Here’s my one problem with bananas: Even though I love the idea of grabbing a banana as a snack, it’s nearly impossible for me to use up a whole bunch before they go bad. They just sit on the kitchen counter until they’re completely brown. Thankfully, that’s why we have banana bread.
Now, even though bananas themselves are healthy as all hell—Potassium! Fiber! Healthy carbs!—traditional banana breads are, mm, less-than-great. They’re usually made with lots of butter and refined sugar and skew a little far from vegan (see: BUTTER). Luckily, chefs Jenny Dorsey and Mia Rigden created a gluten-, grain-, and refined sugar-free version of the classic treat in a recent episode of Well+Good’s YouTube series Alt-Baking Bootcamp. Gaze upon the OG healthy rendition below, but what final tweak would make for some delightful vegan banana bread?
“You should be able to make the banana bread vegan by substituting flax eggs and coconut oil,” Dorsey tells me. Only two changes? Seems do-able.
At this moment in history I will be shocked if you don’t have a vat of coconut oil in your pantry; you’ll only need two teaspoons here to substitute the butter or ghee. As for the flax eggs (which helps baked goods bind together like a regular egg), Rigden shares that you can make one by combining one tablespoon ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of warm water, then letting it sit for 15 minutes. For a recipe that calls for two eggs (like this one), you’d thus combine two tablespoons of ground flax with six tablespoons of warm water.
The best low-sugar, vegan banana bread recipe, courtesy of Alt-Baking Bootcamp:
3 bananas (2 overripe with brown spots, 1 fresh)
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 flax eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a nine-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Line the middle, letting the edges of the paper fall over the edge of the pan, and grease the sides for easy removal.
2. Lightly mash two overripe bananas and add to bowl of a standing mixer. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and flax eggs, and mix until thoroughly combined.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
4. Add dry ingredients to the banana mixture and mix until incorporated. Turn off mixer and use a spatula to give the dough a good stir.
5. Place dough in loaf pan. The dough is thick, so use a spatula to even it out.
6. Cut your fresh banana in half lengthwise and press into the top of the dough.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
8. When finished, use the edges of the parchment paper to lift the banana bread out of pan.
And don’t forget step nine: Never feel guilt about browning your bananas again.
This article was originally posted on March 26, 2019. It was updated on September 4, 2019. Original reporting by Tehrene Firman.
If you want a handful of recipes for the banana’s often-forgotten big brother, plantains, look no further: These 10 will hit the spot, including a tasty sandwich. You can also learn how to turn your banana into a delicious dessert.
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