This is how I explained it to my friend Will, who turned up the other day wanting a banana… and nothing else would do.
“We DO have bananas,” I said, showing Will the goods. “But you won’t want to eat them as they are.” The black, squishy fruits resembled bananas only in shape.
Will eyed them sadly. Then he brightened up. “I have an idea,” he said. “Banana bread!”
“Deal,” I replied and gave him a high-five. “But let’s try making it with less sugar and refined flour. That way, we can enjoy the natural sweetness from the bananas without getting those nasty blood-sugar spikes that usually come with sweet treats.”
“Awww,” Will moaned. “I LOVE sugar!”
“You and just about every other kid out there,” I agreed. “But I think we can make an awesome banana bread with just a little extra sugar. You can be the judge. We’ll use two large eggs and some low-fat Greek yogurt for a healthy dose of protein. And coconut oil instead of butter or vegetable oil will give us the best-ever mid-length saturated fats, the ones that are proving better than olive oil for our heart health. All those good ingredients should keep the evil little sugar devils under control.”
“Hmmm,” said Will. “If you say so. But let’s use ordinary white flour… please???”
“Not gonna happen,” I said. “You know that Vinny only uses whole-grain flour. But we’ll use whole-wheat stone-ground pastry flour, just 3/4 cup for a light touch, and we’ll get a full cup of fiber by topping up with 1/4 cup raw coconut butter.”
“What the heck are you giving me now?” moaned Will.
“Don’t worry, Bud. You’re going to love this recipe,” I promised. “It’s so easy. Let’s get cooking!”
Vinny’s healthiest, moistest banana bread ever
- 1/2 cup caster sugar (if you can’t find it in the store, make some for your pantry by whizzing ordinary white sugar in the food processor until it’s powdery and store it in an air-tight container)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (4 ounces, 120 ml)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces, 120 ml) low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1.5 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- 2 large or 4 small very ripe bananas, smashed
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) whole-grain wheat flour
- 1/4 cup raw coconut butter (this is ground, unsweetened coconut… or use ground almonds instead)
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
- Grease a medium-sized loaf pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the oil and sugar together with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the eggs, banana, yogurt, coconut butter and vanilla, and beat them in one at a time with a hand mixer until smooth.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and whisk them together briskly.
- With a slotted spoon, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones, until just mixed.
- Pour the batter into the baking tin and put it in the oven on “Bake” —- 35 minutes for a very moist loaf to 50 minutes for a very dry one. You get to know your oven. Check often toward the end. When a skewer stuck into the middle comes out clean the loaf is done. I think cakes taste better undone rather than overdone! Mine was perfect at 35 min.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then slide a knife around the edges and turn the loaf out onto a wire cooling rack.
Will and I laid out two humungous slices on two pretty plates.
“Yum!” said Will. “Thumbs up on this healthy recipe, Vinny. It’s delicious!”
And that’s how we solved the problem of the too-ripe bananas!!! The cake tasted as sweet and moist as it was healthy. You may be able to cut the sugar down even more, depending how ripe your bananas are. What a great recipe to try with your family.
Vinny discusses the health benefits of bananas with kids in “Come Mister Tally Man, tally me bananas.” In a nutshell, it’s all about potassium. But there are other surprising benefits to bananas, too. Will thinks it’s pretty funny! Let me know if your kids like it, as well?
Nutrition info for each of 10 slices
- Calories 229
- Fat 13g
- Protein 8g (Estimated, due to no data for Greek yogurt, which has 3 times the protein of regular yogurt)
- Carbohydrates 25g
- Excellent source of B vitamins (used in generating energy from carbohydrates and the making of blood cells) and fiber (for digestion)
- Good source of iron (for carrying oxygen in the blood) and potassium (for the making of muscle)