Banana Walnut Bread
If you’ve noticed a theme in my blog posts of late, it’s been an increasing number of healthy low sugar baking recipes. Whilst I do love a good raw dessert, and you can find a number of my recent ones here, there’s nothing quite like the delicious warming smells of fresh baking coming from the oven. Especially as we wing our way into winter here in the southern hemisphere.
Despite the plethora of healthier cafes cropping up serving more salads and vegetarian based fare, there still don’t seem to be many (if any) filling our bellies with good quality healthy baking. Yes, you can find gluten free friands and paleo almond flour cakes aplenty, but most of these items are still very high in sugar, and so are things I’d put more in the dessert rather than breakfast/morning tea category.
I’ve had a healthy banana bread recipe on my to do list for months now, and am excited to share this version with you today, after a number of trials and tribulations. This one ticks all the boxes, has a tried and tested wholefood-gluten free option, and is made a little bit fancy with the addition of creamy crunchy walnuts. It’s very low in total sugars, and only uses ones from wholefood sources (bananas and dates). My hope thus being that you’re able to enjoy it for breakfast as well as morning or afternoon tea, without feeling like you’re eating a slice of cake. Which by the way, most banana breads you buy at cafes or find online really are – cake. Don’t think I don’t love cake now (I do!), it’s just not my preferred recommendation for you to kick start your day with. This though, go for it!
Go Bananas for bananas…
For today’s nutritional tidbit, I couldn’t resist but to talk about bananas. These lovely yellow half moons are grown in over 100 different countries, but are largely concentrated around the equatorial belt where temperatures are warmest. In particular, South America, Asia, and Australia are big producers, and I’ve been told even certain parts of New Zealand have a few fruit-laden palms about. Given the countries where the majority of bananas come from, it’s really important to always purchase fair trade, as the standard ones don’t provide the growers with enough of an income to provide for themselves and their families. In New Zealand, I always choose All Good Bananas, a lovely locally owned business who source their bananas from a fair trade cooperative in Ecuador. They’re also certified organic (no sprays or pesticides), and they taste fabulous.
Bananas also pack a serious nutritional punch. 100g of these beauties (one small banana) contains over 10% of your daily fibre requirements, almost 20% of your vitamin C RDI (recommended daily intake), over 30% of your daily vitamin B6 needs, and are low in overall sugar at 12%. Vit C is one of the best antioxidants around, which helps offset free radical damage and aging in the body, while B6 is needed to help us produce energy from the food we eat. Compared to an apple, bananas also have three times the potassium, five times the folate and almost seven times the manganese.
So why do bananas get a bad rap at times? Two reasons – firstly, they are slightly more energy dense than other fruits, and secondly they have a higher GI (glycemic index). Energy density however merely reflects the fact that they have a lower water content than other fruits, for example bananas are 75% water vs apples at 86%. Glycemic indices meanwhile are often misinterpreted, as it is glycemic load (how much carbohydrate the food actually contains) which is important. While the GI of a banana is 62 and an apple is 39, the glycemic load (GL) of a 100g serving of each is in fact is 13 and 5 respectively. Ie not as much difference as you’d first think, and both pretty attractive compared to the same quantity of white bread’s GL of 50.
Back to our recipe, this delicious Banana and Walnut Bread is super easy to make, you only need one bowl and a blender, and makes the perfect wintery alternative for breakfast. Spread it with coconut butter (my easy homemade version is here) or nut butter, topped with raspberry chia jam or sliced bananas and cinnamon. Or go simple with a thick slick of organic peanut butter and a tiny drizzle of coconut nectar for some decadence. You’ll quickly be convinced that baked goods can indeed be healthy options for breakfast again.
Want more baked goodies?
Give this lovely Banana Walnut Bread recipe a go, and let me know how you get one. Leave a comment below or tag me in your pics on Instagram with @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do and can’t wait for it to make a foray on your family’s breakfast table!
Til next week, stay happy and well.
Banana Walnut Bread
- 3 c wholemeal flour (see blend ideas below)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 5 over ripe bananas ~4c
- 1/2 c plant-based milk
- 1/3 c olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1/2 c dates
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 c walnuts
- Pre-heat oven to 170°C (340°F) on fan bake and line or lightly grease a loaf tin.
- Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.
- Blend wet ingredients in a blender until smooth, then pour into the dry. Lift and fold the mixture until almost combined, then add your walnuts and stir through – you want a few flour flecks to remain. Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and spread gently to the corners.
- Bake at the bottom of your oven for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out dry in the middle – keep the loaf covered for the first half hour so it doesn't become too brown, then uncover the top for the last 15 minutes.
- Remove, slice and serve warm, or let cool on a rack.
- Make it gluten free: I used the following gluten free flour blends both with success: 1c buckwheat flour, 1c brown rice flour and 1c tapioca flour. OR 1 ½ c buckwheat flour, 1 ½ c brown rice flour, 2 tsp guar gum.
- Make it nut free: Use pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds instead of walnuts.
- I often also replace one or all of these flours with oats (not GF, but delicious) – you can make oat flour in your food processor by grinding up whole oats until fine.
- Sifting is important! It gives air to your mixture and will help your banana bread to rise.
- The riper your bananas the better as they add a natural sweetness – brown and bruised all over is what you’re going for (the ones on special no-one else wants!).
- Be sure not to over mix your wet and dry, only mix until there are still a few flour flecks left, and use a lift and fold technique to keep air bubbles in the mix.
- You can either line a regular tin, or use a silicon loaf tin – just pick a good quality BPA free brand.
- Baking at the bottom of the oven and covering the tin means your loaf top won’t become too brown – this will depend on your oven, so start with a low placement and test with a skewer at 45 minutes to see how things are going, you can always bake for a further 10 minutes if needed.
- Thanks to these particular gluten free flour blends I’ve used here, this loaf can be sliced and enjoyed straight out of the oven while still warm, it won’t crumble at all – unlike many gluten free baked goods.
- Serve with my homemade coconut butter or nut butter, raspberry chia jam, sliced banana and cinnamon, or any other nut butter.