Yes! Best Banana Bread! As I type this, I realize I am being quite lazy, as I have an entire 10-day California trip to re-cap…but it is just too soon. I already miss my sister, so in efforts to not be over emotional and commence chocolate-eating-for-breakfast/lunch/dinner, I will be sharing (finally) perfected my banana bread recipe. I say “a recipe” because have you seen how many “vegan banana bread” recipes pop up when you search the internets? A bazillion. I counted, exactly a bazillion. So, I am adding my version, since it has taken a few years (!!) and trials and tears to get this loaf right where I want it: not too sweet, lots of banana, no weird ingredients, and adequate shelf life (i.e. it will last in your fridge or room temperature for about a week). Turns out, you need a lot, on the order of 5-6 super duper ripe (the blackest, spottiest, near-to-fermenting) bananas you can muster to a) leave out of a smoothie/not freeze and/or b) get your hands on (I am NOT sharing where I find my stash of over-ripe bananas in Madison…EVER). But, I promise you, regardless of where you procure your bananas, all of them and the wait are worth it. Put a big bunch in a brown or plastic bag, let that ethylene gas build up and ripen those ‘nanas ASAP.
This recipe is great for a variety of reasons. No need for a ton of fat, eggs or other nonsense, thanks to the power of mashed banana. You don’t even need add-ins (unless you like those, then walnuts and/or dark chocolate chips would be fabulous, and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and flaked almonds on top are fun, tasty and decorative….yep…fun, tasty AND decorative). Be sure to cut this loaf into thick pieces, and enjoy with a steamy hot cup of your favorite coffee early in the morning. Getting up has never been so easy….no? To reheat, simply place a slice (or two…) in a warm oven (350F) for 5-7 minutes, or warm in a toaster on a low setting.
- You could replace half or all of the melted coconut oil with your favorite fat, such as Earth Balance or butter, if you’re into that kind of thing.
- I have included weight measurements because I have started to use my scale much more (you should snag one, too, if you’re remotely serious about producing more consistent baking/cooking results-I have this one here). In case you need to know (you do!), the volume measurements are taken as fluffed flour in the bag with a fork, which is then scooped with the cup measure, and then leveled with the back of a butter knife. I have made the loaf with entirely unbleached all-purpose, entirely whole wheat pastry, as well as a 50:50 combo of both with great results (FYI: Bob’s Red Mill is what I use).
- Baking this in a glass pan will tack-on a few more minutes of baking, so just monitor the loaf every 7 minutes during the last 15-20 minutes of baking.
- Lastly, if you want to verge on a banana cake-like loaf, simply up the fat to 1/2 cup (90g), and up the sugar to 3/4 cup (150g). Heck, bake in a bundt or other fancy-ass pan, pour some chocolate fudge on top of the cooled bread, sprinkle with toasted and crushed salted hazelnuts/peanuts, and call it dessert. For breakfast and snacking, I really prefer the less rich, less sweet version as I share below, but both are damn tasty in their own right.
Banana Bread // Plant-based; soy-free; nut-free option // makes 1 standard loaf //
- 5-6 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (2 cups, or 500g of mashed banana puree)
- 1/4 cup (45g) virgin coconut oil, melted (for a richer, more cake-like loaf, up to 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (119g) room temperature almond or plant-based buttermilk (1/2 cup milk + 2 tsp apple cider or other vinegar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 cups (365g) unbleached all-purpose flour and/or whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 to 1 cup walnuts finely chopped (don’t add those if you’re allergic to nuts, yo!), or your favorite dark chocolate chips
- Optional: cinnamon sugar (1 TB cane sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon) for topping and/or handful flaked almonds
1. Preheat oven to 350F, grease and flour a standard loaf pan. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Melt the coconut oil in a small bowl, and add to the bananas. To this add the room temperature almond buttermilk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, mixing with a whisk to thoroughly to combine. Be sure the almond buttermilk is room temperature, or else it will cause the fat to solidify once added to the mixture. If this does happen, place the mixture in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to re-melt the fat, and whisk to incorporate.
2. In a large bowl, or directly into the banana mixture, sift the flour and baking soda. Gently mix the wet and dry together using a rubber spatula, gently mixing in the walnuts and/or chocolate halfway through mixing. Be sure to not over-mix, as the loaf will be tough if you do. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and top with cinnamon sugar and/or flaked almonds if desired. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. If using a fancy-ass pan or glass loaf pan, baking time may vary, so just check on it near the last 15-20 minutes of baking. Cool for 15 minutes, scrape around the sides, and invert out of the pan to cool completely before cutting and/or storing. Enjoy within 1 week, storing either at room temperature or in the fridge in a sealed bag or container.
These bananas should really ripen a bit more for this recipe, but I really, really wanted banana bread.
Mashing the bananas, using my favorite under-utilized kitchen tool.
Puree, spices, sugar, oil…mix them all together, in a larger bowl, unlike what I have pictured below. Also, the Oaktown Spice Shop >>> Penzey’s.
Everything all mixed, ready for the pan. I left out the add-ins, cause I was in the mood for plain-jane banana bread.
Into the pan, and optionally adorned with cinnamon sugar and/or sliced almonds (or not!). I baked one loaf with and one without. Also, shout-out to my grandma for the vintage salt/pepper shakers, one of which I exclusively use for cinnamon sugar. Shake shake shake….the sugary topping makes for an aromatic, delicious top to your loaf.
Into the oven to bake. Let this loaf cool before trying to pry it out, and please…for the love of banana bread gods, please let it cool as much as you muster before slicing it, as freshly baked, it may be a bit too gooey…but whatever-you baked it, you do what you want.
Mmm…the taste of victory. It is indeed banana-y.