PREP TIME: 15 minutes (not including time to make Vanilla Whipped Cream)
ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutes
1 vanilla bean
1 cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk (nut-free and/or soy-free if necessary)
½ cup canned coconut milk (or vegan creamer)
½ cup chickpea flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1½ tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Vegan cooking spray (soy-free if necessary)
8 vegan bread slices (the thicker the better; gluten-free if necessary)
Vanilla Whipped Cream, optional
Powdered sugar (or xylitol) for dusting, optional
Sliced almonds, optional
4 cups chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or maple syrup; depending on sweetness preference)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1. Use a paring knife to make a slit lengthwise down the side of the vanilla bean. You don’t want to cut it in half—just split it open. Use the knife to scrape out the tiny seeds. Place the seeds in a large shallow bowl or baking dish.
2. Add the nondairy milk, coconut milk, flour, maple syrup, arrow-root, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined.
3. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Set aside.
4. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Spray the pan generously with cooking spray. Dip 1 or 2 slices of bread (depending on how many will fit in your pan) in the milk mixture and soak for 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Place the slices in the pan and cook until golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the cooling rack and place the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, respraying the pan each time before adding new slices.
5. To make the strawberry sauce: Combine the sauce ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
6. If you want, slice the pieces of toast in half diagonally before serving. To serve, place two slices of bread (or four halves) on a plate, topped with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream (if using), a scoop of strawberry sauce, and if you desire, a light dusting of powdered sugar. Sprinkle with a few sliced almonds and serve.