This vegan savoury bread pudding is an excellent cold weather filler. You can use whatever vegetables you have to hand and it’s a good recipe for using up stale bread. Here’s a tasty version using butternut squash and sage.
Bread pudding is both a homely British dish and a traditional Italian one, where it’s referred to as strata. It’s basically bread baked in an egg custard with whatever other bits and pieces you have that are in need of using up. Usually this is a combination of vegetables and cheese.
Vegan Savoury Bread Pudding
For this vegan version, I’m using chickpea flour and black salt instead of eggs, and nutritional yeast instead of cheese. It works really well.
If you have any leftover roasted or cooked veg, you can use that and omit an entire process from this recipe. However, I’ve gone with a squash and sage version which is cooked entirely from scratch.
Squash and sage make fabulous bed fellows. It’s my favourite herb to use with winter squash as you can see in this roasted squash with sage side dish.
You don’t need a lot of hands on time for this recipe, but the various stages involved does mean it takes quite a bit of time from start to finish. So start a couple of hours before your mealtime.
Five Stage Process
It’s a five stage process, which involves, cooking onion and squash, whisking up a batter, cutting and arranging bread, resting the pudding prior to baking and then the actual time in the oven.
Stage One: Cook the Veg
You’ll need around fifteen minutes to cook the onions and butternut squash chunks. I do this in a frying pan, which I find the easiest and least fussy way.
Fry the onions in olive oil for a couple of minutes, then add the squash and cook for a further twelve minutes or until the squash is tender, but still firm. You’ll need to toss the squash a couple of times to make sure the chunks are cooked on all sides.
Add the chopped sage to the pan about ten minutes after adding the onions. It only needs a few minutes to cook, but a little time is needed for it to impart its flavour.
Give it all a good stir, before piling over the bread. See stage three for this.
Stage Two: Make the Batter
The batter is ever so easy to make, it’s just a case of whisking the wet ingredients into the dry ones. It takes all of two minutes.
In order to veganise the standard egg mixture that you’d normally use, my go to is chickpea flour. It’s wonderful stuff. You can make it as thick or as thin as you like. This means it works equally well as a vegan omelette as it does in this bread pudding “custard”.
Chickpea flour is quite easy to get hold of these days. Most supermarkets stock it; health food and whole food shops definitely will. If you’re lucky enough to have an Indian shop near you, however, that’s probably the best place to go. It’s likely to be cheaper and you can get it in larger quantities.
Indian shops are also a good place to buy black salt, known as kala namak. This is Himalayan pink salt that’s fired to produce a deep purple smoky salt with an eggy flavour. This is not an essential ingredient in this vegan savoury bread pudding, but it helps.
I also like to add a little turmeric to give the “custard” a good yellow colour. It’s also a way of getting a little extra nutrition in to the meal. Turmeric has many benefits, but it’s particularly known for its anti-inflammatory qualities.
For the cheese element, I add nutritional yeast. It’s the vegan’s best friend as it gives cheesy umami notes to whatever you’re making.
When it comes to the liquid, you don’t need milk to make this batter. All chickpea flour needs is water. I told you it was good stuff.
Stage Three: Arrange the Bread
A good firm wholemeal loaf is best for this vegan savoury bread pudding. you want something that can hold up to a wet batter without disintegrating. Whilst sourdough is nice and firm, it’s not ideal in this instance as it’s a) not as absorbent and b) has too many holes in it.
Once you’ve chosen the dish you’re going to use to bake the pudding in, slice the bread and cut it into squares or triangles. I find triangles work better in a round dish and squares in a rectangular or square one.
For this recipe you’ll need a medium sized oven proof dish that’s not too deep. A gratin dish is ideal. Oil it, then cover the bottom with half of the bread slices. Try to fill any gaps as best you can.
Pile in the cooked veg and level. Then top with the remaining bread slices. Pour the “custard” over the bread.
Alternatively, you can go another route entirely. Cut the bread into cubes of about two to three centimetres (one inch) and mix them up with the veg. Scrape everything into the cooking dish, then pour over the batter.
Stage Four: Rest the Pudding
Once you’ve poured the “custard” over the bread and vegetables, it’s best to leave it for thirty minutes to allow it to soak in properly. Whilst this is not essential, it gives a spongier texture to the finished dish.
If you want to top the pudding with tomato slices, do it after it’s rested.
Stage Five: Bake the Pudding
Chickpea flour is rather bitter and actually quite unpleasant in its raw state. This means you want to make sure your vegan savoury bread pudding is well cooked. It only needs a moderate heat, but will need thirty minutes as a bare minimum in the oven. I bake mine for forty minutes.
When it’s ready, it should be brown and crusty on top, but definitely not burnt, so keep an eye on it.
Serve with green leafy veg or a green salad.
Vegetables To Use Instead of Squash
Savoury bread puddings are a great way to have a fridge clear out or use up any leftover veg or stale bread you might have lying around.
If you have leftover roasted veg, you can omit stage one and just use what you have instead.
Other vegetables that work well in this vegan savoury bread pudding include:
- sweet peppers with thyme or oregano
- red, orange or yellow peppers with spinach, chard or kale
- courgettes, sweet peppers and oregano
- asparagus and tarragon
- mushrooms and leeks with sage
- chard and mushrooms
- cauliflower or broccoli florets
Vegan Savoury Bread Pudding: Optional Extras
I’m a great believer in having a good basic recipe that you can adapt to suit your mood or occasion. I make savoury bread pudding quite a lot, but I rarely make it in exactly the same way.
Here are a few ideas to change up this vegan savoury bread pudding and make it your own.
- Add a clove or two of finely chopped or grated garlic along with the sage.
- Whisk in a teaspoon of dry mustard powder into the chickpea flour. Or alternatively, add a teaspoon of ready made mustard to the batter along with the water and vinegar.
- Swap the turmeric for a teaspoon of smoked paprika.
- Add half a teaspoon or more of hot sauce to the chickpea batter. My chilli sauce is a good one to use for this.
- Swap the sage for fresh herbs of your choice. Thyme, parsley, rosemary, marjoram or oregano are all good.
Other Winter Squash Recipes You Might Like
- Almond & squash cake
- Quinoa bowl with roasted squash
- Red pepper & squash soup
- Roasted squash with sage and hazelnuts in brown butter
- Squash, chilli and chard feta pasties
- Squash pizza with walnuts & goat’s cheese
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this vegan savoury bread pudding, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate the recipe. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more vegan recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Vegan Savoury Bread Pudding. PIN IT.
Vegan Savoury Bread Pudding – The Recipe
Vegan Savoury Bread Pudding
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion peeled, cut in half and sliced
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 medium butternut squash weighing about 700g whole and 450g of flesh peeled, seeded and gutted
- 8 sage leaves finely chopped
- 6 slices wholemeal bread
- 125 g chickpea flour
- ½ tsp black salt aka kala namak
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- good grinding of black pepper
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 600 g water
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- 2-3 tomatoes – sliced (optional)
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the onion slices and salt.
- Stir and fry for a couple of minutes or until the onions are translucent.
- Cut the squash flesh into rough 2½ cm (1 inch) chunks and add to the pan.
- Cook stirring occasionally for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the squash is just tender and slightly caramelised.
- After the first five minutes, add the sage.
- Whilst the squash is cooking, oil a medium sized round, square or oblong ovenproof dish. Cut the bread slices into four squares or triangles. Triangles are easier for round dishes. Line the bottom of your dish with half of the bread slices.
- In a large bowl whisk the chickpea flour, black salt, bicarbonate of soda, turmeric, pepper and nutritional yeast together. Add the water and vinegar and whisk again until you have a smooth batter.
- Cover the bread with the squash mixture, then top with the remaining bread slices.
- Pour the batter over the top and leave for at least 30 minutes for the bread to soak up the batter.
- Preheat the oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan, 350℉, Gas 4).
- Decorate with sliced tomatoes if wished and bake for 40 minutes.
- Allow to rest for five minutes, then serve.
I’m sharing this recipe for vegan squash bread pudding with The Peachicks Bakery for #CookBlogShare.