I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still dealing with perishable food salvage. In fact, I’m downright silly with it! It’s coming at me from all directions … the refrigerator … the pantry … and now, the freezer.
I’ve been talking a lot about what I’ve done with what’s come out of the fridge and the pantry, but I haven’t even touched on what’s in the freezer. Coming off of a long chain of holidays and family events has left me with more surplus than I thought was possible. And when I found the bananas in the freezer, I nearly threw them out.
But I’m no quitter! So onward and upward. And yes, I’m going to take the easy way out. Banana bread, mainly because it’ll freeze. Even though I’m using previously frozen bananas, the banana bread will still freeze.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, combine egg, oil, sugar, and milk. Whisk until smooth.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, folding gently until well combined.
Add mashed bananas.
Fold in the nuts so that they’re evenly distributed.
Pour into a baking dish or loaf pan.
Bake at 350 F for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
Here’s the full recipe:
This takes about 15 minutes to prep and an hour to bake, give or take.
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- Loaf pan/dish
- 4 Bananas, over-ripe, mashed
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp light olive oil
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 F.Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.In a second bowl, lightly beat egg, then add milk, olive oil, and bananas.Make a well in the dry ingredients and gradually add the wet ingredients, mixing gently until well combined.Fold nuts into the mixture.Pour mixture into baking dish.Bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf.Remove from oven and allow to cool before slicing.
This freezes really well without getting super dry, so it’s a good loaf to cut into portions and store away for quick snacks. Seal it up in your Food Saver, store it in your Lock & Lock, put it in some Ziplock bags or wrap it in plastic wrap and use it within a month or so. Then, just take a slice out of the freezer and slide it into the toaster … or the toaster oven, or the air fryer, heat it in the microwave, let it thaw and eat it at room temperature or … I don’t know … do people eat stuff like this frozen?
You can also use these slices as a crumble on some nice warm oatmeal, put it on some ice cream or baked apples for dessert. Or you can also use it as layers for a banana pudding parfait. You’re only limited by your imagination.
Just a few extra notes …
First … TOAST YOUR NUTS! I can’t tell you what a huge difference this makes. It may seem way too fiddly and unnecessary but you’ll be SO glad you took the time. You’ve got to preheat the oven anyway, so just put the nuts on a pan and slide them into the oven for about 3 minutes or so (set a timer, don’t forget them, they burn fast). Let them bake until you can smell the warm nutty goodness of them. Then take them out and they’re much easier to chop when they’re warm. Let them cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
Next – adaptations and options:
You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free flours instead of the usual all-purpose and whole wheat.
Make it Vegan
You can make this recipe vegan by using an egg replacer. Flax and/or applesauce might also work as a binder for this recipe. I haven’t experimented with that in this recipe, but I have had good success with applesauce and flax in similar applications.
About the milk, you can use whatever kind of milk you like or whatever you have on hand, dairy or nondairy. I used cashew milk because it’s what I had.
Also, if you’re going vegan with it, be sure you stick with the non-dairy milk like cashew milk (my preference) or almond milk. Coconut milk would also work and might add a nice bit of flavor to complement the banana. I understand vegans would know this but if you’re a non-vegan baking for a vegan, you might need the reminder.
About the oil, you can use regular vegetable oil if you don’t have olive oil. You can also use butter BUT … I used olive oil in this recipe because it makes for a more moist consistency. My dear, departed Aunt Bernie was the QUEEN of nut breads and she never used butter, but always used oil. She told me that butter makes the loaf more dry and crumbly. I never doubted her but I DID make a nut bread recipe using butter just to see how much of a difference it made to the moisture and texture. No surprise, Aunt Bernie knew what she was talking about. That woman had bona-fide SAND when it came to baking.
I love flavored olive oils so I used a butter-flavored olive oil. I’m a flavor hound. If you’re interested in the flavored oils and don’t have a shop near you, you can find them in online specialty shops. Bertoli makes a nice, lighter-flavored olive oil, and it’s available in most grocery stores. And finally, Geoffrey Zakarian makes a really beautiful olive oil that he sells on QVC. I highly recommend his oils. I love them for pretty much everything I cook or bake that calls for olive oil.
Now, about the bananas: if you use bananas that have been previously frozen as I did, set them out for a while. Once they’re thawed and right at room temperature, they’ll be fine to mash into the mixture. If you use bananas that have gotten over-ripe from sitting on the counter, that’s pretty much ideal. BUT, if you have bananas that aren’t yet over-ripe and you want to make this bread, no problem! Just put your fresh bananas, peel and all, on a baking sheet lined with parchment, preheat your oven to 300 and bake for about 15 minutes or until the skins turn black. Once they’ve cooled they’ll be the perfect consistency for the recipe.
Good to know
Oh, and one more thing: If you are on a low-salt diet, and you think you just won’t add the smidge of salt that’s called for, think again. I’ve learned a lot about the laws of kitchen science since I decided to become better than just OK, and those laws apply here. When you use baking powder in a recipe, you need the salt to activate the leavening agents (baking powder and baking soda). So don’t leave it out if you want that nice lift in your baking.
This recipe ticks a lot of boxes for me. It is fast and easy, uses up produce that might otherwise get tossed, easy to adapt to dietary preferences, makes a good-sized batch, can be frozen, has many possible applications beyond the slice, and it’s really super tasty!
I hope you like it as much as I do!