Light Blueberry French Toast Casserole
My sis-in law aunt Cici and I have been making French toast casserole at our family brunch gatherings for years. The French toast casserole of yester-year was loaded with fluffy white challah bread, heavy cream or whole milk, something like 12 eggs (!), and ‘hints of healthy’ with blueberries. Todays version has more than ‘hints of healthy’ – it is healthy! We use whole-grain bread and non-fat milk/unsweetened almond milk. The cinnamon taste and burst of juicy blueberries will not disappoint. We’ve weaned ourselves off sugar as a family. For us a little sweetness goes a long way…if you’re not quite there yet go ahead and dollop a couple spoons of honey. I love making this dish on Christmas Eve and popping it in the oven early Christmas morning. The whole house smells cinnamon-y delicious and we have a hearty, healthy breakfast waiting after opening gifts before the rest of the family heads over. Light Blueberry French Toast Casserole saves well and heats up nicely for a mid-day snack or for left overs the next day.
What makes this version ‘light’?
It’s light because we’ve stripped out the fat using non-fat milk and unsweetened almond milk. We’ve also reduced sugar quite a bit. No need for heaps of maple syrup – just a touch will do. This ‘healthified’ recipe was inspired by The Gracious Pantry’s Clean Eating Blueberry French Toast Casserole.
I like how Tiffany of The Gracious Pantry thought of using egg whites for the French toast. The egg whites give it a light and fluffy feel. Whole grain bread is a must to put this breakfast on the healthy meter. I take it a step further and cut down on sweetness even more than in Gracious Pantry’s recipe. I do love how Tiffany adds almond extract in her version. The almond extract gives it that gourmet touch! Great idea. I didn’t have any on hand tonight when I made my batch so I subbed in a couple spoons of almond meal flour. Actual nuts of any kind would be delicious in this casserole if your family is not averse to nuts.
- 5 to 6 cups of good whole grain bread, cubed
- 7 egg whites plus 1 whole egg
- 1½ cups nonfat milk or unsweetened almond milk (I use ¾ cup nonfat milk and ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk)
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup plus 2 drops liquid stevia sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons almond extract (or 2 Tablespoons almond meal flour)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fresh organic blueberries, the bigger the better!
- Whisk together the eggs, milks, and maple syrup/liquid stevia
- Stir in extracts
- Spray baking oil liberally into a 9 X 13 pyrex baking dish
- Add bread chunks to egg mixture and stir until bread is moistened
- Gently stir in blueberries
- Pour bread/egg/blueberry mixture into Pyrex dish and spread out evenly
- Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or until the liquid is mostly absorbed between the bread
- Allow to cool 5 minutes or so and serve
- Best enjoyed warm
Light Blueberry French Toast Casserole tastes like a wholesome, healthy bread pudding, bursting with juicy blueberries. The girls and Bob Love it. This dish pairs well with turkey bacon or turkey sausage for a well-rounded holiday brunch. Bon Appetite!