french toast


happy friday! i’m popping in just before the weekend with this baked french toast recipe just in time for brunch. but i’m also talking about the fun topic of blood sugar - yay! here’s a little bit of how they coexist in today’s post:

like i noted in last week’s blog post, my go-to breakfast is a “fab4” smoothie. it’s routine and somewhat boring, but i’m someone who thrives in a routine. plus, it’s the first breakfast i’ve eaten in recent memory that doesn’t leave me with stomach pains and bloat, so i’m quite happy where i’m at with it. so when we’re planning on brunch where pancakes, waffles, bagels, or a baked french toast is involved, i make sure to load up on a smoothie ahead of time to keep me balanced before i eat anything that’s going to elevate my blood sugar.

i’m assuming that a blood sugar rush feels different for everyone. but for me, i can get dizzy, my heart can palpitate, i’ll likely feel depressed, reach for snacks, and/or get sleepy. it can be one, or a combination of all the symptoms, but either way i try to avoid any of them at all costs. but, if you’re not one for smoothies, or if you’re just not as sensitive as me, i’ve got a few other techniques to keep your blood sugar in check while also partaking in a perfectly delicious brunch:

  • if you’re serving brunch: prepare a few difference items, so you and your guests don’t just load up on the dish/es that make blood sugar increase. for instance - serve this baked french toast along with eggs, a big tossed salad, and sliced avocado. that way you all have an option for protein, fat, greens, and french toast.

  • if you’re attending a brunch: load up on a big hearty breakfast ahead of time that contains quality protein, some healthy fats, and greens. like i’ve already said i go for a fruitless fab4 smoothie, but a hearty breakfast could also look like eggs, greens, and avo. or you could substitute in your favorite plant-based protein instead. i’m no doctor, but this are the best techniques i’ve found so far to limit any of those non-desirable side effects of increased blood sugar.

but let’s talk more about this baked french toast! to be honest, i was always afraid to make a gluten free baked french toast. gluten free bread isn’t the best when you want it absorb water and stay somewhat bread-like. instead, it can dissolve into a gummy, gooey mess. luckily, there’s a trick i discovered here that works perfectly and saves you from any form of gooey-ness. what we do here leave the bread out a day ahead to get a bit stale, or toast the bread cubes in the oven for a bit; that way the bread is starting out a bit dry and sturdy. from there, you use it as the recipe directs and you’re delivered a perfectly delicious baked french toast.

this particular recipe comes from jeanine donofrio’s second, and newest book: love & lemons everyday. it’s a lovely recipe for this time of year when the sweetest strawberries are just beginning to come into full swing, and it’s loaded with some warming spices, making this dish both cozy and seasonal. this book is so functional and beautiful. the images alone with make you want to cook just about everything in it, but the recipes are functional and attainable without being predictable. jeanine is great at adding flavorful seasonings or tasty dressings/sauces where they need to be to make each of these recipes shine. if you’re a vegetarian, or want to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into your day-to-day, then this book is definitely one you might want to consider owning.

happy friday! xo!

strawberry baked french toast |df

print the recipe

recipe from Love & Lemons Everyday by Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Matthews

| serves 6 |

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup almond milk

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 10 (1-inch-thick) challah bread slices, cubed (8 cups)*

  • 16 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing

my notes on how to make this gluten free:

to make this gluten free: substitute the challah with equal amounts gluten free bread (the heartier, the better) . i’ve seen versions of baked french toast that use sandwich bread (and if that’s all you can find, go for it), but if you can get your hands on a gluten free boule-style bread do just that.

  • stiffen the bread by cutting it into about 1-inch cubes and either leave them out overnight to get stale, or preheat your oven to 350°F and spread the cubes out onto a large baking sheet (you may have to do this in batches), toast for about 12-18 minutes, tossing halfway through, until toasty and stiff. let the cubes cool completely and proceed with the recipe.


  1. preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8x11-inch or similar baking dish with coconut oil.

  2. in a a large bowl, combine the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, salt, and pepper. beat until combined. add the bread cubes and half the strawberries and toss to coat. pour the mixture into the preapred baking dish and top with remaining strawberries and the almonds. drizzle the coconut oil on top and bake for 18 minutes, or until the tops of the bread cubes are lightly browned.

  3. remove from the oven and serve with maple syrup.

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Gingerbread-Spiced Vegan French Toast by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

i've written about how special breakfast is to me countless times probably.  so, i won't bore you with describing my adoration for morning time meals again.  but french toast has recently become one of my favorite AM nibbles once again!  when i was a kid my dad was in charge of breakfast on the weekends, and he was awesome at them!  his specialties included cheesy scrambled eggs, pancakes from the box, and challah french toast.  

most times french toast was reserved for the days following rosh hashanah, the jewish new year where we always had extra pieces of the pillowy bread.  he never measured the eggy batter, usually just adding a bit of milk here, and a cap-full of vanilla extract there.  the toast always came out just right, and always, always tasted like perfection!  my standards were pretty high, so when i went gluten-free years later, i never thought french toast would be an option since i couldn't get bread that came anywhere close to challah.  but when i was developing recipes for my cookbook, i really wanted to make a vegan french toast with a slightly sweetened chickpea flour batter.  i tried a couple different gluten-free breads, but finally settled on this one. while it's not challah by any means, it holds together with a wet batter, and has that doughy center that i love. 

so when i was pregnant and wanted a "fancy" breakfast frank would whip up a slice for me.  and now, post-pregnancy, i still crave it all the time, and i wanted to come up with a french toast that gave a nod to the holiday season.  something that incorporates all the flavors we love to eat, and all the fragrances we love to smell wafting through the kitchen.  so what better than a gingerbread-spiced toast.  i got together with my favorite, go-to spice brand, Simply Organic - who truly have the most vibrant, robust spices that make up this homemade gingerbread spice mix.  the spice recipe is enough to have extra gingerbread spice on-hand for the holiday season for whenever you want some - maybe in your coffee or tea latte, maybe in your cookies or quick bread.  but hopefully for this jazzed up french toast, because honestly, it's a really good one :)   

this recipe was created in partnership with Simply Organic.  all thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.  thank you so much for supporting the sponsors that help to keep dolly and oatmeal going!

gingerbread-spiced vegan french toast

in my opinion, the chickpea flour-based batter is the best alternative to eggs.  it's fluid, but holds together, and offers a great texture when cooked.  however, if you don't have chickpea flour and don't need to be vegan, you can certainly use eggs here.

| serves 2-3 |

gingerbread spice mix

french toast

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons gingerbread spice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (preferably grade b), plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • hearty gluten free bread or your go-to vegan bread (about 6 slices)
  • extra virgin unrefined coconut oil, for cooking
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt, for serving
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped pistachios, for serving


  1. in a small bowl, whisk together the ground spices thoroughly. then transfer to a lidded jar and store in your pantry.
  2. in large shallow bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, arrowroot powder, 3 teaspoons gingerbread spice, and a pinch of salt.  in a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk,  maple syrup, and vanilla.  whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until fully incorporated.  if the batter is too thick add more milk by the teaspoon until the batter is more fluid.
  3. heat a skillet over medium heat.  once the pan is hot, add a nub of coconut oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan), dip 1 bread slice at a time into the batter, then transfer to the pan.  cook a few minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  4. serve the french toast with yogurt, maple syrup, chopped pistachios, and a dusting of gingerbread spice.

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