I will be honest: I am not vegan. When I was at my healthiest, I drastically reduced my intake of animal proteins, dairy, and processed foods and it made a world of difference in my overall feeling of wellbeing, so I can appreciate wanting to be vegan.
As a chef who has been trained in the abundant use of eggs, butter and other animal fats, I find myself going back to using these ingredients in my personal everyday cooking. Call it second nature but it is hard for me to sustain a full-fledged vegan lifestyle. I am not just a chef for myself, though. As a die hard member of the hospitality industry, I appreciate all of the alternative ways of eating for whatever reasons you may have. Even if I may not be an expert in specific dietary niches like gluten-free, vegan, lactose free, Keto, etc., I know how to cook and always want to learn new ways to approach food and be able to serve my guests.
We always get requests for vegan classes at The Chopping Block, and I am excited that our next one Vegan Brunch has already sold out. This Banana Bread Pudding recipe would fit right in on the brunch table! There are so many variations and modifications you can make to this base recipe so make sure to read the swaps section after the recipe. This recipe is based off of a non-vegan bread pudding recipe, and I adapted it myself to be deliciously vegan!
Vegan Banana Bread Pudding
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: 1 9x13 pan
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 45-60 minutes
Inactive time: 30 minutes
4 cups vegan bread of your choice, cut into cubes
2 cups unsweetened plant milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
4 ripe bananas, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Place the bread cubes in a 9x13 pan and set aside. Sprinkle sliced bananas and chocolate chips over the top.
3. Add the plant milk, 2 bananas, flax, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla to a blender and blend until smooth.
You can also mix everything in a bowl and let it sit for a minute.
4. Pour mixture over the bread cubes, really pressing it in, and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
5. Make sure the bread thoroughly absorbs the mixture before baking.
6. Bake the bread pudding for roughly 45-60 minutes, or until it is golden brown and the center is just set and slightly firm. This really depend on how thick your bread pudding is.
Easy vegan swaps and modifications:
- Always make sure to read the labels to ensure ingredients are vegan.
- Bread pudding is an excellent way to use up stale bread, if using fresh bread let it sit and dry out overnight for best results, or even toast the cubes in the oven for 5 minutes. I used baguette that was super dry. Take this a step further and make your own vegan bread!
- ANY kind of non-dairy milk can be used. I used oat milk but my favorite is coconut milk, it has such a great consistency for baking and cooking in general when you want to replicate the fat of real dairy. Almond milk and soy milk can also be used.
- The binder in this recipe is the flaxseed meal. If you have never heard of “flax eggs” one of the easiest ways to sub regular eggs in small amounts is to combine 1Tablespoon flaxmeal and 3 Tablespoons water to equal 1 whole egg. This application is best for pancakes, muffins, and other flour based baked goods. It creates a gelatinous mixture and contains fat to act as a binder. Using too much can result in a very stiff and gluey final product.
- Chia seeds can be used in the same way as the flaxseed meal.
- The banana helps to keep things together as well but also provides moisture and sweetness to offset the stiffness of the flax. Applesauce, other fruit purees, and even vegan plant-based yogurts could be pureed into this base and work beautifully.
- The brown sugar could be subbed for any other sugar you may have on hand, like granulated and if your bananas are not that ripe you may up the amount if a sweeter pudding is preferred.
- As far as flavorings go, cinnamon and vanilla are always a classic but if you have maple syrup that is vegan (yes, not all maple syrups are safe!) or have other spices like nutmeg, cardamom or other extracts like almond, they could all be wonderful in this bread pudding.
- Mix ins: I love chocolate chips in this dish, but some nuts for crunch couldn’t hurt either.
There are a number of vegan products on the market now, and I am very impressed with the quality and what you can accomplish with these ingredients.
One of my favorite tips to give you is this: bread pudding is so great sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and then sautéed or griddled over high heat, the perfect brunch food!
If you are interested in learning more about vegetarian cooking don't miss our upcoming Hands-On Vegetarian Fiesta: Tortillas and Tacos from Scratch on Saturday, March 12 at 11am at the Merchandise Mart.
Cooking vegan or vegetarian food is this week's challenge for our private Facebook group members. Join the group, make a vegan/vegetarian dish and share with other home cooks for inspiration in the kitchen!
We also have a great cooking resource which includes lots of vegan recipes: our Vegan from Scratch guide.