Banana bread has got to be one of the most versatile quick breads on the go (a bread leavened with baking powder and/or baking soda vs. yeast is considered a “quick” bread). Countless recipes and variations proliferate on Pinterest and elsewhere on the internet. And rightfully so! Banana bread is healthy, nutritious and downright delicious! The natural sweetness of bananas means that often no other sweetener is needed (as in this recipe) and bananas’ binding properties make them great in gluten-free baking as well. Plus, there’s something so comforting and appealing about the smell of banana bread baking in the oven. I figured it couldn’t hurt to add yet another easy, healthy recipe to the mix. High in protein (as always), this recipe is also gluten-free, low fat (no added oils or butter) and features super-trendy, delicious, high-fiber coconut flour!
“Aw, coconuts!” is actually an expression I hear around my house a lot lately. The Golden Graham Boy (GGB) is a big fan of “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” (for those of you over the age of 7 and/or without children in the house, it’s a Disney Junior spin-off from the original “Peter Pan” – Jake and his pirate friends Cubby and Izzy fend of that “sneaky snook, Captain Hook” and his Number Two, Mr. Smee, while Peter Pan is away from Neverland, across the Never Sea. I can even sing the theme song by heart – you’ll have to trust me on that one because I won’t subject you to a video or audio clip). At any rate, GGB has adopted this saying as one of his favourite personal expressions when something doesn’t quite work out as expected. I’ll admit that I uttered a few “aw, coconuts” myself while testing out this recipe!
Bear with me folks, I’m new to this trendy coconut flour thing (and honestly, it’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to “trendy” in any regard). Coconut flour has such a high fiber content (11g of fiber per ounce of coconut flour!) that it’s very, very absorbent of the wet ingredients in a recipe. This means it isn’t used as a 1:1 swap for wheat flours or even other gluten-free flours (learn more about coconut flour and baking with it here). And, because it’s gluten-free, it doesn’t help the dough to stick together. And hey, gluten-free is all the rage these days – I know it’s very important to people diagnosed with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that can be very damaging to the intestines due to the body’s inability to properly digest gluten – plus many others find that they just feel better when they don’t eat gluten. In case you didn’t know, “gluten” is the combination of two different forms of protein that are found in wheat “endosperm” – I’m not making this up! – that help to give dough made with wheat flour its elasticity. So, I had to make sure that there were enough eggs and bananas in the recipe (the proteins in egg whites and the pectin in bananas are binding agents, i.e. they help foods to stick together) for this bread to actually hold together and not fall apart! Does anyone else have experience baking with coconut flour? I’d love to hear about your successes (and failures) in the comments!
The good news is, I’ve done all of the testing for you so you can just sit back, throw a few things in the blender and then let your oven do the rest.
Coconut Oatmeal Banana Bread (Gluten-free, High-protein, Low-fat, Refined sugar-free)
A protein-packed banana bread with the goodness of whole grain oats and high-fiber coconut flour. Moist, dense and delicious, but with no added oil or butter, this makes a perfect “anytime” snacking cake or healthy breakfast option.
2 medium bananas (250g), in chunks
2/3 cup (175mL or 160g) unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup (113g) plain non-fat Greek yogourt
1 1/2 cups (120g) rolled oats, whole-grain, quick or instant – make sure these are gluten-free, if you require
2 scoops (42g) vanilla or natural (unflavoured) brown rice protein powder – I used Sunwarrior* brand
1/4 cup (30g) coconut flour – I used Edward & Sons Organic Coconut Flour*
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp (5mL or 4g) coconut extract (also try almond extract for a subtle flavour variation)
1 1/2 tsp (10g) baking soda
1 1/2 tsp (7g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2g) sea salt
Optional 2-3 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (flakes), toasted or un-toasted for topping
1. Preheat a conventional oven to 350F (185C) or a convection oven to 325F (165C).
2. Line a standard loaf pan (8 1/2″ x 4″ or 9″ x 5″ – baking time will vary slightly) or 8″ x 8″ square pan with parchment paper OR grease with coconut oil, butter or non-stick cooking spray.
3. Add the first three ingredients (bananas, almond milk and yogurt) to a large blender (I used my Vitamix) and process at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
4. Combine the next three dry ingredients (oats, protein powder and coconut flour) in a large mixing bowl or shake in a sealable container. Pour slowly and steadily into the blender via the top feeder while processing at low-medium speed.
5. When dry ingredients are fully incorporated, add the remaining ingredients and process briefly at medium-high speed. The leavening (rising) agents baking powder and baking soda will begin their reaction immediately (bubbles will start forming in the batter) so it’s best to not over-process the batter and begin baking promptly.
6. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using, sprinkle with shredded coconut.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes for 8″ x 8″ square pan or 50-60+ minutes for loaf pan. If top of banana bread begins to over-brown, cover with foil and continue baking until a cake tester inserted in center comes out nearly clean (be patient – this can take awhile because this bread is so gosh darn moist!). It is normal for this quick bread to rise substantially during baking and then to “deflate” as it cools with a crispy “crust” on the top of the bread.
8. Allow to cool completely in pan on a wire rack before storing or serving. Makes 8 very generous, thick slices or large pieces!
NUTRITION INFORMATION (without shredded coconut)
Calories: 151 Fat: 3.2g Carbohydrates: 22.3g Sugar: 5.1g Fiber: 4.4g Protein: 9.8g
Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 3-5 days (if it lasts that long) – this makes a wonderful snacking cake any time of day (or night)! A great tip is to wrap each slice/piece individually for a great grab-and-go option.
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*Please note that I am currently NOT sponsored by or affiliated with any particular brand, company or product. Any ideas, comments or opinions are my own, as mentioned in my Product Review page. However, if you choose to purchase new-to-you products I recommend using the link(s) I provide, I can earn a small credit. More information on that is available here.
Some process shots:
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