High Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast for Baby-Led Weaning

This High-Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast is perfect for baby-led weaning, but also perfectly acceptable for adults! Thick multigrain bread is coated in a lemon-ricotta batter and grilled to perfection in this tasty breakfast.

Two slices of lemon ricotta French toast are stacked on a plate, topped with a pat of butter and drizzled with syrup.

If you’ve up until now been of the mindset that French toast is a carb-heavy breakfast with no nutritional value, today I’m prepared to completely change your mind.

That’s because I’ve taken your classic French toast and turned it into a breakfast superstar that’s baby-led weaning approved. How, you ask? Well, let me tell you!

FRENCH TOAST MADE HEALTHY

Okay, first things first, let’s talk about bread. I’ve always and forever been the complete antithesis of gluten-free, I love my gluten! And I’m very fortunate that I have no issues processing it. That being said, I’m also a firm believer of everything in moderation, and I know that the path of consuming too many carbs is wayyy to easy to go down, so I try to be conscious of how much and what type I consume.

Yes, I meant to put that extra emphasis on what type. This is soooo important and all too often overlooked. There are a ton of nutritional benefits to consuming whole or multigrain breads (and carbs in general) as opposed to the white stuff. You can check out more on these benefits in this helpful article, but I let’s continue on with this Lemon Ricotta French Toast, because we don’t have all day!

An overhead shot of two pieces of lemon ricotta French toast on a plate with a lemon wedge, topped with a pat of butter and syrup, flanked by purple flowers.

In addition to using a thick multigrain bread for this recipe (and yes, I’m referring to the type you have to slice yourself so you can get those big ol’ slices), I also added some ricotta to the dipping batter to really up the protein content. We want our little ones to have full and healthy tummies as they start their day!

For some fun extra flavor, I added fresh lemon juice and zest.

Side note: Does anyone else’s child enjoy snacking on entire wedges of lemon? Or is it just mine?

A toddler snacking on a lemon wedge.

Whether your child would eat an entire lemon if you let them or not, I’m pretty sure they at least like the zingy flavor.

Let’s get to cooking!

GRIDDLE SKILLS

Once you have your bread sliced and batter ready, the cooking will be done in less than 10 minutes. That’s a breakfast win if you ask me!

Simply dip the bread in the batter and place it on a preheated griddle to cook away. Flip once and you’re done. Easy as that.

WHAT’S THE DEAL ON TOPPINGS?

Okay, this is where I feel I need to state the obvious: If you’re making this Lemon Ricotta French Toast for your little one, I DO NOT recommend drowning it in syrup. Now, I’m not one to tell you how you should parent or critique the food decisions you make, but my friends – that syrup is a messy, slippery slope. Once you start, you will not be able to go back.

If you are, however, making this French toast for yourself (or slightly older kids who may be able to at least slightly control their obsession) then go for it! I know, it is so good.

Another angle of two pieces of lemon ricotta French toast on a grey plate, topped with a pat of butter, with syrup and butter in the background.

That all being said, I also have some tasty alternatives that are both baby-led weaning and big kid-/adult-friendly:

No matter which way you serve this or who you serve it to, it’s bound to be a hit.

If you’re looking for more healthy breakfast recipes for the family, be sure to check out my post on Easy Breakfast Recipes That Are Baby-Led Weaning Approved and this tasty recipe for Toddler-Approved Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies!

Another overhead shot of lemon ricotta french toast on a grey plate, covered with butter and syrup, with a lemon wedge for garnish.

High-Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast for Baby-Led Weaning
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

This High-Protein Lemon Ricotta French Toast is perfect for baby-led weaning, but also perfectly
acceptable for adults! Thick multigrain bread is coated in a lemon-ricotta batter and grilled to perfection in this tasty breakfast.







Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-led weaning, breakfast, brunch, French toast, kid-friendly, lemon
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 433 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 loaf whole unsliced multi- or whole grain bread You'll want to get about 8 slices out of it.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Place griddle or large pan on the stove and begin heating over medium heat.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest to make the batter.

  3. Place butter on preheated skillet and let melt.

  4. Once butter is melted and evenly spread over your cooking vessel, begin dipping bread slices in the batter and placing on the skillet.

  5. Cook for a few minutes – or until the bottom of the bread becomes golden-brown and the egg is set – before flipping and cooking the other side.

  6. Serve immediately with your desired topping.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Medium

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies: Toddler-Approved!

These Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies are the perfect treat for your toddler to kick off the day on the right foot – he or she won’t even know they’re healthy!

Four Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies stacked alongside a carafe of milk.

I mean, who doesn’t want cookies for breakfast?

More specifically, what toddler doesn’t want cookies for breakfast? And what if I told you I’ve come up with a hearty and healthy cookie that is both toddler-approved and also perfectly acceptable to enjoy as the most important meal of the day?  Because that’s what you’ll get with this recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies.

If you know me at all, you know I’m all about enticing my 18-month old to eat a healthy, balanced diet in any way I can. I’m no stranger to mixing vegetables and other superfoods into popsicles, muffins, pancakes and mac-and-cheese that she gobbles up on the regular. Now I’m proud to say I can add these Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies to my healthy homemade toddler food arsenal.

A tray of freshly baked Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies.

Not only are they chock full of healthy ingredients like peanut butter, bananas, oats and chia seeds, but I also love that they’re portable. This makes them the perfect on-the-go healthy breakfast for rushed mornings because, let’s face it, sometimes we just need to resort to that car seat breakfast.

There’s some other great news about these Breakfast cookies, too:
  1. They come together in under 30 minutes (baking time included),
  2. They’re extremely low on the Dish Density scale, and
  3. They’re freezer-friendly!

Simply mix all of the ingredients together in one bowl, scoop out even size amounts of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (saving on dishes wherever we can), and pop them into a preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. That’s all there is to it, folks!

An overhead shot of a stack of Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies on a wooden cutting board.

I think we all know by now how important it is to start our day off on the right foot nutrition-wise, but in case you forgot…

Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast for Kids

  • More energy
  • Improved alertness and concentration
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Improved memory and mood

You can read more about each of these benefits here.

Looking for More Healthy Breakfast Ideas?

You can find more healthy toddler breakfast ideas in this roundup of Easy Breakfast Recipes That Are Baby-Led Weaning Approved, and in my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.

A stack of Toddler-Approved Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies with a carafe of milk and bunch of bananas in the background.

What are your favorite breakfasts to feed your little ones? Let me know in the comments below!

Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies: Toddler-Approved!
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
18 mins
Total Time
28 mins
 

These Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies are the perfect treat for your toddler to kick off the
day on the right foot – he or she won’t even know they’re healthy!

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-led weaning, breakfast, cookies, gluten-free, kid-friendly, meal prep, oatmeal, toddler
Servings: 14 cookies
Calories: 138 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 3 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (optional)
Dishes:
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • 1/2 cup measure
  • Teaspoon
  • Cookie scoop or regular spoon
  • 2 cookie sheets (lined with parchment paper to prevent washing)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

  2. Place bananas in a medium mixing bowl and mash them up with a mixing spoon until no large chunks remain. Add all other ingredients to bowl and stir to combine.

  3. Using a cookie scoop or regular spoon, scoop out even mounds of dough (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving a bit of space in between so the cookies can spread as they bake.

  4. Using the back of your mixing spoon, lightly smash down each mound of dough.

  5. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cookies are set and lightly golden. Let cool at least 10 minutes before enjoying.

Recipe Notes

DISH DENSITY: Low

Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup

Zesty gluten-free Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes are topped with a homemade Blackberry Syrup in this easy recipe that’s sure to be a hit with the entire family. They’re perfect for special occasions but just as perfect for a lazy Sunday morning!

A stack of Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes topped with a homemade blackberry syrup.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co. As always, I only promote brands and products that I’m actually in love with! Thank you for continuing to support the folks that make CaliGirl Cooking possible <3

Are you ready for an utterly delicious, flavor-packed breakfast that’s as easy as pie to whip up?? I hope so, because today I’m sharing a recipe for Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup and it is going to knock. your. socks. off.

I’m so thrilled to once again be partnering with my friends at Sonoma Syrup Co. to bring you some tasty recipes throughout the year. If you haven’t yet tried their syrups, extracts and sauces, it’s simply a must! Their products are made with all-natural ingredients and can be used in a multitude of ways. For example, I’ve used them in cocktails like this Chico Cocktail and this Spiked Lavender Lemonade, non-alcoholic beverages like this Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Float and this Honey Citrus Detox Elixir, and let’s not forget all the baked goods. I’ve used them to make donuts, Bundt cakes, coffee cakes and more!

When they asked me to create another special treat just in time for Mother’s Day, I knew a recipe that would take brunch to the next level would be just the thing. I mean, isn’t Mother’s Day just one of those holidays where brunching is non-negotiable? I mean, I’ve only been at this mom thing for a couple of years, but it sounds pretty perfect to me.

Side view of a fluffy stack of Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes topped with a chunky blackberry syrup.

So, what makes these pancakes so special?

Well, let me tell you.

First off, you know I’m the last one to foray into the gluten-free baking world, but when there’s a tasty alternative like buckwheat flour involved, you don’t even miss the other stuff! Add some protein-packed almond meal and these pancakes have just gone from simply gluten-free to straight up POWER pancakes.

But we’re not stopping there. That’s right, we’re also adding in my favorite Meyer Lemon Infused Simple Syrup, some lemon zest AND a healthy serving of Sonoma Syrup’s Vanilla Bean Extract Crush (which – in case you were wondering – is basically vanilla extract on steroids with real vanilla bean seeds mixed in).

Do you see what I’m getting at here? These pancakes are seriously next-level.

Shall we keep it going? Let’s talk about this Blackberry Syrup. Super simple, super tasty, and the perfect contrast to those lemony pancakes. There are only three ingredients – two of which you most likely already have in your pantry – and it’s basically a “set-it-and-forget-it” deal. I love the chunkiness of this fresh syrup – the macerated blackberries add a whole other dimension to an already tasty dish.

Overhead view of Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes topped with a homemade blackberry syrup.

I love how these pancakes taste full-bodied and earthy, yet they’re actually quite tender and refreshing with all of the lemony vibes. The Blackberry Syrup might as well be the cherry on top – the robust tartness is the perfect contrast – and you may just end up making a second batch to drizzle on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

I’ll venture to guess that any mom would be more than happy to wake up to a big stack of Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes drizzled with Blackberry Syrup on Mother’s Day. It’s the perfect way to say thanks for being the amazing woman she is. In fact, if anyone wants to drop a hint to my hubby, I’d be ever so grateful 😉

A stack of Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup with a big wedge cut out of them.

Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes with Blackberry Syrup
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

Zesty gluten-free Lemon Vanilla Buckwheat Pancakes are topped with a homemade Blackberry Syrup in this easy recipe that’s sure to be a hit with the entire family. They’re perfect for special occasions but just as perfect for a lazy Sunday morning!

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: breakfast, brunch, gluten-free, lemon, Mother's Day, pancakes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 260 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the pancakes:
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Sonoma Syrup Co. Meyer Lemon Infused Simple Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Extract Crush
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Butter for griddle
For the syrup:
  • 12 ounces fresh blackberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon syrup, lemon juice, egg, milk and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the lemon zest. 

  3. Heat a griddle or large pan on the stove over medium heat. Add a small pat of butter – just enough to “grease” whatever pan you’re using. Once the griddle or pan is hot, use a 1/3 cup measuring scoop to scoop the batter onto the pan. Fit as many as you can on at once, but don’t overcrowd it. You need room to flip!

  4. Once the batter in the pan starts bubbling and setting up around the edges, flip the pancakes and cook a couple more minutes, until golden. Place on a baking sheet fitted with a rack (or directly on the oven rack) to keep warm while you cook the rest and make the syrup. Continue this process until all of the batter is used up.

  5. In a small saucepan, combine all syrup ingredients and bring to a heavy simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the blackberries begin to break down and the mixture has reduced and become thicker (more syrupy) in consistency. Drizzle over pancakes to serve. 

The BEST Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe

An easy, five-minute recipe featuring all of the festive flavors of classic eggnog in delicious, creamy, dairy-free oat milk. A healthier take on a typically indulgent treat!

This Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe uses oat milk as its base and is the perfect lightened up treat for the holidays!

If you’re a fan of eggnog but not all of the calories that come with it, this Dairy-Free Eggnog is going to change. your. life.

First, please tell me you’ve tried my new favorite milk alternative, oat milk. I’m the last person to ever be “dairy-free” (cheese and I are bosom buddies) but I’m also not one to shy away from other delicious milk options. Sure, almond milk is a classic go-to, but if you’ve never experienced the thick creaminess of oat milk, now is the time!

This Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe uses oat milk as its base and is the perfect lightened up treat for the holidays!

And when we’re making The BEST Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe, we want it to be just as thick and creamy as the original. Am I right? Well, I’m happy to report that this recipe will give you just that, plus tons of great flavor from a myriad of spices and even a little rum extract (and, if you like your eggnog spiked, feel free to use the real deal!)

The other great thing about this eggnog recipe? It comes together in wayyyy less time than traditional homemade eggnog. We’re talking throw-everything-in-a-blender-and-it’s-ready-in-5-minutes easy. Because who wants to wait hours to enjoy a delicious glass of frothy eggnog? Or perhaps an oat milk version of this Spiked Almond Milk Eggnog Hot Chocolate?

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure looking forward to having this recipe on hand over the next few weeks. It will sure be nice to have a lighter, healthier alternative to enjoy among all of the other cookies, cocktails, sweets and treats!

This Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe uses oat milk as its base and is the perfect lightened up treat for the holidays!

Do you have a favorite lightened-up holiday recipe? If so, tell me about it in the comments below!

The BEST Dairy-Free Eggnog Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
 

An easy, five-minute recipe featuring all of the festive flavors of classic eggnog in delicious, creamy, dairy-free oat milk. A healthier take on a typically indulgent treat!

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Drinks
Keyword: dairy-free, dessert, drinks, eggnog, holiday, oat milk, rum
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 356 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 cups oat milk (I prefer Oatly brand)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus additional for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Couple of handfuls of ice
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend on high until mixture is frothy but there are still some little chunks of ice left. 

  2. Pour into four glasses and sprinkle additional ground nutmeg over top of each one. Serve immediately.

Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins + Healthy Baby Snack Ideas

Having healthy snacks on hand is a must when you have a little one.  These Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are a great freezer-friendly option to have on hand at a moment’s notice, plus I’m sharing some of my other favorite healthy baby foods for snacking!

A tall stack of Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins leaning against a carafe of milk.

If you’re always on the lookout for simple, healthy snacks for your little ones, these Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are for you! In fact, they’re not just for your little ones, they’re also great for YOU. Healthy baby food that mamas and papas can also enjoy? Sign me up! These are sure to please even the pickiest eaters and, since they’re only sweetened with applesauce and made with whole grains, you don’t have to worry when your kids keep on going back for more.

As I mentioned in this Healthy Carrot Cake Pancake Recipe post, we opted to do baby-led weaning with our little one and she has shown no sensitivities to eggs, other dairy, gluten, etc. If your little one HAS shown sensitivities to any of these, obviously use your best judgment. Again, mother always knows best!

Freshly baked Pumpkin Carrot Muffins in a muffin tin.

These Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins are exactly what they say: super easy! I mean, if you know how to stir a spoon and you know how to operate an oven, you’re in good shape here. Just the kind of healthy snack we need when we have our hands full with young babes, am I right?

These muffins also happen to freeze well, so if you have a minute to bake some up this weekend, you’ll have the perfect healthy snack for your whole family for the next week (if you’re lucky.)

A Pumpkin Carrot Muffin broken in half, served next to a warm drink.

While we’re on the topic of healthy baby food, I thought it might be helpful if I share some more of my favorite make-ahead snacks that family members of all ages will enjoy.

Multigrain crackers with peanut butter

Quick tip: Make your own! Sometimes those pre-made ones you can buy at the store are full of random ingredients. Also, when buying peanut butter, always be sure to check the ingredients list and make sure that peanuts are the only ingredient. (This goes for all nut butters.)

String Cheese with sliced grapes

This is a great mix of protein and healthy carbs, and almost always a hit with the little ones.

veggie- and fruit-packed popsicles

I mean, what baby or kid turns down a popsicle?? Check out some fun baby-friendly popsicle recipes in my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.

Now, your turn to tell me: What are your favorite healthy baby foods?

And read on for my Healthy Pumpkin Carrot Muffin recipe!

Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins (Baby- and Kid-Friendly!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy-to-make muffin loaded with pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. Naturally sweetened with applesauce, these muffins are perfect for kids, babies and adults. A great on-the-go snack!

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Keyword: after-school, baby-friendly, breakfast, carrot, freezer-friendly, kid-friendly, muffin, naturally sweetened, pumpkin, snack
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 100 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup spiralized or grated carrot
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. 

  3. Add eggs, pumpkin, applesauce, milk and orange zest and stir until combined. Stir in carrot.

  4. Scoop batter evenly into prepared muffin tins and bake in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 

  5. Cool in muffin tins for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.