Recipe: Banana French Toast Casserole

Pamela Salzman, cooking instructor and cookbook author, shares her favorite Christmas morning recipe.

Banana Walnut French Toast Casserole

French toast is a classic breakfast that I grew up on. I love this version which is very easy to make and allows me to get a few more protein-rich eggs into our breakfast. I`ll use whatever bread I have on hand, from sprouted to hamburger buns to the ends that no one wants - they will all work here. Most of the time I make the casserole without the streusel on weekday mornings and I save the added sweet crunchy topping for the weekends. Even though there is no added sugar to the casserole, the bananas provide enough sweetness that you can probably enjoy this without adding maple syrup.
SERVES 4-6
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Unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter to grease pan
5 large eggs
1 ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon sea salt
6 slices sprouted bread (thawed if frozen), cut into 1-inch pieces (cinnamon-raisin is a great option), about 5 cups
2 large ripe bananas, sliced into ½-inch slices
Streusel (optional)
3 Tablespoons oat flour
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup raw walnuts, chopped
2 Tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, Grade A or Grade B
pinch of sea salt
3 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil or unsalted butter
accompaniments: pure maple syrup, Greek yogurt

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1. The night before you plan to serve this, grease an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch glass baking dish with a little coconut oil or unsalted butter.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the bread cubes, pressing on the bread to make sure it soaks up all the egg mixture. Gently stir in the bananas. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
3. Cover and refrigerate the dish overnight.
4. Make the streusel: Combine all the streusel ingredients until moistened. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
5. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Crumble the streusel into small clumps on top and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until set. It`s ok if it`s bubbling, but it shouldn`t be super squishy. Gluten-free bread may take a little longer.
7. Serve warm with desired accompaniments.
Notes: to double this, use a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and bake for closer to 55-60 minutes.

Why I think sprouted bread is the most healthful:
Sprouting grains is a traditional method that has been used since ancient times. This process significantly increases the grains` health benefits and digestibility by reducing anti-nutrients and gluten, and by breaking down the starches and enzyme inhibitors. Important minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc, as well as Vitamins C and B and antioxidants are also more easily assimilated by the body. Beyond just sprouted bread, look for sprouted English muffins, waffles, and my personal favorite, tortillas. Sprouted breads are often not gluten-free, however, and therefore not appropriate for individuals with Celiac disease.

You can get more great ideas here.