Vegan Loaded Banana Bread
Happy New Year! Yeah, I know we are halfway into January already but it’s been a busy start to the year. I’m not one to make resolutions because, let’s be honest, they are just going to be broken. I’m more realistic than to think I’m going to eat better the entire year or go to the gym 5 days every week. I do, however, make some goals to hit throughout the year.
Goal 1: Be better about avoiding ALL my allergens, which means ditching my beloved ketchup and cutting out alcohol as much as possible. That may be a confusing sentence but several of my food allergens cause stomach issues, not eat-it-and-die issues. With that said, it is not fun to regularly have stomach pains just because I want to eat what everyone else is eating.
Goal 2: Spend more time with family. This should be an easy one but most of my family is either in Ohio or Chicago and I don’t make it to either often enough. We are fortunate to see Scott’s parents often because they come to the city a few times a year and now that his sister and her family have moved just across the river we’ll get to see them a lot, too.
Goal 3: Be more dedicated to this blog. When life gets busy the first thing put to the side is this blog. It is meant to be a resource to help and guide others struggling with food allergies and I have TONS of ideas and things I want to get involved in, so it’s time to start treating this like the job it is supposed to be.
Now back to food. I buy bananas all the time to add to smoothies but some [most] mornings I really do not want a smoothie and then the bananas start to go bad. Before they get completely disgusting I either cut them up and freeze them or make banana bread. This has caused banana bread to be a very common food in our house which is only disappointing in that it’s not really the healthiest breakfast and/or lunch and/or snack. (I’ve definitely eaten three slices in one day……)
When I had to omit butter and eggs in my banana bread recipe it took awhile to recreate it so that it was just as tasty and had a good texture. I relied on eating a lot of vegan banana bread at cafés and restaurants, many of which were barely edible, and a few that were shockingly delicious. Thanks to their secrets and some research on my own, I’ve come up with what is a barely noticeable difference. As in, if I didn’t tell you this banana bread was vegan you’d probably have no idea. When it’s a special occasion I’ll load it up with walnuts and chocolate, but one or both can be left out without harming the final product.
Allergy note: this recipe is DAIRY-, EGG-, SOY-, PEANUT-, and YEAST-free with an easy option to also be TREENUT-free. It is not gluten-free but GF flour substitutes could be used with varying degrees of success (texturally I’m not sure how each will turn out).
I like to use my bananas when they get to the level of brown speckling shown in the photo above. The sugars have really come out in them and made them extra sweet but they haven’t yet turned into slimy mush.
I highly suggest using three bananas on the larger side for this recipe. If you only have two bananas left in your bunch you’re not going to have as moist of a bread (unless they are giant bananas) and if you have four bananas it could be too much moisture so that your bread never fully seems to be cooked through (unless they are small bananas). How to solve this conundrum? If you have 2, add some applesauce for moisture, and if you have 4, freeze one, use the rest.
Aside from the bananas, you need: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, grapeseed oil, coconut or almond milk, cane sugar, vanilla, fresh lemon juice, plus your optional add-ins: walnuts and chocolate.
Mix together all of your dry ingredients (except sugar) on one bowl and your wet ingredients (including sugar) in another bowl or large liquid measuring cup. Add the wet ingredients to dry and gently mix until everything is just combined. If you over mix the bread will get dense so pay close attention. In a separate shallow dish, mash your bananas (I use a potato masher for ease) then add it to the mixture along with your other add-ins, walnuts and/or chopped allergy-friendly chocolate. Ever so gently fold these ingredients into the batter until just mixed. Again, no one likes dense bread.
A note about mashing: I do not like to have chunks of banana in my banana bread. My stepmother once made banana bread when I was young, like 8 or 9, and left the bananas chunky. I think I almost threw up on the table while chewing. I pulverize mine until they are pretty smooth. If you like chunks you probably should not use a potato masher, stick with a fork.
When your batter is ready, transfer it to a loaf pan that has been greased and floured, smooth it out, sprinkle the top with crushed walnuts, if using, then toss it in the oven for 50-60 minutes at 350F. I begin to check my bread at the 50 minute mark but almost always need the full 60 and sometimes a little longer even. The top should be nice and browned and the walnuts nearly burnt. If you’ve burnt the walnuts, no worries, the bread will still taste delicious. Just pick off the worst of the walnuts so they don’t overpower the flavor of the bread.
Once the bread is done, loosen it from the pan by taking a knife around the sides then transfer it to a cooling rack for 10 minutes or so before serving. The bread will keep, wrapped, in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You can also freeze it in individual slices to be reheated in the oven or toaster oven.
If you can eat some version of cream cheese, this is the best topping option in my opinion. After that I’d go with butter of some sort (I like the Olivio Coconut Spread…it’s also the only butter alternative I can eat but I promise it is soooo good). If you are in dire straights, nut butter pairs nicely. I often end up with almond butter on mine because it is impossible to find said Olivio Coconut Spread in Manhattan. I have an Amazon alert on for when it becomes available through them again. I asked for it for Christmas. No one could find it. I emailed Olivio asking them to ship me some with shipping costs on me even. No response. PLEASE FIND ME THIS SPREAD.
Anyway, make this, top it with delicious things, fool your friends into thinking it’s not vegan, eat an entire loaf in one day, it’s completely acceptable.
- 3 large ripe bananas
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- ½ cup cane sugar
- ½ cup coconut or almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup + ¼ cup walnuts pieces (optional)
- 3-4 ounces vegan and allergy-friendly chocolate, chopped (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease and flour your loaf pan then set aside.
- Whisk together oil, sugar, milk, vanilla and lemon juice in a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup until fully incorporated. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Using a potato masher or fork, mash bananas in a shallow dish. Immediately add to the batter along with one cup of walnuts and chopped chocolate and fold in. Be careful not to overmix so that your bread doesn't end up dense!
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup walnut pieces, if using.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is browned.
*To make this gluten free, sub in your favorite gf flour mixture. I haven't tried any so can't comment as to how it will turn out but it should work fine!
*If you do not have grapeseed oil on hand, use another flavorless oil in it's place, like canola oil or refined coconut oil.
*If you do not have a fresh lemon on hand, apple cider vinegar can replace it, though I recommend avoiding that if you are allergic to or have a yeast sensitivity.
Let me know if you’ve tried this recipe! Comment below or post a photo to Instagram and tag me @champagneandfrites #champagneandfrites.