Recipe ReDux: Stick with Maple Syrup – an easy, nutritious “French toast” recipe

The snow has receded, the sun has come out, and the temperatures are headed up (this week, insanely so). These few weeks in the very earliest part of New England’s spring are the time to forget any lingering bitterness about a dreary winter and tap into a natural source of sweetness.

Tapped sugar maples just around the corner from our house

The sunny sides of sugar maples yield a sap that when boiled down (in something like a 40-to-1 ratio) creates a fantastic amber treat: maple syrup. The process is explained nicely by the Boston Globe.

Photo by Clampants (aka Mr. Eating The Week) on flickr

To celebrate this seasonal bounty, we Recipe ReDuxers are “Sticking with Maple Syrup Sweetness” for our March theme. There are myriad ways to add this natural sweetness to meals, and I already had a simple breakfast recipe that mimics the flavors of French toast using maple syrup, cooked barley and a hard-boiled egg. But I decided to add in a few more healthy ingredients – banana and walnut – to really bring it up to Recipe ReDux standards. The result: banana walnut “French toast” barley:

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s a cinch to throw together in the morning; but does require some prep the day before. I make the barley and eggs, store them in the fridge and have 2-4 days’ worth of breakfast on hand (depending on whether Mr. Eating The Week has some).

Banana walnut French toast barley (text file here)

To cook the barley, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup of barley. Bring back to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. This will make four ¾-cup servings of cooked barley; store them in the fridge.

To cook the hard-boiled eggs, put 4 eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes to de-chill a little. Put them in a sauce pan and pour in just enough water to cover them all. Put the pan on high heat and bring to a boil. Let the eggs boil briefly (about 1 minute), then remove the pan from heat and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. Drain the hot water and cover the eggs with cool water. Let them sit about 5 minutes, drain, store in the fridge.

(1 serving, approx. 410 calories)

¾ cup barley, cooked
1 hardboiled egg, sliced
1 Tbs maple syrup
½ banana, sliced
1/8 cup walnut pieces

Top the barley with the egg slices, maple syrup, banana slices and walnuts. Microwave on high for ½-1 minute, depending on the strength of your microwave, and enjoy. If the browning of the banana after heating will make it unappealing for you, just set that aside and toss on top after microwaving everything else.

While you’re making this recipe, you certainly could be tempted to just drink that sticky sweetness all by itself.

Sampling during a Maple Sugar Tour at Ipswich River Wildlife Reservation

But I’d suggest you enjoy maple syrup together with some nutritious foods, like those featured in this month’s recipes from the foodie dietitians of the Recipe Redux:

13 Responses to Recipe ReDux: Stick with Maple Syrup – an easy, nutritious “French toast” recipe

  1. I found some barley in my pantry and this would be a good way to use it! Being from New England, I also LOVE maple syrup.

    • Another favorite of mine is a little maple syrup on a microwave-baked sweet potato – quick, easy & sweet lunch item.

  2. Love this idea…a deconstructed french toast! Perfect for any morning.

    • THANK you – “deconstructed” is the word I’ve been searching for, but my brain just couldn’t call it up. This is also perfect for lunch when, say, the light for food photography is better ;)

  3. I am sooooo curious about the boiled eggs with the banana. Very unique.

    • If you’re the kind of breakfast eater who works the maple syrup around your whole plate, coating the waffles, bacon, eggs, & anything else, then I bet you’ll like it! But I won’t tell if you decided to go sans banana.

  4. I love that you have tapped maples just around the corner – so cool. Love the idea of barley in the morning and this recipe looks like it would hit the spot.

    • I’d forgotten that those neighbors tap their trees each year, then happened to notice them on a morning run recently. Perfect photo op!

  5. Never thought of barley for breakfast…what a great idea! Love your photos of New England sugaring season. Did you see my post on visiting sugar shacks when we lived in Boston? I posted last week…you GOTTA go!! (:

    • It’s such a cool part of living in this area! Not too many Hoosiers tapping trees for maple syrup when I was growing up ;)

  6. I love french toast and I love the twist on it with barley. Barley is actually a grain that my husband loves so this would be a fun one to try! Thanks!

  7. Showing my southern roots I’ll confess that I’ve never actually seen any part of mapling. Sad, right?

    Love that you chose barley… we overlook it too much!

  8. Barley is such an underutilized food. Yet, it is so healthy and low cost. Glad to see you use it for breakfast. Combined with eggs, bananas, and maple syrup, it’s sure to be a hit.

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