Life & Other Stuff

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Good For You" Banana Bread

Old bananas, new recipe makes for a "good for you" baking adventure.

When I usually bake it involves butter, sugar, and sometimes chocolate. But I had these browning bananas and the only thing I could think of was to make banana bread. I didn't want to throw them out but I knew they were too ripe to eat. I came across this recipe on the Whole Foods website. I was intrigued by the flax meal and yogurt ingredients. This made me think maybe I could make it even healthier.

In the original recipe (see link below) it asks for butter but I actually didn't have any and had already started mixing so I didn't want to stop and run to the store. Instead I remember that sometimes applesauce can be used as a substitute. Ding ding ding... brilliant! Did a bit of research and yes, it can be a substitute, but only sometimes. I wasn't sure if this might be one of those situations but I figured I'd give it a try. AND a friend indicated that she replaced chocolate chips with blueberries and didn't miss the chocolate at all. Hmmm... that could be interesting. Must try! Thus the adventure began.

I used the same recipe as Whole foods except that I substituted the butter for applesauce. I defrosted some mixed berries I had on hand (though next time I think I'll use fresh blueberries). I cut down on the sugar a little. I couldn't find my walnuts so I used almonds. Almonds were fine but I think the walnuts would have added a nice flavor and texture to the bread. Other additions might be nice, too like raisins or currants. Maybe even cranberries. All these additions made me think of smoothies. When making a smoothie, what goes well with bananas? Maybe those same ingredients would be good in this bread. YUM!

Next time, though, I think I might try using more wheat flour than all-purpose flour. Give even more of a health kick.

My friend happened to come over just after it finished baking so she got to taste test. Seems like it might be a success.  I quite like it myself.

So, here is my recipe. If you use the recipe, please leave me a comment. How did you make it your own? Or if you didn't, would you bake this again? Can't wait to hear...


Cooking spray 
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 tablespoons ground flax meal 
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup granulated sugar 
2 eggs 
1/3 cup fat free or low fat plain Greek yogurt 
3 very ripe bananas, smashed (about 1 1/2 cups) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1/2 cup blueberries or berries of your choice
1/4 cup of walnuts (or nuts of your choice)


Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch x 4-inch metal loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside. Whisk together both flours, baking soda, flax meal, 2 teaspoons of the ground cinnamon and salt; set aside. Cream together butter with sugar using a mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in yogurt, bananas and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Stir together turbinado sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the banana bread. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then remove from baking pan. Chef's Tip: If using a glass baking pan, decrease cooking time by 5 to 10 minutes. 

Nutrition (Whole Foods Recipe)

Per serving: 170 calories (40 from fat), 4.5g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 190mg sodium, 29g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 13g sugar), 4g protein 

This recipe was inspired by the Whole Foods "Light-n-Luscious Banana Bread" recipe.

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