When I asked over on Facebook a while back what recipes you’d most like to see healthy versions of, lots of you commented back with a resounding – Banoffee Pie! And it’s no wonder. The combination of sweet banana, gooey caramel, rich chocolate and luscious cream is enough to make any food-lover swoon.
So I set about making a healthier version that would still draw on those same flavour elements, but without leaving you feeling heavy or bloated afterwards. Most recipes tend to be a bit too rich and sweet (even some of the raw ones), so whilst they taste good the first few bites, by the time you get to the end you’re thinking, hmm – maybe I should’ve ordered the fruit! These Mini Banoffee Pies instead are…
- Light and fresh
- Full of flavour
- Vegan, dairy free, wheat free and refined sugar free
- Low in gluten and total sugars
- Rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids
- Packed with plant-powered protein
- Studded with anti-aging antioxidants
- Super cute to make
- The perfect little dessert treats (for kids and adults too)
- Freeze brilliantly
- Will leave you dancing on the tabletops afterwards
Plus I’ve made a fun new VIDEO to show you how! Click the button above to watch the vid, and if you like it, I’d LOVE for you to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Meanwhile, let’s get on with that recipe…
As well as the classic flavours of banana, caramel, chocolate and cream, I’ve also added some extra super powers to these Banoffee Pies. Chia seeds in the biscuit base, and maca powder in the base and caramel.
Chia – an omega 3 and protein powerhouse
Chia seeds are one of my favourite sources of omega 3 essential fatty acids, and by blitzing them up, we’re making those valuable omegas even more bioavailable. As with all foods, nutrient profiles can vary between sources and manufacturers, but these ones I’ve used from BioBalance contain an impressive 3.2g of omega 3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA) per 20g serve (just over a tablespoon). This is almost triple the daily adequate intake recommendations of 0.8g for women and 1.3g for men, so a great way to get your daily dose.
ALA is the parent fatty acid of the omega 3 series, and can also be found in large quantities in foods like linseeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. ALA has been shown to be protective against cardiovascular disease, and is also the precursor to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the two longer chain omega 3’s often found in fish. These two omegas have been found to play an important role in the structural integrity of our nervous tissue, and have anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Fish develop this EPA and DHA from consuming ALA containing algae, and then converting it into EPA and DHA in their bodies. We humans, in a healthy state, have the complete capacity to do exactly the same.
Chia seeds are also one of the few plant foods which contain a full spectrum of essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. All plant foods contain amino acids, but not the full selection found in mammal flesh (as these animals have already consumed the plants, then combined the various aminos in their bodies to make a full set). It used to be thought that you needed to consume certain foods together at the same meal (i.e. lentils and brown rice), in order to achieve a ‘complete protein’. However that original theory has since been debunked (incidentally, by the woman who originally proposed it!). It is now well known that as long as you eat a variety of different foods (legumes/beans, nuts/seeds and whole grains) across the week, you can easily achieve complete amino balance. Nevertheless, it’s still helpful to know that with chia seeds you’re getting all your aminos in a single tasty bite. Bite of banoffee pie that is.
The other thing I love about chia is they expand when combined with liquid, so in this recipe will help our bases set once we pop them in the fridge.
Maca – hormone balance, iron and protein to boot
Maca root meanwhile has been used for thousands of years in South American countries like Peru, for hormonal balance, energy and fertility. It’s also an incredible source of iron, with 2.2mg per teaspoon, not far below a 100g steak at 2.9mg! Given the iron in maca, like other plants, is non-heme, it’s best to consume it either with vitamin C containing foods (ie have some capsicum and brocolli with your dinner before hand), or at least not with black tea, whose tannins can inhibit absorption. Another great benefit of maca, that’s not well known, is it has a really high protein content of 36g per 100g, compared again to our steak at 20%.
Maca has a wonderful earthy flavour, so gives these bases a delicious malt biscuit type feel. I’ve also added it to our filling as its nutty flavour goes beautifully with caramel. Together with the bananas, chocolate, and coconut, the flavour combo is just divine.
I’ve used these wonderful certified organic chia seeds and maca powder from BioBalance, a New Zealand owned company based in sunny Nelson. It’s really important when you’re sourcing products from overseas, particularly from more developing countries like South America where chia and maca are from, that you make sure you buy certified organic whenever you can.
Organic certification has stringent requirements in place to ensure that you are not only getting a high quality product that’s free of pesticides and chemicals, but that the communities involved in growing and harvesting those ingredients are paid a fair and reasonable wage they can live on. It also means optimal and sustainable treatment of the environment where those foods are grown. The two certification bodies to look for in New Zealand are AsureQuality (which is what BioBalance is certified under) and BioGro. Products which are certified will have one of their certification logos on their packaging. Overseas you want to look for Australian Certified Organic, USDA Organic, or EU Organic logos.
I hope you love these Mini Banoffee Pies, and thanks for watching the video! If you like it, I’d LOVE for you to give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my YouTube channel here. I’ve got another bunch of amazing recipe videos to share with you soon, so I’d love for you to see them too.
If you make these cutie-pies, I’d love to hear how you go – leave me a comment below, post a picture or comment on my Facebook page here, or tag me on Instagram @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics – I always love hearing from you!
Meanwhile, we’re off to Matarangi beach in the Coromandel for the weekend. I’ll be interspersing beach walks and sand castles with finishing off a final nutrition research paper for the year. And am quietly hoping to have our first sea swim of the summer too. Let’s hope the sun’s out for us!
Hope you have something equally lovely planned – and til next week, stay happy and well.
PS If you like this recipe, pin it on Pinterest, share it on Facebook or Twitter, or post it to Instagram. And if you’re not already subscribed to my weekly recipe emails, make sure you do that here! Don’t miss my next video either by subscribing to my YouTube channel here.
Please note – if you are wanting to meet any of the specific dietary requirements below, please read my recipe notes.
- 1/4 c chia seeds
- 2 c oats
- 2 tsp maca powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 c dates
- 6 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 c walnuts
- 2 tbsp cacao butter melted
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp coconut nectar
- Pinch sea salt
- 1 1/2 c dates
- 1/4 c hulled tahini
- 1 tbsp maca powder
- 1/2 c hot water
- 3 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 bananas
- 800 ml coconut cream 2 cans - top cream only
- 50 g dark chocolate
- Bases: Blend chia seeds to a flour, then add oats and blend again to a flour. Add all other ingredients except walnuts and blend until sticky, then add walnuts and pulse on low until roughly chopped but still with some texture.
- Line a muffin tray with biodegradable wrap (wet the tray slightly to help it stick), then place 3-4tbsp of mixture in each casing. Press carefully to create 10 pie bases.
- Chocolate Layer: Melt cacao butter, then whisk in remaining ingredients, and pour ½-1tsp of chocolate sauce inside each pie base, spreading out flat – place in fridge to set.
- Caramel: blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until super smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides if needed. Pour a few tablespoons into each pie case, using a spoon to swirl the caramel into place. Place in freezer to set.
- Bananas & cream: Take the top cream layer off two cans of coconut cream, and whisk in a bowl with a fork until thick and fluffy. Slice bananas thinly on an angle, and place banana slices concentrically on each pie, then top with a dollop of cream on each.
- Topping: Slice a bar of dark chocolate into flakes, and sprinkle a few on the top of the cream. Place in the fridge for at least an hour preferably 2-3 for all the layers to set together.
- These pies freeze brilliantly at numerous steps along the way. You can either freeze the bases on their own, with the chocolate layer in them, or with the caramel in them too. Just leave the banana and coconut cream topping to be added after you’ve removed them from the freezer. Best way to defrost them nice and evenly is to put them in the fridge overnight, then top with banana and cream just before serving.
- You can make the coconut whip in advance too, and keep in the fridge ready for assembling.
- If you're making these a few hours in advance, you can also sprinkle the bananas with a bit of lemon juice before assembling to avoid them going brown.
- The coconut whip topping on these doesn't have any added sweetener, as they've got a reasonable amount of sweetness already in the caramel and base. If you prefer though, you can add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and/or 1 tsp of coconut nectar to your whip if you like things a little sweeter.
- You can easily make swaps throughout the recipe - for example, 50g dark chocolate (melted) will do in the place of the chocolate layer, almond butter instead of tahini in the caramel layer and so on.
- To make these nut free, simply omit the walnuts from the base (or replace these with dessicated coconut) and use tahini for the caramel.
- To make these gluten free, simply replace the oats with an equivalent amount of almonds, or half almonds and half desiccated coconut.
- You can make these pies as one big Banoffee Pie, but the nature of the caramel being a little more gooey does mean that it won't slice quite as cleanly as some of my other cheesecakes and tarts.
- The chocolate layer in these sets completely hard, which I love, as it breaks into little shards as you're eating. It does however mean that you sort of need to eat these with your hands (or a fork and knife!). If you'd prefer a slightly less hard chocolate layer, substitute 1 tablespoon of the cacao butter for coconut oil.
- If you don’t have maca powder you can make these Banoffee Pies without, it will just give them a slightly different flavour profile (less maltiness, more sweetness).
Made with love thanks to:
Video by Lawson Media