Vegan French Toast with a Blueberry Maple Compote

by Jennifer

I’ll start this post off with a strange confession – I’ve decided to go vegan for a while. I haven’t determined a deadline, and yes, this decision surprised me almost as much as it will surprise my readers. I guess I have kind of strange reasoning for it, but hey – it’ll produce some interesting recipes!

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I was formerly a vegetarian for three years running. I did it for environmental reasons and to promote conscientious consumption, and I loved every minute of it. I was a strict vegetarian, and I never once felt the need to just “give in” to a burger; I never tripped up, accidentally or knowingly. I survived three meatless Thanksgivings (to my relatives’ horror) and discovered a lot about nutrition in the process. In fact, I would argue that it was my love of finding new vegetarian recipes to try that got me into cooking in the first place. Don’t worry, baking has always been a hobby – I wouldn’t be myself if I could say no to a good cookie.

However, I stopped because I have plans to go abroad. While habituating in another country, I really want to take advantage of all the cuisine that culture has to offer. I don’t want to deny myself something I might never be able to try again. Travel is fatal to ignorance, and I hope to live my life with an open mind and open heart. After being a vegetarian for so long, incorporating meat back into your diet and bringing your digestive enzymes back up to speed is a process. I wanted to prepare myself, so I decided to give myself time to relearn a meat-incorporated diet.

Now that the cheesiness is out of the way, I can explain how going vegan came into the picture. I stopped being a vegetarian this summer, around June I believe. I did start slowly putting meat back into my life, but I had to force myself. I wanted the avocado, mozzarella, and tomato sandwich over turkey and cheese. I ate burgers and enjoyed them, but I was definitely more excited about the novelty of it all; if anything, imagining how meat tastes is better than the actual, real life presentation. That’s just me. As I continued with my new omnivorous lifestyle, I found myself forgetting to eat meat. I would go weeks without any, not noticing because I wasn’t used to grocery shopping for it or ordering it when I ate out.

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Additionally, being a vegetarian created a food “game” of sorts. I loved finding new ways around meat that were equally delicious, if not more so, and it forced me to be a bit more creative in my cooking. It created very manageable obstacles, and I became a much more capable cook every time I tried something new.

I found myself missing being a vegetarian. I practically still was by the way I was eating. As a new challenge, I started trying to make vegan versions of recipes every once in a while. Slowly, I became hooked – I would look at a recipe and ponder whether I could make a vegan version of it. Soon enough, my cabinet was filled with flaxseed and carob chips. I loved the food I was making, and if I was choosing to cook vegan recipes so often, what was keeping me from it? Stigmatization, mostly.

People take food and consumption very personally, and are threatened by the perceived challenge that vegetarianism presents to that. While there is the cliché of the pushy, obnoxious vegan, I would honestly say that for every 1 of them there are 100 people who are harassing (well-intentioned or not) people who have chosen an alternate dietary lifestyle. I’ve had people tell me I was crazy/stupid/irrational/spoiled for being a vegetarian, and since being a vegan, even more so. Yes, I could maintain a mostly vegetarian/vegan lifestyle while foregoing it while eating out/in social situations for the sake of ease. But that’s not me. I’m all or nothing, and when I am going to do something, I’m going to commit to it 100%. So here I am – I made the jump. I know I will stop being a vegan eventually, as the whole point was to be able to eat a full range of dishes while abroad, but for now I’m exploring a vegan lifestyle.

If anything, you guys are about to get some great recipes out of it! This french toast is a dead ringer for the real thing, and is an amazingly sweet taste to wake up to. I set the recipe up for only two pieces of toast since I’m just cooking for me, but the recipe multiplies easily for more.

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For French Toast

  • 1/2 cup vanilla-flavored almond milk (soy or coconut would work too)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 slices of bread (stale bread actually works best for the recipe – soaks up the mix more)

For Blueberry Compote

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

1) Mix together all the ingredients in a shallow bowl.

2) Dip the bread in, letting it soak for 15-20 seconds or so on each side.

3) Put a skillet on medium heat and crisp each piece of toast one at a time, cooking both sides of the bread.

4) When done, remove the pan from the stove and put the maple syrup and the blueberries in the still-warm skillet, and heat until warm and soft.

Nom nom nom. Enjoy!

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