This is a vegan, Italian twist to my grandmas midwestern recipe that my family has enjoyed over the holidays for years. It’s hearty, flavorful, and comforting– perfect for a cold weather feast!
Grandma’s (Vegan) Tomato Bread Pudding
1-pound loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (~10 cups)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, plus more for greasing the baking dish
3 cloves garlic, divided use, 1 finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Anita’s coconut yogurt
3 fresh plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 to 6 ounces vegan cheese, shredded (I like Daiya farmhouse cheese blocks- Jack Style), to your liking
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350° F and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil.
Smash one of the cloves of garlic and add it, along with the 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a big pinch of salt, to a large pan over medium heat. Add half the bread cubes and sauté until crispy and golden. Pour the toasted bread cubes and garlic into the baking dish. Repeat with another garlic clove, 2 more tablespoons olive oil, the remaining bread cubs, and a big pinch of salt. Once crispy and golden, pour half of the bread cubes and the garlic into the baking dish. Reserve the remaining toasted bread cubes.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, celery, chopped garlic, and pinch of salt and pepper, and sauté until the onions are translucent. Stir in the diced tomatoes and brown sugar, and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut yogurt.
Pour the tomato mixture into the baking dish over the bread cubes. Top evenly with the remaining bread cubes, crumbling them with your hands, then the sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with the vegan cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and place under the broiler until golden, watching carefully to avoid burning the cheese. Rest five minutes before serving warm, with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.