Today’s post is about a long-lost friend…banana bread! It’s been a while since I last made this bread and after making today’s recipe, I really wondered why. Well, for one, banana bread is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere, really. On blogs, cookbooks, in stores, bakeries, etc. For me, it’s often overlooked, but now, I will take notice of its glorious presence and savor in its deliciousness! Today I am making a Sweet Oat Banana bread that is…(ready for it?)…gluten free, dairy free, vegan, refined-sugar free and nut free! So for anyone with food allergies or looking for a healthier spin on this classic dish, this will be a great recipe for you!
My exploration into banana bread territory started when I noticed my freezer was filled with a considerable amount of ripe bananas. Whenever a banana is starting to turn brown, I place it in the freezer. This is a great habit, but if you keep storing them in your freezer without using them, they will pile up! So I decided that I should make some banana bread and it is way easier than I thought. My recipe is adapted and inspired by Minimalist Baker.
To make the bread, all you need is a few ingredients, including ripe bananas. The riper they are, the sweeter. If you are using frozen bananas, make sure they come to room temperature before using them. This recipe requires whisking a few dry ingredients into wet ones, then pouring the batter into a pan and baking it! It’s super easy and versatile! Because this bread is gluten-free and vegan, many of the ingredients include alternatives like brown rice flour, chia seeds, coconut oil, and almond milk. Brown rice flour is hearty and adds a slight grainy texture, if you prefer a different texture you could use a mixture of a combination of flours like oat flour, amaranth, and almond flour. For a non-gluten free bread, you could just use all-purpose or whole wheat flour. The chia seeds act as the egg in this dish (you could also use flax seeds). They are a binding agent. When introduced to liquid, chia seeds rapidly swell and expand. A gel-like exterior forms creating a viscous texture. For the sweetener, I used a combination of maple syrup, agave, and coconut sugar. Note that the sweetness will slightly vary depending on the ripeness of the bananas. Mine were pretty ripe so I didn’t add too much, but if you prefer a sweeter batter, then by all means add more. I like using a combination of sugars because each adds its own flavor profile. Maple syrup has a wonderfully rich and deep flavor, the coconut sugar provides a great crystallized texture and a subtle caramelized flavor, and the agave creates a bright and floral sweetness. You could alternatively use brown sugar or granulated sugar if you wish (just note they may not be refined-sugar free). You could just as easily add buttermilk or regular milk instead of almond milk if you wish, and if you do not have coconut oil, you can use vegetable or canola oil. I just LOVE the rich taste of coconut oil and the flavor it adds to a recipe. As always, this banana bread is a forgiving recipe, so you can really play around with ingredients and substitutions depending on what you have and what you like! You could add chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, or dates..really anything you like! Have I given you enough options? I was so happy with how this recipe turned out! It is a truly wonderful, easy-to-make bread to have on hand when you are craving something sweet, hearty, and healthy.
This bread is delightfully moist, dense but flaky, sweet but not overpowering, and incredibly rich in flavor. There are bananas, oats, a hint of cinnamon, vanilla, and just the right amount of sweetness in each bite! This banana bread is great for breakfast, snacks, dessert, or when you are craving something sweet but healthy. Top with fresh fruit, nuts, coconut, or just plain by itself. I usually eat this some fresh fruit, or slice by slice. In fact, I am munching on it right now as I write this post. Rarely do I have leftovers for very long, but if you do, wrap the bread in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge or at room temperature for a few days. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do and I hope this inspires you to make some banana bread or revisit a recipe you haven’t made in a while. Happy eating!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with oil or nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a small bowl or cup, stir together the chia seeds and water and let soak for 10 minutes or until chia seeds have expanded and absorbed the liquid. In a large bowl, using a fork or potato masher, mash the bananas until smooth or until most of the large clumps are gone. If you are using frozen bananas, make sure they defrost first to room temperature. Add the soaked chia seeds, coconut oil, almond milk, maple syrup, agave (optional), and vanilla extract and stir until smooth. In a separate bowl, add the oats, brown rice flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and place in oven. Bake for about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool. Serve and enjoy!
Makes: 1 8-inch loaf
Total time: 1 1/4 hours
3 medium ripe bananas
1 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon agave (depends on ripeness of banana, optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free)
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt