Every Friday morning, I wake up, head downstairs, put the kettle onto boil for coffee, and start making banana bread. Fridays are what we call “Family Day” in our house, which means no work, no chores, no emails, no homework. Just us doing fun stuff as a family. And we start off Family Day each week with a pot of coffee and a loaf of hot banana bread.
Why are Fridays banana bread day? Well, we always seem to have 2-3 ripe bananas on Fridays (leftover from the then-green bunch I bought at the grocery store the previous weekend). In theory, I could just buy fewer bananas each week, but I’m a pretty big fan of this banana bread tradition, so I’ll keep buying my big ole bunch each week.
Since we’re eating banana bread on a regular basis, instead of as an occasional treat, I’ve been working on perfecting a healthier version of the cake-like, sugar-bomb banana bread we are all so used to loving. That kind of banana bread is awesome, but not so awesome when you eat a whole loaf of banana bread in a couple of days (we’re lucky if it makes it through the weekend).
My version is 100% whole wheat, naturally sweetened using bananas, applesauce, and maple syrup, and uses coconut oil and walnuts for some super healthy fats. Which, I know, sounds kinda like biting into banana-flavored cardboard—but it’s actually incredibly moist, tender, and still lightly sweet. And of course, it’s packed with yummy banana flavor.
And because on my day off, I quite enjoy being lazy and not doing any dishes, the batter for this bread all comes together in one bowl. No sifting or incorporating in increments or whisking eggs. None of that. Dump it all in. Mix. Pour. Bake. Nom!
This recipe is incredibly forgiving, which means there is a ton of opportunity for adapting. Throw in a handful of chocolate chips or dried cranberries. Swap out the applesauce for pumpkin puree. Don’t want to use all whole wheat flour? Don’t! Hate walnuts? Leave ’em out. Want to use cane sugar instead of maple syrup? Go for it. Have fun! It’s really hard to mess it up. I promise. Enjoy.
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ cup white whole wheat flour
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, egg, applesauce, and vanilla until well blended.
- Add in the baking soda, salt, flour and walnuts, and mix until everything is just moistened—do not overmix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing.
If you like a more moist and dense banana bread, undercook your bread by 4-5 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the middle doesn't come out completely clean, but isn't super goopy). And then let it cool completely before slicing.