Bananas and I have a love-hate relationship.
The smell of them puts me off, the texture makes me cringe, and the taste just about makes me want to die a little. BUT it’s a meal in a peel and it’s one fruit I so badly wish I had a better relationship with. How have I overcome this little diet mishap, and how do I get the incredible nutritional benefits that bananas do actually have you may be wondering, well the weird thing is I LOVE banana bread. Strange, I know.
Since I was smally, I absolutely loved banana bread, you couldn’t pay me enough to eat a fresh banana, but I could make an entire loaf of banana bread disappear in one sitting, and I could tell you exactly who sold the best kind too. This might seem completely outrageous to many of you, but what you might not realise is the flavours of fruit change depending on their state. Whether they’re dried, frozen, or ripe the flavour of the banana changes. Having a sweet tooth, I obviously prefer incredibly ripe, and potentially over ripened bananas. The reason bananas (or any fruits) flavour changes are a result of the starch to sugar conversion. The ripper a banana the more glucose (sugar) is present and the less starch. Freezing a banana works in a similar way, when you freeze a banana you’re essentially freezing the water in that fruit, this breaks the cellular walls and once the fruit starts thawing the sugars usually contained in the inner cells now come to the surface and intermingle with the water, giving your tongue easy access to the sugars.
Like most fruits, bananas contain the most nutrients in their raw state. Bananas especially contain high levels of tryptophan which combats depression when converted into serotonin, happy mood brain neurotransmitter. They also strengthen your blood and relieve anaemia because of the iron in bananas; very important for those who suffer from anaemia. A better known nutritional benefit is the potassium found in bananas, this helps lower blood pressure and protect against heart attacks and strokes. It even helps combat stress and anxiety, and for me, there is no better reason needed to eat something, or in my case find sneaky ways of including it in your diet.
My sneaky way is to make as much banana bread as I can, as often as I can. As a result of having IBS, gluten is a major trigger for me and the fact that you can substitute any other gluten-free flour alternative, depending what you have on hand is amazing. This banana bread stands strong with oat flour, gluten-free flour blend, and even spelt flour, it comes out perfect each time. What makes this version so special and what I have come to realize in my banana bread journey, is you need overly ripe bananas! I cannot explain how important this is. The riper your banana, the sweeter they are. The less sugar you need to add and the better the overall taste and texture of the loaf. This recipe calls for 4 ripe bananas, this is because I love moist banana bread, you could easily make it with 3, but the result won’t be as decadent. We also use no eggs or egg substitutes in this recipe and it’s because bananas also act as a binding agent, especially when used in larger quantities.
Really, there is no logical reason for you to not whip up a batch of these right now. I won’t judge you if you do it covertly and tell no one until the loaf is gone, but you should definitely do yourself the favour and try this recipe out. It’s changed a lot of things for me, mainly my relationship with a meal in a peel, the banana.
- 4 Over Ripe Bananas, peeled (when they start getting black spots)
- 1 cup Gluten Free Flour
- 1/2 cup Gluten Free Oats, blended to a meal (or you could buy oatmeal)
- 1/3 cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup Unrefined Sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
- 1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 1tsp Cinnamon
- 1tsp NOMU Baking Spice
- 1tsp Vanilla extract, optional
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius and line a 9 x 4 inches (22cm x 10cm) loaf tin with baking paper, leaving a little to hang over the edge.
- In a medium-sized bowl (that will fit all your ingredients) add your ripe bananas and using a fork mash them until smooth.
- Add all your remaining ingredients to the bowl and using your fork mix until all ingredients are fully combined. If your bananas weren’t too ripe you may want to add 1/4 cup – 3/4 cup almond milk to achieve the correct consistency.
- Pour your mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Place on a cooling rack, and if you can resist, let cool for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Enjoy with some vegan butter, or as is!
- You are most welcome to add some extras such as choc chips, nuts, and seeds or even some extra chopped up banana, it’s all up to you. If adding something sweet we recommend you lessen the amount of sugar or eliminate it all together.