish.
Then, to the flaxseed mixture, add unsweetened sweet potato purée, canned coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt, and whisk together until smooth.
Tip: For the most authentic french toast taste, I recommend using kala namak (i.e., black salt) instead of regular sea salt because it adds the most wonderful eggy flavor, but you can absolutely stick with regular salt if that's what you have on hand.
Pour the sweet potato mixture over the bread cubes and gently stir to ensure they're evenly coated in all of that sweet, orange goodness.
Then, wrap the baking dish and refrigerate for at least eight hours or overnight. If you'd like, you can prepare the casserole up to a full 24 hours in advance and then bake it the next day.
In the morning, bake the french toast casserole for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly crisp and the bottom is well set yet soft, tender, and fluffy.
If you'd like, feel free to sprinkle on some vegan powdered sugar to sweeten (or arrowroot starch if you're simply looking for that overall snow-kissed vibe) or keep things simple and skip this step.
Next, drizzle on plenty of pure maple syrup (either over the casserole as a whole or over each spooned out portion)...
Finally, warm up a jar of Hero Fruit Spread and spoon it over the surface.
Hero fruit spreads—established in 1886 and used and preferred by chefs around the world—have a higher fruit content than most. They're also free from high-fructose corn syrup as well as artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. Just pure fruit goodness without the funny business.
I recommend either Red Raspberry or Red Currant for this casserole but honestly, any of Hero's many, unique fruit varieties would be lovely here. Think: Black Currant, Strawberry, Blueberry, Forest Berry, Bitter Orange, or even Apricot.
Hero fruit is less sweet and more fruit-forward than ordinary preserves, meaning it offers a fuller fruit flavor to this french toast. (Note: Hero can be found in the jam aisle of most leading grocery stores—e.g., Kroger, Jewel-Osco, Wegman's, Ralph's, Harris Teeter, Balducci's, Earth Fare, etc.—for more information visit, www.herofruitspread.com).
Once you've finished topping, serve up the love.
This vegan sweet potato french toast casserole is everything. It's sweet, spiced, warm, cozy, comforting, and inviting, it comes together with just 15 minutes of active kitchen prep, and it's designed to WOW a crowd.
I hope this recipe brings a bit more warmth, comfort, and JOY to you and your loved ones this holiday season! ♥
Vegan Sweet Potato French Toast Casserole
- 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons filtered water
- 20- to 24-ounce hearty french bread loaf/boule or sourdough loaf/boule, sliced into 1-inch to 1 ½-inch cubes*
- 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened sweet potato purée** (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk, can vigorously shaken before measuring
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon loosely packed freshly grated nutmeg or ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or kala namak (highly recommend—adds an eggy flavor)
- 1 jar Red Currant or Red Raspberry Hero Fruit Spread, warmed in a saucepan over low heat
- Pure maple syrup, to taste
- Lightly grease a large, oven-safe baking dish.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and filtered water. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
- Meanwhile, add the bread cubes to the baking dish.
- To the flaxseed mixture, add the sweet potato purée, coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. Vigorously whisk until smooth.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture over the bread cubes, ensuring they're as evenly covered in the mixture as possible. If needed, use a spatula to nudge them around the baking dish a bit.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or overnight (can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking).
- In the morning (or just before baking), preheat the oven to 350F.
- Uncover the dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until set and desired doneness is reached. (I prefer a slightly crisp top and soft, slightly gooey bottom, so I bake mine for exactly 45 minutes but baking time will vary based on preferences and the type of bread you use.)
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve with generous spoonfuls of warmed Hero fruit spread and drizzles of maple syrup.