Since school is over, now I have more time for baking, especially healthy baking. Most of the time, people associate baked goods with high fats, and sugar-loaded. I’m not a fan of it, but I still like baked goods, so I like to explore for healthy alternatives for some ingredients or just healthy recipes, in general. I’m a newbie with baking, so I’m starting off with the most basic and classic one – banana bread! It’s quick and easy that I guarantee every first time baker can do it. Oh! Have I forgotten to mention that there’s no butter and no refined sugar?
Banana is a very nutrient-densed fruit, which is packed with vitamins, minerals, and soluble fibers. It’s a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function, which its effectiveness in lowering blood pressure have been demonstrated in various studies. It’s also rich in vitamin C and B6. It’s also athletes favorite snacks, because it’s not only convenient, but can quickly refuel the energy and prevents cramps.
Let’s be honest, bananas ripe quite fast, and it’s hard to enjoy it as snack when it loses its firmness. Luckily, people come up with ways to not waste food, and bananas are often used in baking as sweetener or other substitutions. Not only banana bread, it can also be used to make ice cream, muffins, pancakes…etc just to name a few.
Most of the traditional banana recipes that I found use refined flour and refined sugar, but I made it with 100% whole wheat flour (try my best to sneak in more dietary fiber). Instead of refined sugar, I used maple syrup as sweetener, and plus ripe bananas are already really sweet, which also contains some trace nutrients that you won’t see in refined sugar. Last substitution that I made is an ingredient that you’ll probably never see in my fridge, butter, which I used olive oil (or you can use coconut oil). With all these substations, the banana bread still came out fluffy, moist, and rich in banana flavor/aroma.
It’s pretty much the so-called one-bowl recipe. It’s quick and easy. You can use white whole wheat flour if you don’t like the nutty flavor from the whole wheat. In case it’s your first time hearing white whole wheat flour and wonder what it is, it is just as great as whole wheat flour (has all of the fiber and nutrients that regular whole wheat flour contains), but without the nutty flavor.
Feel free to throw in any add-ins that you want, such as nuts, raisins, chocolate chips…etc. You can also divide it into small batches, and make muffins to make it a perfect on-the-go breakfast.
- 1¾ cups Whole wheat flour
- 2 medium-sized bananas (mashed)
- 2 Eggs (I used large)
- ⅓ cup Extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
- ½ cup Maple syrup (or honey)
- ¼ cup Soy milk (or any choice of liquid)
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- Optional: ½ cup mix-ins (eg. chopped nuts, chocolate chips, chopped dried fruit, raisins...etc)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, mix the olive oil and maple syrup together together with a whisk.
- Add the eggs and beat well
- Whisk in the mashed bananas and soy milk
- Add the baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend.
- Lastly, add the whole wheat flour into the bowl, and gradually fold it in with a spatula until well combined. (it's okay to have some lumps!)
- If you're adding any additional mix-ins, add now and gently fold in
- Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle more chopped nuts or chocolate chips.
- Bake in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then remove it from the loaf pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.