Banana bread is one of those treats that usually passes as the "healthier" option. I hate to break it to you, but the banana bread you're ordering at your favorite cafe is most likely very high in fat and sugar. Hey, I'm all for indulging once in a while, but I'm here to give you this fool-proof banana bread recipe that will allow you to indulge in this treat more often. I see you over there wincing a little at the zucchini. Do not be alarmed! The zucchini has a very mild flavor, gives a little more texture to an otherwise soft bread, AND gets you to eat some veggies. Everyone should incorporate veggies into their desserts.
Since I started my new job, I've been inspired to get more creative in my cooking and especially my baking, something I've never really gotten into because it requires true patience and measurement. I know, ME? NOT patient? NOT into precise measurement? Who knew. I also wrongly assumed that you couldn't bake anything worth eating without dairy. I've obviously proved myself wrong and I am loving taking classic treats and making them both healthier and dairy-free. The original recipe used whole wheat pastry flour, but I wanted to accommodate all of my co-workers' dietary needs (I tested this out on them the first time, needless to say it was a HIT), so I swapped the whole wheat flour out for brown rice flour. I've never used brown rice flour before, but I am a convert! It gives this bread such a lovely nutty flavor and smooth texture.
I truly believe that the simpler the recipe, the better. No need to pull out the electric mixer or 12 different mixing bowls or having to scramble to do the dishes. You will need just one large bowl (see above) to mix your wet and dry ingredients together.
By now, you might have caught onto the fact that I love blueberries. I would put them in everything if I could, but that would be weird... right? The beautiful blue/purple color oozes out into the bread and, if you're lucky, you bite into a whole, warm blueberry that bursts with a fresh sweetness. You totally want a piece now, don't you?
If this couldn't get any better, this recipe yields TWO loaves. Keep one out, freeze one for later. Take the frozen loaf out for unexpected guests, a lazy Sunday brunch, or even a last-minute potluck.
Here's what you'll need (yields 2 loaves; 1 loaf serves 6-8)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/3 cups raw, organic cane sugar
- 1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (2 small zucchini)
- 3 large bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups brown rice flour (or your gluten-free flour of choice)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 TBS cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini, bananas and vanilla. Mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Whisk until combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Make sure you get all of the flour off of the bottom and sides of the bowl - you don't want dry spots in your bread! Add blueberries and fold in softly, trying not to break the blueberries.
Spray two 8x4 loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray (I used olive oil spray - gives the bread a beautiful golden color). Pour the batter evenly into both loaf pans, and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check the bread at 45 minutes, stick a toothpick in and if it comes out clean, it's done! Once done baking, remove the bread from the pans and let cool on plate or cooling rack. If you're like me, you'll want to cut into it right away while it's still steaming. But, I recommend letting it cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Cut yourself a thick slice, pour a cup of coffee, and you're going to have the perfect Saturday morning.