I’ve gone and done it! Over the years I have literally made dozens of attempts at creating a healthy banana bread without white flour or copious amounts of sugar and oil that still has that same moist texture and strong banana flavor that we all know and love, without the texture of cardboard. Many of these valiant efforts ended in dry, overly dense, bland bready loafs of disappointment. Many were close, but just not quite right. There was always something a bit off… until now that is.
This version of healthy banana bread is filling and low in added sugar while maintaining just the right level of sweetness. I credit this to using overly ripe bananas. I look at bananas ripening on the counter as little fruity gold mines and can hardly wait long enough for them to get to that ideal stage of yellowy-brownishness that you need for recipes like this. Luckily, in this case I was out of town on a ski trip to Mt. Baker (it snowed over 100 inches the week we were there!) and came home to some nice brown little bananas right at the ideal stage for a loaf of healthy banana bread – score!
Next time you’re tempted to throw out bananas that are too ripe to eat plain – do yourself a favor and remember this healthy banana bread recipe and put that aged fruit stash to good use!
One of the main things I love about making quick breads is how quick and easy it is. I mean its all in the name right? It takes me about 15 minutes to whip up a batch of this, which I normally do on the weekends thinking it will last for a few days worth of breakfasts. I don’t know how I maintain this delusion when it rarely makes it past day one in our house.
Back to the details. Start out by mixing the dry ingredients. This part is pretty forgiving too as long as you get the proportions right. If you don’t have chia seeds on hand, you can easily substitute extra oats and if you don’t have flax seed, just use two tablespoons more flour.
Mix the liquid ingredients and sugar separately. I used a hand mixer to get my bananas nice and creamy, but you could easily do this with a masher, spoon or rubber spatula.
Use coconut butter to grease the pan. Don’t worry if you aren’t a coconut fan (which I don’t completely understand you people) – the coconut flavor doesn’t come through at all in this recipe.
From here, pop that pan in your pre-heated oven and pull it out in just under an hour looking like this:
It normally takes about an hour to bake, but I always set the timer for 50 minutes so that I can check on it and make sure not to over bake. As long as you don’t over bake it, the bread will be super moist and have just the right texture. This last time I made it, I baked for a full hour and it probably should been pulled out ten minutes earlier, hence the dark crust in the picture above. As with other baked goods, air on the side of caution, pull it out a little early and do the toothpick test and if the toothpick comes out mostly clean, you’re good to go. I say “mostly” because a lot of the time you’ll get a few little bready chunks during the toothpick test and what you’re really looking for is no liquid batter on the toothpick.
- 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ½ cup oats
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. ground flax meal
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1½ tsp. cinnamon
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- ⅓ cup plain non-fat yogurt
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted (plus about a teaspoon more for greasing pan)
- ⅓ cup applesauce
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bread pan with coconut oil.
- Mix all dry ingredients, other than pecans and sugar.
- In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients and sugar thoroughly.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine. Do not over mix. Fold in chopped nuts.
- Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until a toothpick comes our mostly clean (best if not over baked!).