(Note: this post was originally published on May 9, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
Banana bread is the most wonderful treat for any time of year and any occasion. But what's even better than banana bread??
How about this epic banana bread that's absolutely loaded with bananas (it contains three!), studded with buttery macadamia nuts, and kissed with beautifully fragrant orange? Yup, this is truly banana bread heaven.
You'll notice that I use the word "nourishing" in the title. Even though this bread is "free" of a lot of things, I usually prefer to focus on what's in a recipe rather than what's not in it. That's because I think of food as a way to nourish both the body and soul, and don't consider any foods as inherently bad. Simply put, this bread is loaded with good-for-you AND delicious ingredients.
This bread is loaded with good-for-the-body ingredients, making it a great breakfast, anytime snack, or dessert. In terms of its structure, this bread contains a mix of almond and coconut flours. Both are nutrient-dense, containing abundant protein and fiber. This bread gets its moisture from three (!!!) bananas, some drippy natural almond butter, and flax seed meal. It's naturally sweetened with just a touch of maple syrup.
For those of you keeping track, it's completely vegan and free of all refined sugars and flours. It's also incredibly moist and flavorful, with a hearty, dense structure.
I had to make this bread a LOT of times to finally get the ratios right. I wanted it to be moist but not spongy, delicate but not crumbly, loaded with flavor, and powered with ingredients I was excited to eat. Needless to say, Dave and I have eaten a lot of banana bread lately during all my experimenting. But I'm so excited about the finished product, and I can honestly say it's the most nourishing and also the most delicious banana bread I've come across.
This is another recipe I've developed in collaboration with my friends at Mauna Loa on the big island of Hawaii, a.k.a. the producers of the most heavenly macadamia nuts. The decadent, buttery, crunchy nuts make an appearance both within this bread and on top of it. I'm a firm believer that banana bread needs some crunch, and MacNuts are the perfect way to do it. Plus, MacNuts, bananas, and oranges are all grown in Hawaii, so they're meant to be together!
Although I adore anything with icing, it's generally the least-healthy part of any baked good. As written, the recipe below calls for a standard confectioner's sugar icing, made with orange juice (or even better, orange liqueur!). It's delicious and beautiful. That said, you have options for your icing strategy, so pick what works for you. Here are some possibilities:
Option #1 (as written in the recipe): The prettiest and easiest. Use about 1 c of confectioner's sugar and add tiny increments of orange juice or orange liqueur until you have a thick, drizzly icing. This is what I've shown in the photos. It makes this bread so beautiful and adds a decadent bit of sweetness.
Option #2: No refined sugar, white, but messy. If you'd rather stay away from refined sugar, one possibility is to heat up and drizzle some coconut butter. It has a nice color, but won't harden in the same way that a confectioner's sugar icing does, so it's messier and will soak into the bread.
Option #3: No refined sugar, super tasty, but not great color. Use some almond butter as your icing base. Stir in a dash of maple syrup to sweeten it up, and add a bit of melted coconut oil (not water!) if you need to thin it out.
Option #4: Leave it naked. This bread is still delicious without icing, but it doesn't have the same visual appeal or decadence.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
A slice of this, maybe with some almond butter on top, would make for the most lovely breakfast, snack, or lunch. We've been jazzing it up with a drizzle of chocolate for dessert. Warm a slice up in the microwave for 20 seconds and magic occurs, especially because the orange smells absolutely amazing. If you really want to go crazy, toast a slice in a skillet!
I think we have a misconception in our society that "comfort food" is inherently bad for you, whereas "healthy food" is inherently boring. It doesn't need to be that way! This bread is an especially good example of a decadent, indulgent treat that will nourish the body as well as the soul.
Make yourself a loaf and slather a thick, warm slice with almond butter. It's instant happiness.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: Mauna Loa is a long-term partner and I receive free product. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
Banana bread gets an unexpected update with fragrant orange and crunchy macadamia nuts. This version is loaded with good-for-the-body ingredients too!