I’m a breakfast lover….a BIG breakfast lover…and I also have quite the sweet tooth! I would take a sweet over a savory breakfast everyday, so of course French toast is one of my favorite morning meals!
It’s a tradition for my family to have french toast casserole on holidays (Christmas brunch, Easter morning) and I love the simple yet special meal. It’s quick to whip up, and easy to make ahead so you won’t be laboring in the kitchen on a holiday or weekend morning.
I decided to try a new twist on mom’s classic casserole by making it dairy free. Did you know that about 30-50 million Americans are lactose intolerant!? Many clients I work with (and myself!) have at least a mild reaction to dairy products. Lactose intolerance (a lack of the lactase enzyme that breaks down the sugar in milk products) can be quite an annoyance. Lucky for us, there are many simple dairy free swaps that can allow you to enjoy your favorite meals (and family traditions!) without any GI discomfort.
Coconut milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk products when you want a rich taste and texture to your dish. Almond milk seems to be all the rage these days, but it’s a very thin non dairy milk that won’t give you the satisfaction you want from a yummy French toast! I used a combo of soy milk and coconut milk to make sure the custard was nice and creamy. A canned coconut milk won’t be quite as sweet as dairy milk, so you definitely want to drizzle on the syrup for this one! Berries or banana would also be great toppings.
Try this dish for your next brunch to wow all your lactose avoiding friends and family!
Dairy Free French Toast Casserole
- 1 loaf challah bread
- 6 eggs
- 1.5 cups soy milk
- 3/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk, blended
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- Slice the challah bread into about 1 inch cubes
- Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and spread the cubed bread in the dish
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs
- Pour the canned coconut milk into a blender and blend until smooth or use a separate container and blend with an immersion blender
- Add the soy milk, blended coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the eggs and whisk until full combined
- Pour the liquid custard mixture over the bread in the baking dish, evenly distributing it over the cubes. You can press the bread slightly into the wet ingredients once it's all in the pan in order to moisten all of the bread.
- Cover the dish with tin foil and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight (you can skip refrigeration and bake right away if short on time)
- Bake the casserole at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes covered with tin foil and then bake for an additional 20 minutes uncovered.
- Slice and serve with syrup and your favorite toppings