Maybe it’s the nostalgic feeling you get pulling freshly baked banana bread out of the oven, or perhaps it’s the wholesomeness of an activity that doesn't require a couch and a Netflix subscription, but baking seems to be the de rigeur activity for those of us looking for something a little different to do during iso.
And who could blame you? It’s comforting, delicious and harks back to simpler times, when the biggest concern you had was whether to serve it with tea or coffee (well, maybe life was never that simple, but you get the idea).
A quick search on Google and you’ll find hundreds of banana bread recipes, many of them filled with sugar (let’s be real, why not just call it cake?), and while we’re big advocates for ‘everything in moderation’, there’s no reason why you can’t make a few small changes to up the nutrients and celebrate the true hero of the dish - the humble but mighty banana.
WHAT MAKES THIS BANANA BREAD HEALTHY?
With many of us experiencing on and off periods of isolation, or working from home for the first time, it’s easy to find yourself grazing throughout the day. But we all know that snacking on the wrong foods in excess can be problematic. With that in mind, we’ve put together a recipe that’s not only fun and easy to make, but is also the perfect go-to treat throughout the week.
Our recipe has no sugar, healthier fats, and adds whole grains. Wholemeal flour retains the fibre found in wheat. This fibre is an important part of your diet, helping to keep you regular, control your blood sugar and ward off heart disease. We’ve also packed it full of nuts for a delicious nutty flavour.
Then there’s the banana. Bananas are a great source of complex carbohydrates and fibre, promoting good gut health and healthy blood sugar levels. They’re also a rich source of potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
WHAT BANANAS MAKE THE BEST LOAF
If you’ve got some old bananas that are starting to show some brown spots (or even turn completely brown/black), it’s time to bake banana bread. As the fruit becomes overripe, the starch converts into sugar, perfect for a tasty loaf. Got extra bananas that look like they’re about to turn? We like to freeze our overripe bananas - they keep really well in the freezer and are perfect for baking or popping into a smoothie. It’s a great way to reduce your food waste too.
CAN YOU MAKE BANANA BREAD WITHOUT SUGAR?
Yes! Our recipe calls for no sugar, and instead uses maple syrup to deliver the perfect amount of sweetness. Unlike refined sugar, maple syrup contains a number of minerals and antioxidants, which in moderation make it a fantastic substitute. And because we’ve used overripe bananas, which are naturally very sweet, you don’t have to add a whole lot of extra sugar or sweetener.
CAN I ADJUST THIS RECIPE TO MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE OR VEGAN?
Yep, it’s easy to tweak this recipe to make it gluten-free or vegan. For a gluten-friendly version, simply swap out the wholemeal flour for a gluten-free alternative. We also think this would work really well with almond or oat flour. Vegan? Swap out the eggs for flax eggs, a great egg alternative for baking (to make flax eggs, mix 1 tbsp flaxseed meal with 2.5 tbsp water).
CAN I ADD EXTRAS TO MY BANANA BREAD?
This is a versatile recipe. Throwing in some coarsely chopped dark chocolate or walnuts is a great way to mix things up. This is especially great if you bake banana bread regularly. Usually, we go for whatever is in the pantry! Experiment with different textures and flavours or chuck in some pumpkin seeds or blueberries for a nutritional boost.
So, without further ado, let's get baking!
DINEAMIC'S HEALTHY BANANA BREAD
- 5 tbsp maple syrup
- 370g very ripe banana, mashed (about 3 medium bananas)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 270g wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup walnuts, dark chocolate, raisins or almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170℃ fan-forced (190℃ conventional), grease and line an 11.5cm x 22cm loaf pan with baking paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Add the maple syrup, mashed banana, olive oil, eggs (or flax egg), vanilla extract and walnuts (or other addition of your choice).
- Use a wooden spoon to combine. For a light and fluffy banana bread, be careful not to over mix!
- Pour the batter into the pre-prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from the loaf pan, slice and dig in!
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
How did it go? Did you make any adjustments to the ingredients or method? Jump on Instagram to show us your photos or share a comment below!