perfect one bowl vegan banana bread
For some reason, when I road trip, I insist on packing bananas. I don’t know why I do this, as when I walk back through my front door, I’m carrying the same big bunch back into my kitchen, only this time they are full of spots and bruises. In my ongoing quest to never waste food, I dutifully peel, chop, and freeze them, and there they sit - a giant heap of banana bits just waiting to see what’s next in their fruitless (see what I did there?) lives. Well, not this time!
I just got back from a much needed six day road trip to the mountains of Leadville, Colorado, where my chosen trail family gathered to climb fourteeners, run, and toast beers around the campfire. As we unloaded the truck, I, once again, took note of the mason jars that were packed with homemade trail mix, the empty hummus bowl, and few straggler carrots floating around the bottom of the cooler. And then there it was: the crinkled paper Whole Foods bag full of uneaten, banged up bananas. Do NOT do it, Adi. Your freezer functions as more than just a banana holder. Use. Them. Now.
Not one to choose the obvious route, I browsed the internet searching for inspiration. I dug through my cookbooks (yes, in this digital age, I still have them). I dug through friends’ cookbooks. I went back to the internet and spent another far too long a session weeding through “what to do with old bananas” results before finally deciding on the obvious. And with that, I bring you this mildly sweet, maximally moist, perfect banana bread. And of course it’s vegan!
makes one loaf
1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe banana*
1/3 cup non-dairy milk**
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil
2 Tbs maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbs ground flax seed
1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2-3 Tbs maple sugar***
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1) Preheat oven to 350˚ and lightly grease or spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2) Add 1/3 cup non-dairy milk and lemon juice to a small measuring mug and set aside.
3) In a large mixing bowl, stir together mashed banana, maple syrup, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, and flax seed very well.
4) Stir in the non-dairy milk mixture.
5) Add flour, oats, soda, powder, salt, and chopped walnuts, if using. Stir just until incorporated, avoiding the tendency to overmix.
6) Scoop into the prepared loaf pan and tent with foil.
7) Bake for 47 to 55 minutes, removing the foil tent after 25 minutes. You can test for doneness with the toothpick method or watching for the top of the loaf to spring back when lightly pressed.
*The more ripe the banana, the more natural sweetness it adds.
**I use my homemade cashew milk.
***Brown sugar or coconut sugar can easily be subbed for maple sugar.
notes: Be sure to refrigerate any leftovers. They are delicious lightly skillet-toasted and spread with vegan butter or your favorite natural nut butter.