Healthy Snack Ideas

This Viral Vegan ‘Banana Split’ Is Loaded With Anti-Inflammatory, Heart-Healthy Benefits (And It Takes 4 Minutes)

Photo: Stocksy/Csenge Dusha
A banana split brings with it the promise of perfectly caramelized fruit swimming in velvety ice cream with crunchy toasted nuts and folds of chocolate fudge on top. What it does not always bring is the promise of, well, a ton of nutrient density. We're A-okay with this reality: There is nothing better than a real-deal dessert, after all. But some nights, you want a bedtime snack that won't keep your sugar-fueled brain buzzing into the wee hours of the night. That's where this anti-inflammatory vegan banana split recipe comes in. Indeed, we’ve come across an incredibly delicious, low sugar, heart-healthy version of your favorite childhood dessert that you can customize to make as delicious and as health conscious (or, you know, not) as possible.

The viral recipe comes to us from the creative mind of TikTok creator and recipe developer Jen Jones, and it's already garnered nearly 170K likes and over 3 million views. Jones' secret to nailing the perfectly flambeed, bananas foster-esque taste and caramelized consistency? Air frying her banana. Jones calls it the perfect plant-based dessert, or just a must-have when you’re in need of something naturally sweet and satisfying.

@thejenjones Your new favorite dessert 🤤 #airfriedbananasplit #airfriedfruit #plantbased #31daysofplantbased ♬ this is what falling in love feels like - JVKE

This vegan banana split has a lot to offer in the nutrient-density department. For starters, the recipe is perfect for folks following a fully plant-based diet, as it requires absolutely no dairy or animal products whatsoever. By using a banana as the base, you're  getting plenty of antioxidants, which have been shown to fight inflammation in the body by countering the negative effects of free radicals and help stave off chronic illnesses such as heart disease. Bananas also offer a range of gut health benefits that evolve with the ripeness of your banana. For example, less ripe bananas contain pectins and resistant starch, which serve as prebiotics, a necessary part of a balanced gut microbiome. Riper bananas lose this starch when it’s converted into sugar, but gain both soluble and insoluble fibers, which are important for healthy digestion. And the browner your banana, the more packed with antioxidants it will be.

Bananas also provide potassium, vitamin B6, and some vitamin C. Potassium is a mineral that the body (particularly the heart) needs to function properly—it helps muscles contract and plays a role in regulating your body's fluid levels and blood pressure. “Potassium is an important nutrient for regulating fluid balance,” Kelly Jones, MS, RD previously told Well+Good.“The balance of sodium and potassium in the body is most important for heart health via regulation of blood volume and muscle contractions as well."

Then, there’s the addition of natural nut butter, which contains much less (or none) of the sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil found in most processed varieties. You can leverage just about any nut butter in this recipe, which is excellent, seeing as just about all nuts (and tree nuts, like peanuts) contain important vitamins and minerals. Peanuts, almonds, and cashews, for example, are all great sources of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and contain varying amounts of vitamin E and magnesium. A word to the wise: If you’re going to use nuts in addition to nut butter for that extra crunch (#respect), Jones recommends pressing them down into the butter to keep them from falling off and making a mess in your air fryer.

Jones also adds dark chocolate to her banana split, which melts down to give that fudge-like taste and consistency. Many dark chocolates (also loaded with antioxidants, BTW—dark chocolate has even been linked to longevity) that contain at least 70 percent cacao are naturally vegan, but to be absolutely certainly you're not introducing any dairy, check out our list of the most delicious plant-based chocolates.

Finally, for a surprising topping that truly elevates this dessert, reach for the cinnamon. It'll add a hint of endearing spice plus major anti-inflammatory benefits to your banana split.

Making this banana split is about as easy a process as you could imagine. Simply split your banana down the middle, add your toppings, and throw it in the air fryer. In just a matter of minutes with truly minimal effort, you’ll have the ultimate pick-me-up dessert. You can also use it a delicious, heart-healthy breakfast idea: Try topping your vegan banana split with some coconut-based ice cream or yogurt for the perfect finish. Check out Jones’ full TikTok recipe below.

Air fryer vegan banana split recipe from Jen Jones

Ingredients:
1 banana
Nut butter
Nuts or seeds of choice
85 percent or above dark chocolate

Directions:
1. Slice open your banana and add the ingredients. Make sure if you are using nuts you press down into the nut butter.

2. Air fry at 400°F for 6 minutes.

3. Top with plant-based yogurt, plant-based ice cream, or coconut cream. Enjoy!

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