Low-Sugar & Deceptively Decadent Banana Bread

You’d have to work pretty hard to persuade me that anything rising slowly in the oven can make your house smell quite as a good as a fresh, moist, perfectly constructed loaf of banana bread. 

As a Hawaii-born island girl, banana bread has been on the top of my breakfast necessities and favorite baked goods lists since I was old enough to get my mouth around the 3-syllable word. Now as a 34-week preggo, however, the butter, eggs, sugar, (and even lard in the island recipes,) would normally have me shelving my love for the loaf. 

At around 25 weeks I opted out of the standard diabetes testing and instead decided to adopt a super low sugar, extra active lifestyle to mitigate the effects should I have been diagnosed. Fast forward to my near – accidental and revolutionary discovery of what I believe to be the world’s best banana bread, and lo, it just so happens to be vegan, cholesterol free, and extra low sugar. With 1/4 cup of maple syrup used in place of the usual cup or more of refined sugar, this perfectly dense and deceptively decadent loaf clocks in at just 340 calories and 10g of sugar per hefty slice (half of my daily sugar allowance – leaving room for a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk or medjool date after dinner if I simply can’t help myself. Hana hou!

The trick to this bread is the use of almond flour in place of boring old white flour and selecting very over-ripe, (I’m talking peels turning brown and black,) bananas.

This nutty and flavorful cousin to the much heavier, traditional banana bread is by no-means for vegans and weight watchers only. Its delicious, chewy, almond-coconut flavor will easily kick the butt of fattier and sweeter versions, having quickly becoming the favorite recipe of the banana bread lovers in my family, islanders and French husband alike. This is good news, especially for those of us watching our sugar intake (an increasingly difficult task in today’s world of packaged foods,) or wanting to lighten up on animal products. 

Ingredients:

Makes 8 servings, 340 calories per serving

  • 3 medium, very over-ripe bananas or roughly 240 grams
  • 1/4 cup organic maple syrup 
  • 1/2 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or soy milk 
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (GF option: Use 2 cups almond flour and adjust baking soda as listed below) 
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda (GF option: If using all almond flour, increase baking soda to 1 tsp and skip the salt.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cacao nibs 
  • Optional topping after baking: shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350° F and lightly oil the bottom and sides of a 22 x 11 x 6 cm loaf pan.
  • In large bowl, combine your wet and then dry ingredients: bananas, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, almond milk and vinegar. Once smooth, add flour, cacao nibs, baking soda and salt and stir until just combined. Pour into pan.
  • Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing. 

Nutrition (per serving):

Calories: 340; Total Fat: 32.9g; Saturated Fat: 16g; Polyunsaturated: 0.6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 6.6mg; Carbohydrate: 24.4g; Dietary Fiber: 6.8g; Sugar: 10.1g; Protein: 8.1 g

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