When that ever-familar aroma of toasted and buttered banana bread fills your kitchen, you know you’re home. When I was younger, I’d often barge through the front door after school, throw 4 thick slices of Brumby’s banana bread in the toaster before I’d even put my bag down, smother them with so much butter that it would pool on top and drip down my chin as I took each bite. I remember finding comfort in the justification that something that tasted as good as cake could be as healthy as bread. Ha!
I may have since come to my senses, but my senses don’t fail me: the second I smell fresh banana bread, or better still, warm and buttered fresh banana bread, my salivary glands quite literally go bananas. I know I’m not alone here.
Instead of the classic recipe’s refined wheat flour, my banana bread calls for spelt flour. Although spelt is technically related to wheat and there’s a lot of debate out there as to which grain is more nutritious, the gluten is spelt is more fragile and susceptible to chemical and mechanical breakdown in the body, making it significantly easier to digest for many people.
Without all the butter, refined sugar and flour, my healthified version might not be Brumby’s worthy, but I promise you that it still manages to celebrate all the things we love about the classic: that buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture, the comforting flavour of ripe banana and just the right amount of sweetness to bring it all together. Yum.
Brilliantly Healthy Banana Bread
Dietary info: Wheat free, dairy free, refined-sugar free, fructose-friendly, contains some fructans (see notes), gluten (spelt), nuts (almonds) and egg.
- 2 cups mashed over ripe banana (approx. 4 medium-large bananas)
- 3 large organic free range eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
- 1 tbs pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbs pure maple syrup
- 1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour*
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut*
- 1/2 cup almond meal*
- 3 tbs chia seeds
- 1.25 tsp baking powder (aluminium free)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- generous pinch Himalayan sea salt
- To top batter with before baking: 1 large banana cut lengthways, 3 tbs pecans*, 2 tbs good quality dark choc chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 160*C and generously grease a loaf tin (my tin is approx. 11cm x 26cm)
- In one bowl, combine the mashed banana, beaten eggs, macadamia oil, vanilla and maple syrup.
- In another bowl, combine the spelt flour, coconut, chia seeds, almond meal, spices and salt. Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour banana mixture into it. Gently fold the ingredients until just fully combined. Be very careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf tin and smooth out lightly with the back of a large spoon if needed. Top with halved banana, pecans, dark chic chips and a drizzle of maple syrup. Bake for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, but still moist (don’t wait until the skewer comes out completely dry because the loaf is supposed to be moist throughout!). Cooking times will vary from oven to oven. If the top begins to brown too much while cooking, cover with a little bit of foil.
- Remove from the oven, allow to stand in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- For a snack, serve on its own or toasted with a little organic butter or your favourite nut butter and a little drizzle of maple syrup. For a fuss-free brekky, serve warm with organic yoghurt/coconut yoghurt and berries. For something a little more indulgent, serve toasted with organic butter, some choc chips and a drizzle of maple syrup – a sure winner among the boys!
- To those on a low FODMAP diet:
Ingredients marked with one asterisk (*) contain moderate amounts of FODMAPs. Each individual’s tolerance to these particular foods will vary, but unless you’re super sensitive or in the early stages of healing your gut, said ingredients in isolation shouldn’t cause a reaction if consumed in small amounts. However, because this banana bread contains a combination, it is possible that very sensitive individuals might not be able to tolerate a full serving of the bread (one 1.5cm thick slice). If you find that you’re generally fine with these foods and you’re used to consuming similar things daily, then you should be fine with this recipe, especially if you limit yourself to one slice per sitting. I can tolerate two slices now without worry, however two years ago I would have been pushing it and would have stuck to one. ALWAYS test your own tolerance! If spelt is a known issue for you in large amounts, try replacing half of it with buckwheat flour (but please remember that it will give a significantly different texture and flavour). If you cannot tolerate spelt at all, you can play around with different low FODMAP flour combinations such as buckwheat flour, oat flour, rice flour etc. Other lower FODMAP swaps include ground flaxseed, peanut flour or carob powder instead of almond meal and carob powder instead of chia seeds. All the above will lend different textures and flavours and I have not tested any of them so if you do, I’d love to hear how you went!