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

Easy Breakfast Recipes that are Baby-Led Weaning Approved!

These easy breakfast recipes are all baby-led weaning approved, yet fitting for the whole family. Keep them on hand for delicious, nutritious meals to start your gang’s day off on the right foot.

Title graphic four Easy Breakfast Recipes That are Baby-Led Weaning Approved!

One of the best things about baby-led weaning is that you’re encouraged to feed your child whatever you’re eating, as long as you eat a balanced, healthy diet. This eliminates the need to always be making two (or more) dishes at every meal, thus saving you time and energy. Amen to that! That being said, there is definitely some transition time when your child is mastering the oral and manual skills needed to consume “normal” people food. This is when these family-friendly breakfast recipes come in!

These recipes are all baby-led weaning approved*, yet will satisfy your entire family, no matter what age. As an added bonus, many of them are make-ahead, which means you can whip them up when you have some extra time and freeze or refrigerate them until ready to use.

I’ve tried to cover a little bit of everything, so you’re sure to find something in this collection that your littles are totally in love with. And for more freezer-friendly baby breakfast recipes, be sure to check out my e-cookbook, 30 Freezer-Friendly Recipes for Babies and Toddlers.

Baby-Led Weaning Savoury Muffins
A plate of Savoury Breakfast Muffins adorned with cherry tomatoes.
My Gorgeous Recipes
Allergen-Friendly Sweet Potato Cookies
A tall stack of Allergen-Friendly Sweet Potato Cookies.
This Healthy Kitchen
Super Simple Pumpkin Carrot Muffins
A stack of pumpkin carrot muffins, plus one broken in half, in front of a small carafe of milk.
CaliGirl Cooking
Porridge Bites

by Mrs. Jones’s Kitchen

Strawberry Ricotta French Toast

by Mrs. Jones’s Kitchen

Potato Pancakes

 

A plate with three potato pancakes, topped with butter and served with a side of grapes.
Easy Baby Meals
Healthy Zucchini Muffins
Three Healthy Zucchini Muffins freshly pulled out of the pan.
Bowl of Delicious
Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal
A pan of fresh baked Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal with a piece cut out of it.
Haute and Healthy Living
Oat Milk Chia Pudding with Blueberry Orange Compote
Three jars of Oat Milk Chia Pudding topped with Blueberry Orange Compote on a wooden serving plank.
CaliGirl Cooking
Spinach Zucchini Frittata Fingers

 

A stack of Spinach Zucchini Frittata Fingers separated by parchment paper and a butler knife.
Haute and Healthy Living
Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes
A stack of Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes with a wooden zebra pull toy behind it.
CaliGirl Cooking
Strawberry Banana Chickpea Muffins
A freshly baked pan of Strawberry Banana Chickpea Muffins.
Bucket List Tummy

Do you have any baby-led weaning breakfast recipes that you turn to time and again?? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments below!

*This is a generalized statement. All babies develop certain skills at different ages, so use your best judgment or ask a doctor when deciding if your child is ready to consume any particular food. For more information on baby-led weaning, I recommend reading this book [*affiliate link] and visit my Baby-Led Weaning Resource Page [coming soon!]

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. 

Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes (Baby-Friendly!*)

With whole grains and naturally sweetened, these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes are the perfect make-ahead bite for you AND all the little ones in your life. Who doesn’t like carrot cake for breakfast?

These Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes (with no added sugar) are the perfect recipe for baby-led weaning, but all babies will enjoy them!

*This post is the first in a series of recipes I’ll be doing that ascribe to the philosophy of baby-led weaning, which is the method we have chosen to introduce solids to our little one. We’ve already tested her on all the potential allergens included in the ingredients (eggs, wheat, etc.) and she shows no sensitivity. Please use your discretion to decide if these recipes will be right for your babe. Mother always knows best!

All right mamas, you’ve been waiting so patiently and it’s finally here: my first baby-friendly recipe post! If you’re following me on my @caligirlkids (formerly @caligirlmomma) account, then you’ll know that we’ve been doing baby-led weaning with our little one. If you’re not familiar with baby-led weaning, the basic gist of it is trading in purees, mashes – your typical baby food – for solids and whole foods, essentially whatever you’re eating. You’re meant to allow your kid to explore, feed themselves and have a sense of autonomy about what they do and do not eat, which will (hopefully) set them up to be a more adventurous eater in the future.

We started our little one on solids shortly before she turned 6 months old, and it has been so fun watching her explore, try new things, learn how to chew and swallow, etc. She’s eaten curry-roasted squash, salmon, omelets, so many things. In fact, we have yet to find something she absolutely refuses to eat.

In the few months we’ve been doing baby-led weaning, one of my favorite things to make Raia is some sort of baked good with a hidden veggie inside. She loves grabbing on to pancakes, muffins, etc. because they are fairly easy for her to grasp, and I love the fact that she is getting a serving of vegetables at the same time (and, let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t love carbs?)

You won't be able to keep little hands off of these baby-friendly Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes!

The only thing I have NOT loved about the “hidden veggie” method is the fact that you usually have to roast or steam the vegetable before you blend up the batter and, quite honestly, I usually don’t have time for that! So when I had a bunch of leftover carrots sitting in the refrigerator, rather than turning on the oven or stove, I decided to grate them and then throw them into the batter.

Since babies are more sensitive to sodium than adults, I never add salt to Raia’s baked goods (or really anything I make her, for that matter.) Instead, I get creative with herbs and spices. For these Carrot Cake Pancakes, for example, I added the OG spices clove, nutmeg and cinnamon.

These Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes are easy to make and perfect for baby-led weaning. They're freezer friendly and super healthy!

I’m also really cognizant of how much sugar goes into everything I bake her. Banana and unsweetened applesauce are always great ways to add a touch of sweetness without too much added sugar, but in this particular case I opted to use some unsweetened apple butter we had sitting in the refrigerator. Finally, eggs and just a couple of tablespoons of flour (whole wheat, oat or almond would all work) bind everything together.

I love how every ingredient of these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes is just thrown into a blender and poured directly into the baking pan. Once baked, I often throw all of the goodies into the freezer and defrost as needed to cut down on food waste. It’s also great to have a stash of different things to choose from.

Make a batch of these Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes the next time you do food prep and you'll have healthy kids' snacks for the rest of the week!

I’ve got a lot more baby-friendly recipes coming your way soon but, in the meantime, if you have any questions or special requests, shoot me an email or leave them in the comments below!

Healthy Carrot Cake Pancakes (Baby-Friendly!)
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 mins
Total Time
18 mins
 

These healthy pancakes are every child's dream. They taste just like carrot cake but use only whole grains and have no added sugar - the perfect breakfast or snack for babies and adults alike!

Course: Breakfast
Keyword: baby-friendly, baby-led weaning, carrots, healthy, pancakes
Servings: 6 pancakes
Calories: 58 kcal
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour (whole wheat, oat or almond)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Unsalted butter for the pan
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients (except butter) in a blender and blend on high until everything is combined. 

  2. Melt a small pat of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted and pan is hot, ladle in the batter to make silver dollar size pancakes.

  3. Cook pancakes over medium heat until edges begin to set, then flip and cook until batter is no longer runny. 

  4. If you are working in batches, add another pat of butter when you start a new round.

  5. Enjoy!