I rarely bake. When I do, I try and create healthified versions of classic favorites. One of the reasons that I typically do not dabble in the baking department is because I lack control and end up munching away at the finished product - regardless of its level of deliciousness. When contemplating a warm and comforting Christmas morning breakfast that would not be riddled with regret, I settled on one of my personal favorites, banana bread.
This is not your run of the mill banana bread. It is refined sugar-free, gluten- free, and loaded with protein so that you can feel confident about eating this baked good for breakfast, dessert, or somewhere in between. I blended two of my favorite banana bread recipes from Heidi Swanson and Pamela Salzman to create a super moist, flavorful, and nutritious bread. I always veer to the extra moist, extra banana-ey side when making my banana bread, so don't expect a very firm and dry loaf. Using olive oil in this recipe also helps keep this loaf tender, and the addition of lemon zest takes the bread to another level.
Amaranth flour was used as the gluten-free flour of choice, but feel free to play around and do a combo of spelt and whole wheat pastry flour a la Salzman or with whole wheat flour like Swanson.
Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that also contains iron, calcium, and magnesium. It is also a complete protein, which makes this a more balanced breakfast bread. Bob's Red Mill makes an amaranth flour which worked very well. Leftover almond pulp from almond milk adds a tad more protein as well as vitamin E. No almond pulp? No problem, just use amaranth flour or another whole grain flour or almond meal in place of the pulp.
Extra ripe bananas are the perfect way to naturally sweeten the dessert. Added bonus! Bananas are a prebiotic, which is the fuel for probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Gluten-free lemony olive oil banana bread
makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
- 1¼ cups amaranth flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup almond pulp (leftover from 1 cup of almonds to make almond milk)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 tsps freshly grated lemon zest
- 3 very ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed (plus additional slices for top garnish)
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with butter or coconut oil and/or line with parchment paper for easier removal.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla bean powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix together the almond pulp, maple syrup, olive oil, eggs, and lemon zest until well combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Add in the mashed bananas and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan. If garnishing, arrange banana slices down the center of the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until firm. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, remove bread, and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I like to keep the loaf in the fridge to maintain firmness and freshness!
Thank you, Pamela Salzman and Heidi Swanson for inspiring this recipe.