Savory French toast with a parmesan cheese crust served with a quick pesto cherry tomato sauce with spinach. This healthy recipe is impressive yet easy to make and it's perfect for either breakfast or dinner!
Have you ever tried savory French toast? Believe it or not, I grew up eating French toast that was savory and it was many years before I realized that French toast was usually served sweet. I thought it was so strange the first time I saw it served with fruit and sugar in a restaurant!
The French toast I grew up eating was pretty simple, with just salt and pepper to season it, but savory is still the way I like to eat my French toast.
This parmesan crusted French toast is the 'grown up' version of what I was served at home as a kid. The egg mixture is dressed up a bit with some fresh chopped chives and before the toast is cooked it's topped with a healthy portion of parmesan cheese which forms a nice flavourful crust. The pesto cherry tomato sauce is so simple to make and it really adds a lot of flavour to this dish.
Why you're going to love this
- impressive but easy to make - there are 2 parts to this recipe, but the steps are very simple and the result is a restaurant-quality meal.
- anytime meal - the savory nature of this dish makes it great for either breakfast or dinner.
- healthy - Ditch all the sugar that comes with sweet French toast and serve it up with some veggies instead!
- brioche - brioche is the best bread for making French toast. If you don't have it though, you can definitely substitute for whatever you have on hand. If its a couple of days old, even better.
- eggs - for the best flavor I always choose free run eggs.
- milk - to thin out the egg mixture for coating the bread. I used almond milk, but you can use any kind of milk you like.
- chives - to add some fresh herby flavour. You can also try parsley or any other leafy herbs you have on hand.
- parmesan cheese - Definitely go for the real deal here, and grate it yourself. I like to grate it with a cheese grated to get bigger flakes.
- butter - for frying the toast. You could also use oil here if you wish.
- cherry tomatoes - these are the base for our quick pesto tomato sauce. Grape tomatoes would also work well here.
- spinach - I love adding some greens into pretty much everything I cook, and the spinach adds a nice earthiness to the sauce.
- onion - any onion you have on hand will do
- pesto - either homemade or jarred. If you do buy jarred though, buy a good quality pesto.
How to make it
Start by getting the sauce going then while it cooks you can work on getting the French toast done.
To make the cherry tomato sauce:
- Halve the cherry tomatoes then place them in a bowl along with the diced onion and pesto. Mix everything together well.
- Heat a medium sized skillet to medium heat and add a splash of cooking oil. Dump the sauce ingredients into the skillet and stir often while the tomatoes soften a bit and release some moisture otherwise the pesto may stick to your pan. When the tomatoes have softened, cover the skillet and turn the heat down to low. Let the sauce cook while you make the French toast. Wilt in the spinach just before serving.
To make the parmesan crusted French toast:
- crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and add the milk and chives. Season well with sea salt and pepper then mix well until the egg yolks and whites have combined.
- Working one piece of bread at a time, dip the slice into the egg mixture and flip over to ensure it is covered all over with egg. Let any excess egg drip off the egg back into the bowl and set aside on a plate. Spread parmesan across the face up size of the covered bread slice.
- Working 2 pieces of toast at a time, cook the french toast. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat and add a bit of butter. Lay the bread in the pan parmesan coated side down and then top the other side with parmesan cheese. Let the bread cook on the first side until the bottomed has browned then flip over and cook the second side.
- Serve the savory French toast topped with the pesto cherry tomato sauce.
Tips for the best French Toast
- Egg breads like brioche or challah make the BEST French toast. You can use any bread but for maximum flavour choose one of these.
- Use stale bread. Bread that is stale and a bit dry soak up the egg mixture nicely without getting soggy inside. It's a great way to use up old bread.
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Savory Parmesan French Toast
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Parmesan crusted French toast
- 4 broiche slices
- 3 eggs
- 1⁄3 cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon chives
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese (shredded)
- sea salt and pepper
Pesto cherry tomato sauce
- 3⁄4 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups baby spinach (packed)
- 1⁄4 cup onion (diced)
- 1.5 Tablespoons pesto
To make the pesto cherry tomatoes and spinach:
- Heat a medium size frying pan to medium low heat and add a splash of olive oil
- Halve the cherry tomatoes and place them in a bowl along with the diced onion and pesto. Mix well.
- Add the tomato mixture to the frying pan and saute for a minute or two while stirring. When the tomatoes start to release some liquid cover the pan and let the tomatoes cook.
- When the tomatoes have softened (5-8 minutes) add the spinach and stir through to wilt.
To make the parmesan French toast:
- Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and add the milk and chives. Season well with sea salt and black pepper then beat the mixture together until the eggs are uniform in colour.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium heat and add a Tablespoon of butter.
- Dip the brioche slices into the egg mixture one at a time ensuring all sides of the bread are covered in egg. Place on a plate and cover the top sides of the bread with half of the parmesan cheese.
- Working with as many slices of bread as you pan can fit, place the bread parmesan side down on the pan. Cover the top side with the remaining parmesan cheese.
- Let the toast cook until the bottoms are golden brown then flip and cook the remaining side.
- Serve topped with the pesto tomatoes and spinach and top with additional grated parmesan cheese.