What do you do when the bananas are so over-ripe that they’re practically inedible? In my house, there are basically two choices: freeze them for smoothies or make banana bread. So I put it to a family vote, and the response was unanimous: Banana Bread!
I’ve been making the same banana bread for years. The recipe comes from my dog-eared, much loved copy of Laurel’s Kitchen, the very first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought.
I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, and the book’s margins show it. There are notes giving the nutritional values with oil and with butter (from before I was vegan) and with reduced amounts of oil and light margarine, for vegan banana bread. But there are no notes about completely eliminating the fat; I usually made the recipe for guests, and I tended to allow a little oil or margarine when cooking for others.
But I wanted to make it oil-free this time, so I looked for guidance in another old, but new to me, book that I picked up last week at an antique store: the 1994 edition of Fat-Free Baking by Sandra Woodruff, RD. It’s not a vegan cookbook, but its recipes really are fat-free and many look to be low in sugar, too. So I looked at what I like about the Laurel’s Kitchen recipe and I looked at Ms. Woodruff’s recipe, and I sort of combined the two.
And then I threw in my own twist: dried cherries. This was a last minute decision on my part. I was trying to decide whether or not to include dates when I remembered that I had a package of dried cherries I’d bought to make Pop-Ems. So I threw them in. Feel free to throw them out, but be warned–you’ll be missing a treat if you do. The cherries add a wonderful sweet-tart taste to this vegan banana bread that you might not want to miss.
Cherry-Walnut Banana Bread
- 3 over-ripe bananas
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/2 cup dark sugar (brown sugar, if you have it; I used demerara sugar)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (optional, though leaving them out will require a name change)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and add apple sauce and sugar. Stir well to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and stir just until the mixture is well-combined.
- Spray or wipe a loaf pan with oil or use a silicon loaf pan. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.
Nutritional info is approximate.