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Filling your meals with nourishing foods that bring you joy can help you live a longer, more fulfilling life. Dietitians agree!

Who else agrees? Chefs and culinary experts—particularly Jess Damuck, the recipe developer, food stylist, and author of Salad Freak and her sparkly new cookbook, Health Nut. Damuck’s recipes are eye candy at its sweetest, but rest assured that the 100 delicious dishes that fill the pages of Health Nut are approachable, adaptable, and endlessly comforting.

One of Damuck’s favorite breakfast recipes in the book? Her orange-scented tahini toast—and after seeing its ooey-gooey layers of challah covered in coconut cream and tahini, we had zero reason to ask why.

The inspiration behind Health Nut’s tahini french toast recipe

When making French toast, the base ingredients your bread loves to sponge up are are eggs, milk or cream, and a hint of spice. Damuck’s toast recipe includes the classic trio—but to kick things up a notch, she adds the fresh flavors of zesty orange, creamy coconut, and nutty tahini. The result is brekkie bliss.

So, how did Damuck dream up this heavenly concoction, otherwise known as a creamy coconut- and orange-infused French toast coated with a generous amount of tahini and honey? According to her, the pristine vibes of the Mediterranean are to blame. “My friend Lonut came to visit me in Los Angeles right after coming back from Greece, where he’d been eating toast slathered with tahini and honey every morning for breakfast. He gifted me some really beautiful, citrusy Greek honey from his time in Greece, and it inspired this recipe,” Damuck says. “[I think of it as] a more decadent version of the dish.”

For what it’s worth, protein-packed tahini and honey are a toast-topping match made in heaven on their own—but Damuck explains that the citrus twist and creamy coconut kick the flavors in this recipe into high gear. “The coconut cream is so rich, and I love the mild tropical flavor it brings to the dish. Then the orange zest is what gives it that bright zing no matter what variety of honey you’re using,” she says.

“The coconut cream is so rich, and I love the mild tropical flavor it brings to the dish. Then the orange zest is what gives it that bright zing no matter what variety of honey you’re using.”
—Jess Damuck, recipe developer, food stylist, author of Health Nut

Damuk’s smart (and toasty) tips for making this recipe

Celebrate the season’s finest

Because this French toast recipe is virtually foolproof, Damuck says that it’s open to interpretation—and food allergies, fruit preferences, and so on. None of your favorite sumo citrus avail at Trader Joe’s this month? All good: Damuck says it’s a great opportunity to improvise and use whatever produce is in season. “I haven’t tried it, but lime zest in replace of orange zest could work well with the coconut. And for summer, I’d recommend using tart berries that are in season,” she says.

Prioritize a long soak-in-custard session

Breakfast time usually means feeding a ravenous crowd. Damuck says one great way to save time—and food waste—is by using stale bread (instead of making challah bread from scratch, as the original recipe suggests). “Using stale bread helps save some time, and you can do any other prep you need to do for the dish—or make yourself a cup of coffee—while it soaks [in the coconut-orange egg mixture],” Damuck says.

Keep in mind, the only way to achieve that pillowy-soft French toast texture is to give the bread ample time to soak up the custardy goodness. A little patience goes a long way, folks.

You can make it vegan-friendly

Finally, w

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