I’m pregnant at the moment and have been craving banana bread. In an effort to come up with a recipe that’s tasty AND nutritious I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients and have landed on the following which I find works well. It’s gluten, dairy and refined sugar free so great for those with food intolerances.
I use a good portion of freshly ground linseeds/flax seeds which are extremely high in omega-3 essential fatty acids (higher than any other plant-based food) and are excellent for cardiovascular health. Linseeds are rich in lignans which are fibre-like compounds that have been credited for helping reduce the risk of cancer, in particular breast cancer. Linseeds are also considered to be particularly beneficial for the digestive tract thanks to their mucilage (gum) content.
In place of gluten-free flour I’ve used amaranth which is an ancient Aztec seed with similar properties to quinoa. Amaranth is relatively high in protein and contains the amino acid lysine rendering it’s protein a “whole protein” which is particularly beneficial for vegetarians. The peptides in amaranth contain anti-inflammatory properties which are thought to help those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and stroke. Amaranth contains rutin which has been linked to strengthening capillary walls and helping to protect against varicose veins.
For a great flavour boost I use almond meal. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants and have been proven to help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
In place of butter I’ve used coconut oil which is nature’s richest source of saturated fat. Contrary to conventional medical advice, the saturated fat in coconut oil is thought to help the body lower bad cholesterol and increase the levels of healthy cholesterol and therefore promote cardiovascular health.
Bananas are a good source of potassium which helps the body maintain normal blood pressure and berries are low in sugar and high in antioxidants.
- 2-3 ripe bananas (if they’re small I’ll use 3, if they’re large I’ll use 2)
- 2 large eggs
- 70g/half a cup of ground linseeds/flaxseeds*
- 70g/half a cup of amaranth flour
- 60g/half a cup of almond meal
- 30g/quarter of a cup of tapioca flour/starch
- 125ml/half a cup of coconut oil, melted
- 80ml/one third cup sweetener of your choice (maple syrup, coconut nectar, honey, dark agave)
- 100g/1 cup mixed berries (I use frozen berries if fresh aren’t in season)
- 1 teaspoon good quality baking soda (choose aluminium free)
*I like to grind the linseeds/flaxeeds myself (I use a coffee/spice grinder) to ensure that they are fresh as their fats oxidise over time.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Grease your baking tin
- Add the ground linseeds/flaxseeds, amaranth, tapioca and baking soda to a mixing bowl
- In a food processor (you can use a blender if you don’t have one) mix the eggs, sweetener and ripe bananas and coconut oil for a minute or so until smooth and fluffy
- Add the banana mixture to the dry mixture and mix well
- Fold in the berries
- Add to the tin and bake for 40 minutes. Insert a skewer, if it comes out clean remove from the oven. If not allow to cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Once removed from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool