By Alex Bury, VO Organizational Development Consultant
I highly recommend this cookbook and no, it’s not all about sex! I figured I should get that out of the way early. Not that there’s anything wrong with a romantic vegan book!
I stress that because I didn’t get this book at first. I never took the time to actually read it, even though I kept hearing good things about it.
Recently I’ve been getting to know Chef Ayindé—who might be helping Vegan Outreach with some food events—and he sent me a copy.
The Lusty Vegan is all about vegans dating non-vegans, and how to make those relationships work. It’s positive, upbeat, and compassionate—to both sides! The recipes are wonderful and they’re interspersed with advice for meat-eaters who are dating vegans, for vegans who are about to meet their omni in-laws, how to live together happily, and more.
I have friends who are working through this vegan/non-vegan stuff, and Ayindé and Zoë have wonderful advice for what my friends are going through. I recommend this book if you’re in a vegan-omni relationship, or as a gift for someone who is. Or you could be like me and just use it for the recipes!
The first thing I made was Orange Cream Stuffed French Toast! I loved this recipe and will be making it again.
The recipe may sound daunting at first, but, I promise, it’s actually pretty easy. Even if you find my tips helpful, I encourage you head on over to Olivia Rose’s How To Make French Toast In Quick & Simple Ways – The Definite Guide 2017 Edition. This is an awesome resource that will have you making french stuffed toast like a pro!
There are two parts: the filling and the batter. Both are quick and easy.
For the batter, you just throw a few things into a blender or food processor and voilà—it’s done. I like that it’s based on cashews. It had a rich consistency that created a golden brown crust on the cooked French toast.
For the filling, be sure to bring the vegan cream cheese to room temperature before you begin, which makes it easier to mix.
For the assembly, cut a little slice in each piece of bread, creating little pockets. The trick is to make sure each slice is thick enough. When you’re stuffing the pockets don’t worry if a little leaks out—once the slices are cooked in the batter you’ll never be able to tell.
I used sourdough French bread because I like that added flavor of sour contrasting with the sweet maple syrup. You can see from the pictures that the batter cooks up into a beautiful French toast and the flavors were perfect. I don’t like pancakes and French toast that are already sweet before you even put on the maple syrup. I want to taste the bread, the fruit flavors, etc. This recipe was just right.
Serve the French Toast with Tofurky breakfast sausage links and you’ll receive rave reviews (speaking from experience here). You could make this the night before—even to the point of soaking the stuffed bread slices in the batter. Last but not least, the cooked slices reheated very well for leftovers the next day!
This recipe came from the breakfast section. They have other sections written for meat-eaters who are cooking for vegan partners, and vegans who are cooking for omni partners! It’s a cute idea and I thought all the recipes looked great!
Stay tuned for more from this book. I also made Moroccan Tempeh Flatbread with chermoula sauce (seriously yum), No-Tofu Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (one of the best vegan quiches I’ve had) and a quick batch of Granny’s Waldorf Salad. I used to eat that as a kid and I couldn’t resist. All came out well and we’ll post reviews and pictures soon!
Orange Cream Stuffed French Toast
Serves about 2.
- ½ loaf unsliced French bread (1 pound, sourdough optional)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) vegan cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon orange extract (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight and drained
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Grapeseed or safflower oil, for frying
- Vegan butter
- Pure maple syrup
- Fresh blueberries
- Using a sharp knife, cut the bread into thick slices. Next, cut a slit in the side of the bread slices so they’re partially open, like a pocket. Be careful not to cut all the way through. Set aside.
- Filling: In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, orange extract (if using), and salt. Whisk until smooth. The mixture should be thick and slightly sweet. Transfer the filling mixture to a piping bag or use a spoon to fill the bread pockets with the filling mixture. Set aside.
- Batter: In a blender, combine all of the batter ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Pour the batter into a large shallow baking dish.
- Add the stuffed bread and soak on both sides for about 20 minutes (or up to 30 minutes for a richer flavor). You want the bread completely soaked.
- Coat a large skillet or griddle with oil and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully place the French toast in the hot skillet. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
- Top with vegan butter, maple syrup, and blueberries.
- I added chopped walnuts and sliced strawberries to the filling for the last couple of stuffed slices. That was good.
- For the second batch of batter I made, I replaced half the almond milk with orange juice. That increased the orange flavor and I loved it, but it might have been too “orangey” for some.