When life give you bananas, you make banana bread, cos who doesn’t like banana bread? We’ve been happening on some big bunches of wonderfully sweet local bananas up here in the Kimberley of late and as bench space is scarce in the van, this big bunch was taking up far too much of it – I froze chunks to add to smoothies and turn in to ice cream and moved the slightly greener ones to space on the dining table to ripen for later use in pancakes and to caramelised atop porridge. But then there were the over ripe few that we just begging to be baked. The idea of turning the oven on in this heat – we’re talking early 40’C – was ludicrous, but now the thought had been planted and I was hankering for banana bread. Googling “healthy banana bread” that was gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free was rather unsuccessful so I decided to combine a few ideas, wing it and see how baking in the Weber BBQ would go. And, success!
Banana bread is a long-time favourite of mine – any banana starting to turn a sweet-sticky brown in the fruit bowl goes straight in the freezer until I can find a moment for baking. The conventional banana bread you’ll find on the cafe counter top is really just cake in disguise: baked in a loaf tin and without the icing, and with a name like “banana bread” you’d be forgiven for thinking it sounds healthier than it is. Made with refined white flour, butter, sugar and very little actual banana, it holds little nutritional valuse. All of this, combined with a lack of protein and fibre is going to cause kids blood sugar to spike and then drop, leaving them hungry and irritable not long after. It’s just cake. Yes, cake is ok sometimes, but my healthy banana bread isn’t something you’ll have to save for the “sometimes”. Bake a loaf this weekend and freeze the slices so that you’ll always have some on hand to toast for snack time.
This healthy banana bread is full of goodness, we’ve got: fibre for gut health and sustained energy release; protein to keep tummies feeling satisfied for longer; healthy fats for energy, cell growth and protection, hormone production, vitamin absorption and brain health; zinc for building new tissue cartilage and bone, immune function, metabolising carbs, fats and protein, wound healing and maintaining a healthy appetite; potassium to regulate healthy blood balance and blood pressure and warming anti-inflammatory spices to support healthy digestion. There’s no added sugar, just naturally sweetened with the banana and coconut.
We love ours toasted and lathered in cultured butter and a drizzle of honey or heavily smeared with my Sunny Nut Butter (pictured).
Healthy Banana Bread
Makes: 1 loaf – Prep time: 10 mins – Cook time: 1-1.5-hour
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour *
- 1 1/3 cups almond meal
- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 very ripe banana, diced
- 270ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 organic or free-range egg
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup gluten free oats (or quinoa flakes)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 1/4 cups melted coconut oil
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Optional: 1 ripe banana, sliced length-ways to decorate the top
- In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients (gluten free flour, almond meal, oats, shredded coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, turmeric, walnuts, chia seeds, sea salt) and mix to combine
- In a separate bowl combine mashed banana, vanilla, egg, coconut milk and coconut oil and mix together
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Then add chopped banana and gently stir through
- Taste the mix. Once baked the sweetness will lessen slightly, so if you like your banana bread on the sweeter side, add 1 Tbsp maple syrup or honey (this no longer makes it’s sugar-free though)
- Pour mix into your lined loaf tin and bake for 1-1.5 hrs or until a skewer comes out clean
- Allow to cool completely then slice. I slice up the whole loaf and freeze 3/4 of it so we always have some ready for toasting