I’ve re-discovered that running errands on Saturday morning is infinitely more enjoyable in warm weather. We are back to our usual routine of visiting the Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning…although I am noticing that we have to wake up earlier and earlier to nab that prime parking spot so others must be catching on too! Each year I forget the natural harvest times for produce and find myself let down when the market is sparse; tons of seedlings ready for planting but no rhubarb, asparagus, or peas yet. My stomach is obviously a few weeks ahead of Mother Nature.
To help pass the time I’m brainstorming recipe testing ideas and jotting down notes often. Spring has renewed my sense of inspiration and motivation. I find myself gravitating toward the kitchen to lighten up existing recipes and finding ideas hidden around every corner of my pantry. Its wonderful!
Today’s conquest targeted the extremely ripe bananas that were originally destined for a smoothie, but instead became abandoned in the fruit bowl. I imagine I’m not the only one in this predicament. Its no secret that overly ripe bananas are my version of recycling in the kitchen; I simply cannot endorse throwing something so delicious and useful away. In an effort to freshen up my banana bread recipe I decided to focus on healthy ingredients: white whole wheat flour, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
I have been cooking a bit more with flax lately; it provides coveted omega-3s to your diet and has a nutty flavor and texture. Flaxseeds can be purchased whole or ground; whole is great for adding texture and fiber, but the nutrients in ground flaxseeds are more bioavailable (which is kind of the whole point, right?). I purchased Bob’s Red Mill ground flaxseeds and keep a small container in the refrigerator; the rest are packaged and stashed in the freezer for a later date. Its recommended to store flax in a cold environment because they are prone to spoiling if left at room temperature (just like nuts). This healthy bread is perfect for breakfast, a quick snack, or even dessert!
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
- 1/4 c. canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c. white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tbsp. ground flaxseeds
- 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
- 1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional)
- nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium mixing bowl use a whisk (no stand mixer or electric mixer required) to beat sugar and eggs very well.
Mash bananas with the back of a fork until mostly broken down but still lumpy; I like finding a few pieces of banana in the final product.
Add mashed bananas, canola oil, cinnamon, and vanilla extract to the mixing bowl; stir well.
Combine the white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and flaxseeds and then add to the wet ingredients.
Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined.
Add walnuts to the batter and stir to combine. If you are going for a healthy banana bread stop here and pour the batter into a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.
If you like healthy banana bread, but at the end of the day believe in everything in moderation, add in 1/2 c. chocolate chips and then pour into the loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Wonder which one I picked…ha, just kidding we all know I picked the chocolate version.
Smooth the top of the batter in the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the bread.
Cool for 5 minutes then turn out the bread on a serving dish. Banana bread makes the house smell wonderful and reminds me that healthy and indulgent can really be one in the same. Enjoy!