FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:
1. Use a knife to make a slit lengthwise down the side of the vanilla bean. You don’t want to cut it in half, just split it open. Use the knife to scrape out the tiny seeds. Place the seeds in a large shallow bowl or baking dish.
2. Add the dairy-free milk, coconut milk, flour, maple syrup, arrowroot, vanilla extract, and salt. Stir until combined.
3. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Place a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Set aside.
4. Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Spray the pan generously with cooking spray. Dip 1 or 2 slices of bread (depending on how many will fit in your pan) in the milk mixture and soak for 10 to 15 seconds on each side. Place the slices in the pan and cook until golden and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the cooling rack and place the baking tray in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, respraying the pan each time before adding new slices
5. To make the strawberry sauce: combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
6. If you want, slice the pieces of toast in half diagonally before serving. To serve, place two slices of bread (or four halves) on a plate, topped with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream (if using), a scoop of strawberry sauce, and if you desire, a light dusting of powdered sugar. Sprinkle with a few sliced almonds and serve.