vegan banana breakfast bread

image from here

i think today is the first day of autumn (although my calendar says tomorrow, but that seems too late to me!) and in my opinion, there is almost nothing better than a cup of tea and a warm slice of banana loaf slathered with (vegan) butter on a rainy fall day. unfortunately, with a little man around, wanting 150% of my attention during his waking hours, and with naps that last only 45 minutes (on a good day), there isn't much time for meal prep or baking. but a mama's gotta eat, and i'm always looking for a quick & easy snack that is just as nourishing as it is delicious, so i was pretty pleased when i discovered that i could make this yummy banana loaf in about 20 minutes, and i was even more pleased when i realized that the recipe is practically foolproof (i've made it half a dozen times, each with slightly varied ingredients, and each time it turned out great). i took this recipe originally from post punk kitchen, but have modified it to make it as healthy as i could (because i need a pretty good reason to justify eating chocolate chips for breakfast). i also have a lot of optional substitutions in the recipe, if you don't have quite the right ingredients on hand... foolproof!

the loaf comes together in about 20 minutes - quick enough that even the skimpiest of baby naps allows me to pop it into the oven before i am summoned from the phoenix's room (ps - a tour of phoenix's room is coming! i'm just putting the last touches on it and i'm oh so excited to show you), and then i've got two loaves baking to perfection and ready to enjoy over the next 24 hours (i usually freeze one for another day, and the other one rarely lasts longer than a day before being devoured). you could probably make this into muffins as well (maybe baking for 20 minutes instead of an hour), although i haven't tried (but again - it seems to be pretty foolproof so let me know how it goes!)

vegan banana breakfast bread
(adapted from post punk kitchen's zucchini-banana bread)
*vegan *dairy-free *can be made gluten free
prep time: 20 minutes // bake time: 1 hour
makes 2 flat loaves (5"x9" pans)

1/4 cup coconut oil, very soft or melted
1/4 cup applesauce, at room temperature (if you don't have applesauce, use another 1/4 cup coconut oil instead)
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar (reduce to 1 cup for less sweetness; if you don't have coconut sugar, use brown sugar)
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large, very ripe bananas, mashed in a bowl (room temperature)
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (room temperature if possible)

3 cups whole wheat flour (i use a half whole wheat spelt flour & half buckwheat flour. if you wanted to make this recipe gluten free, use all buckwheat flour. it adds a great taste to the loaf!)
2 heaping tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp (heaping) allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* you can be flexible with your additions - use all nuts if you want, or any combo of nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, currants...

preheat oven to 350F. grease two 5"x9" loaf pans lightly with coconut oil (you can also use 4"x8" pans, and the loaves should be higher). in a large bowl, cream together the coconut oil & sugar until well mixed. add the mashed banana, vanilla, and grated zucchini (having the banana and zucchini at room temperature will help keep the coconut oil from solidifying, but if it's very well creamed with the sugar it should be okay), and mix well. 

add all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips to the bowl, in a mound on top of the wet ingredients. stir the dry ingredients gently to mix before mixing into the wet ingredients. fold or mix in the chocolate chips (or chocolate chips & walnuts).

bake for 1 hour (may need up to 1hr 20 min), testing for doneness (middle will not feel jiggly or squishy, and the edges will come away from the sides of the pan). if you're not sure whether your loaf is done, stick a knife in to see if it comes out clean. if you're still not sure, just bake it more. i prefer a slightly overbaked loaf to a mushy one any day :) allow loaves to cool slightly in their pans, then turn them out onto plates or platters to serve. enjoy with a hot cup of tea and a rainy autumn afternoon. 

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