Made with organic free-range eggs and local honey, this lightened up berry French toast casserole will be your next go-to brunch recipe. Get the recipe now!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pete and Gerry’s Organic. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal views.
As we transition into May, it’s essential to have some go-to brunch recipes ready. From Mother’s Day to graduation parties and wedding showers, there’s always a need for an easy, crowd-pleaser breakfast dish.
This baked french toast casserole is an update to a Healthy Toast original recipe, as overtime I’ve found a few tips and tricks for making it the best it can be. And most of these tweaks have been with regards to being intentionally about the ingredients you choose.
Let’s start with the bread. The first time I made this, I used a loaf of sourdough that had a super thick crust. While you don’t want to use super soft bread as you’ll just end up with a soggy mess, using a loaf that had that thick of a crust resulted in too many tough bites for my liking.
I’ve been playing around with different breads and finally found the perfect balance with a bakery-style sourdough that had a nice crust but was still fluffy on the inside. To help it absorb the cinnamon egg mixture just right, I let the loaf sit out on the counter for a day so that it was slightly harder, but not crouton-making tough.
Next, the honey. Since it’s the spring, I used a local honey made from wildflowers, which gave the casserole a lovely floral hint. As we discussed in a previous post, I recommend using local honey as it has so much more flavor and extra health benefits.
Finally, the eggs. Afterall, the key to a great french toast is the egg mixture. And just like honey, the quality of your eggs does make a different in the final flavor and texture of your casserole.
I used Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, as the quality is top-notch. In addition to being free-range, their eggs are certified USDA organic, Certified Humane, non-GMO, and free of antibiotics, added hormones and pesticides. Talk about truly being farm-fresh!
Not only are these practices better for the hens themselves, but they’re also beneficial for the environment and our health. It also doesn’t hurt that the eggs taste better too. Find out more about why choosing organic eggs is important over on Pete and Gerry’s website.
I’m frequently asked if eggs are a healthy breakfast option. While it can be confusing as new studies seem to continuously contradict one another, I never hesitate to recommend that people incorporate eggs into their weekly routines.
Eggs are a rich source of protein and healthy fats, which together help to keep you full and manage blood sugar levels. They specifically contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for reducing inflammation and play a role in reducing risk of chronic disease.
In addition to these macronutrients, eggs are a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including lutein and choline.
In a world where we’re constantly exposed to blue light from screens (think your phone, computer, and TV), lutein is a powerful antioxidant that helps filter out these rays, protecting our retinas and reducing the risk for age-related macular degeneration.
Choline is not often talked about, but it’s extremely important. Found in the yolk of eggs, choline plays an essential role in the regulation of memory and mood and is also needed for DNA synthesis.
Despite all these benefits, the FDA currently does not allow eggs to be labeled as “healthy,” yet, fat free chocolate pudding, low fat toaster pastries, and sugary breakfast cereals are all allowed to put the label “healthy” on their products.
This is all despite the fact that more and more studies are coming out showing that excess sugar intake increases our risk for numerous chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and obesity.
Pete and Gerry’s “Eggs Are Healthy” campaign is petitioning the FDA to reconsider standards for “healthy” foods to better reflect the current scientific evidence on the role of various nutrients in our diets. For more information on the campaign, be sure to check out this site.
Okay, enough science and back to breakfast! Here’s what you’ll need to make this casserole:
Step 1: Measure ingredients, slice strawberries and cube bread
Slice strawberries into quarters and cut bread slices into 1-2”-inch cubes – it doesn’t have to be exact! Measure out remaining ingredients.
Step 2: Prepare berry and egg mixtures
Place berries and add to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Pour cornstarch and honey on top, stirring well to coat and then set aside. If your honey is super sticky, I recommend warming it just slightly by placing the jar in a bowl of very warm water.
For the egg mixture, place eggs, milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and whisk well until the eggs are frothy. Set aside.
Step 3: Assemble the casserole and refrigerate
Place about ⅓ of the berry mixture on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Shake the pan to distribute the berries evenly.
Next, place the bread cubes on top of the berries and then pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread.
Finally, scatter the remaining berry mixture evenly on top of the casserole, cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Step 4: Bake and serve!
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375oF and remove casserole from fridge while the oven preheats.
Bake casserole for 35-45 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set and the top is slightly browned. I know this is a wide range, but depending on the oven I’ve cooked it in, I’ve found this to be a good time range to start checking.
Slice into 8 equal pieces and serve with desired toppings (I like Greek yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup!).
The longer the bread soaks the soggier the bottom will be. While this isn’t a problem if you’re using a robust, crusty bread, if your sourdough is on the softer, more delicate side then I wouldn’t recommend going much more than 4-6 hours in the fridge.
I went with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top and a drizzle of maple syrup, but to make this a more hearty meal, nitrate- and nitrite-free turkey or chicken sausage is an easy way to add an extra boost of protein. Share how you serve this casserole by tagging @TheHealthyToast_RD on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin this recipe for later!
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