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Recipe: The Ultimate Plant-Based Fakon Croque Monsieur From Frank’s

Since opening their doors in 2016, Frank’s has become an institution in Cheltenham for locals. With its stylish eats (and drinks), some of the most friendly staff you will ever meet and the best cold brew in Melbourne, this cafe has become a haven for those who like to unwind with great coffee.  In the kitchen, you will find Head chef Eli Faye (ex-head pastry chef at Tommy Collins) whose menu has Asian and French influences, while putting together some great vegan dishes.  Try the Tofu Vegan Scramble for something warm or you can enjoy the granola chia pudding with peach foam, strawberries and kiwi. 

When we spoke with Eli, he had always wanted to make a plant-based version of the Croque Monsieur. A hot sandwich made with ham and cheese that originated in France in the early 1900’s as a quick snack. The key to the perfect Croque Monsieur is the bechamel and the cheese sauce.  Of which Eli has perfected to the point where even he couldn’t tell the difference between a plant-based version and not. 

Now it’s time for you to try it yourself. 

The Ultimate Fakon Croque Monsieur

Serves 2 (Bechamel will serve 4)

Ingredients
For the sandwich
  • 4 slices from a white sourdough or crusty white
  • olive oil
  • 100g Hello Friend Foods Cheese Sauce
  • 8 slices of Poper Foods Bacon Style Slices
  • 100g Nature’s Kitchen Vegan Cheddar
For the béchamel sauce
  • 60g plain flour
  • 45g Nuttlex
  • 120g Hello Friend Foods Cheese Sauce
  • 20g Olive Oil
  • 180g Oat Milk
  • salt & pepper
Method

The Bechamel Sauce (most important part)

  1. Roux – Make the roux by melting the nuttlex, then adding the flour and olive oil. Cook this on low heat for 3 minutes. You want the mixture to become a very light brown but not golden. 
  2. Cheese & Milk – In a separate pot, bring the Cheese Sauce and Oat milk to a light boil. You are looking for the first sign of bubbles, then you are done. Make sure you are whisking this together the entire time. 
  3. Add Cheese & Milk Mixture – Pour in half the hot cheese mixture while stirring constantly and then continue to add slowly and whisk. You need to incorporate this slowly to ensure no lumps in your bechamel sauce. 

  4. Thicken The Sauce – Lightly cook while whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to spread. It should only take a few minutes to reach this consistency. 

    Once done, take it off the stove and set aside until required. 

Constructing the Croque Monsieur

  1. Take your first piece of bread and add a thick spread of Béchamel Sauce;

  2. Place 4 slices of cheddar on top or whatever fits. 

  3. Add your vegan ham and ensure it all fits on the sandwich;

  4. Take your other slice of bread and thickly spread the Cheese Sauce; and

  5. Close the sandwich.

  6. Drizzle olive oil over the top and bottom of the sandwich ready for cooking. 

Cooking

  1. Pan-fry the sandwich in a saucepan with added olive oil;

  2. You want both sides to be toasted before taking it out of the pan and opening the sandwich up.

  3. Place on a tray and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 170C.

  4. Remove from the oven and put your sandwich back together and slice in half.

Now all you have to do is pop it on a plate and dig into this incredible creation. Oozy, cheesy goodness and all vegan!

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