Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oil-Free Vegan Banana Bread

The past couple of months my family has been hoovering banana bread.  I started tweaking my original recipe of  Maple Banana Bread from TEV.  Not that it needed much tweaking, it's pretty great as is.  But, I wanted to test subbing out the kamut flour and also omitting the oil.

My vegan recipes began largely from a low-fat approach.  Those of you that own my books know that I wrote my first book, The Everyday Vegan, after my father-in-law had a heart attack.  He lay in the hospital shocked and frightened.  I remember my mother-in-law looking at me in the waiting room, crying, saying "we are going to start eating vegetarian".  You see, when they talked to the cardiologist about treatments and recovery, they wanted real change for this condition, rather than undergo a medical procedure and then go back to living the same way only to have another heart attack several years later (as often happens).  His cardiologist was a vegetarian, and recommended he follow Dr. Dean Ornish's program for reversing heart disease.

My husband's parents changed their diet overnight, throwing out the meat and dairy and eggs, and switching to a low-fat vegan diet.  (And, there were no vegan meats or subs, just non-dairy milks and the basics like tofu; they ate a whole-foods plant-based diet from the start).  They also began exercising, slowly at first, and then more heartily (so to speak!) once they regained strength and vitality.  The transition wasn't easy for them, but I remember them asking me how to cook, what to eat, what to do??!  That was when I began putting all my scraps of recipes together into a proper manuscript and took on more testing and recipe creations - and that became my first book, The Everyday Vegan.

In TEV, my focus was to give healthy "everyday" recipes that everyday kind of folks (like my in-laws) could make.  Most (not all, but most) of the recipes I designed low-fat, and they all include nutritional analysis.  So, even the baked goods are primarily low-fat, with things like "Apple Cherry Crisp", "Banana Ice Cream", "Apple Swirl Loaf", "As-You-Like Muffins" (recipe link), and... Maple Banana Bread.

I've heard from some of you that follow a no-oil/low-oil vegan diet - one gal in particular that is needing a Banana Bread recipe - as in yesterday.  So, I'm posting it today.   Now, you see in the photos I've added chocolate chips (which aren't low-fat).  The chips are optional (not in my house, but optional)! ;)  But, the chocolate chips are a bit of a memory for me.

I used to babysit for my eldest sister, Debbie.  We have 6 girls in our family, all "D's".  Some early mornings when I'd babysit, there was homemade chocolate chip banana bread on her counter.  I believe she used mini-chips (which I can't get my hands on right now in vegan form).  Anyhow, I remember thinking that combination was the best. thing. ever.  Now, our kids eat this banana bread and I'm the best. mom. ever.  Until they have to clean up.

Enough said, here is my slightly revised Maple Banana Bread.  It is moist and sweet and delicious, sweetened only with the bananas and maple syrup, and as mentioned, no oil added.  Chocolate chips mood optional!
Maple Banana Bread
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or a generous cup of spelt flour, about 1 cup + 2-3 tbsp)
3/4 cup oat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup pureed overripe banana (puree bananas in deep cup with an immersion blender, or in a blender.  Puree first, then measure!)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I like almond milk, but you can use soy or other)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
handful of non-dairy chocolate chips (optional - kind of)
Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine mashed banana, maple syrup, soy milk, vanilla, and oil. Add wet mixture to dry (and chocolate chips, if using), and stir through until just well combined (don't overmix). Wipe a loaf pan lightly with oil.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 43-48 minutes, until golden and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let cool completely before slicing.  

Recipe copyright Dreena Burton.

25 comments:

Teresa said...

My family is trying to go "oil-free" (that darn Caldwell Esselstyne has been a big influence on us) so I am so excited to try this recipe. I love banana bread!

Teresa Pitman

Fayinagirl (means Free One) said...

The texture of that banana bread looks fantastic. Adding this recipe to my "things to make for the fam" list. :-)

Baughface said...

Yay! Thanks!! So I'm the one who asked you for the recipe. A couple questions.

How do I do this recipe in muffin tins and papers? The last batch of banana bread I made that had 1/2 oil, 1/2 apple sauce the bread stuck terribly to the papers and was a mess. I guess I don't have to use muffin papers, but it makes it so much easier for eating at a park party!

From the pictures it looks very "bread" like instead of "moist quick bread" -know what I mean? Is that the case with this recipe? I was hoping for a real moist cake like banana bread I guess, but I've had no luck with anything so far. Any way to make this recipe more moist and cakey if it's not that way to begin with?

I do not have maple syrup or pastry flour - would agave and hard white whole wheat flour work? Maple is one of my FAVES, but I'm not sure of the likelihood of me getting it before baking day.

Sorry for so many questions! Thanks for posting the recipe! I gotta get all my questions in before Friday baking! :-D

Dreena said...

welcome baughface! I've made them in muffins before, they don't stick to the papers. Also, I've done them in mini-muffin pans, with just a wipe of oil beforehand (you need that), and they worked great too - that might be good for your party for the kiddos if you have a mini-muffin pan. I think I baked them for about 14 mins in the mini-pan, imp not to bake too long in those pans b/c they dry out *quickly*. My photos are not the best (and it is more moist than it looks), but this is definitely a quick-bread, like a classic banana bread. Very moist, nice and sweet, would work well for your cupcake-sub. Just be sure if baking as minis or regular muffins, you don't overbake - to keep them moist and cake-like. My kids BEG me for this bread, so that should tell you right there - very kid-friendly, and kids don't like dry baked goods (well, who does, but kids won't fake it!!) I wouldn't go for agave, to be honest. The flavor is so good with the maple syrup, plus it's healthier. I'd make the trip for the maple syrup - I'd say sure, sub the agave if it was only a few tbsps, but it's 1/2 cup worth. Whole-wheat flour will make it a little heavier/grainier, less 'cake-y', so again, I'd try to go for pastry, but that's up to you. Good luck!

Baughface said...

Thanks so much for the reply, Dreena! Okay, I think I may get one more trial run in before party baking, so I can give the whole wheat flour a try and see what happens.

If I can't get the maple syrup, to your knowledge, will the agave effect anything but the flavor and healthiness? I might be able to squeeze a store trip tomorrow, but we'll have to see. (Btw, is agave really less healthy than maple syrup? I had no idea! Can you give me a why, out of curiosity?)

Thanks for clarifying about the pictures and the moist level. That makes me feel much better about using it for a cupcake substitute for a birthday. I don't have mini muffin tins, but there won't actually be a lot of little kids there, so I think the regular size will be fine. Do you have a recommended baking time for regular sized muffins?

And I assume this would be scrumptious with a cashew frosting on top, right? (Cause that's the plan and I'd hate to change one more thing this late in the game! ;-) )

Thanks!!!

Born to be Vegan said...

Dreena I use the enjoy life brand of mini chocolate chips. As far as I know there vegan (I just checked their site - they are!) and they are fantastic! Not sure where you could pick them up in your neck of the woods - I buy them at Save-On-Foods or Planet Organic.

peanutbutterandginger said...

You are my hero! I've been looking for a banana bread recipe to replace my old non-vegan favorite and I think I've just found it!

Thank you SO much!

Hannah said...

Bananas are *finally* starting to come down in price here after being $3.50 each for almost a year. As soon as I can justify the splurge, I'm making this!

Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or less!) said...

Beautiful! Wish this was scratch and sniff!

vegan.in.brighton said...

That looks perfect, I love chocolate chips in banana bread & I can't wait to try your recipe.

Dreena said...

Baughface, if baking in regular muffin-size pans, depends on if you are filling about 1/3 - 1/2 way (so they are flat on top for frosting), or filling more full so they rise over the liner. If filling about 1/2 way, I'd say bake about 17-18 mins, checking for doneness - and longer for fuller muffins, about 20 - 23 mins. As for the agave, I do use it. There is a lot of discussion about its 'healthfulness', as it is touted for having a low glycemic index, however, it is also very high in fructose, which can be taxing on the body. So, I opt for maple syrup for a liquid sweetener when I can, but there are times I do use agave when I don't want the pronounced maple flavor, or when I need a lighter color. Also, if I'm using just a little in a recipe, I'm not too concerned. But, overall, I use maple syrup when I can, or an unrefined sugar like coconut sugar. I think the flavor of this bread benefits from the maple syrup too, so worth using. And, as for the frosting, I think a cashew frosting would be dynamite - nuts and bananas always a good combo!!

Dreena said...

Hannah, $3.50/lb?!!! Yikes, that's steep. I'd be holding off too, but we use bananas in our smoothies every day too - a year is a long time to wait!!! :)

Baughface said...

Okay, I bow to the professionals. 25 minutes in muffin tins in papers, and the banana bread is like perfect. No sticking, fully cooked, light and fluffy, really moist, and very good. I would say I'll leave the experimentation to the professionals (and you better believe I will for a while after this last round of failed experimentation), but I'm sure I will be back at it messing around with some recipe trying to tweak it to be vegan and as healthy as possible.

Long story short, I baked up a half batch this morning to test them with the ingredients I had on hand, and they worked beautifully!! I used hard white whole wheat and agave. And while I'm sure the maple is even tastier, this batch was yummier than anything else I've made. I think I'll lessen the nutmeg by a tad next time, but otherwise it was perfect.

Thank you SO much for taking the time to post this recipe in time for me to use it for my Saturday party! This takes such a weight off my mind knowing that I have a healthy cake substitute that I'm not worried about being an absolute flop and that is completely vegan! (Nothing worse than taking a failed vegan dessert somewhere for people to roll their eyes at go "yeeaaa...told ya") Thanks thanks! :)

Dreena said...

Awesome!! Really happy to hear your report, this recipe works for me all the time, and pleases so many when it has no refined sugar, no oil, and no white flour! I'm delighted you like it as well, and always wise to do a test run before a party or event - smart cookie! Smarter muffin! :)

peanutbutterandginger said...

Yep, just made this today subbing in some unsweetened chocolate chopped up in place of the chocolate chips.

Best banana bread ever!

Dreena said...

Sweet!! Thanks pb&ginger!

Gatta22 said...

Hi Dreena,

This is the first banana bread that I've made so I was really excited to see this come up, especially on the day that I decided I needed to do something with my three overly ripe bananas-perfect timing!

It turned out great; however, my only issue was that since I was afraid of over-mixing it, I just just stirred it with a fork until the dry and wet ingredients were combined. The batter was a bit lumpy, but I figured it would go away during baking. There were still a few lumps in the bread after baking. What would you suggest as a way to combine the ingredients to get all the lumps out but also not over mixing it? Should I be using different tools? Should I have been using a whisk? I don't bake all the time so I'm still learning all the tricks of the trade.

Thanks!

Gatta22 said...

Hi Dreena,

This is the first banana bread that I've made so I was really excited to see this come up, especially on the day that I decided I needed to do something with my three overly ripe bananas-perfect timing!

It turned out great; however, my only issue was that since I was afraid of over-mixing it, I just just stirred it with a fork until the dry and wet ingredients were combined. The batter was a bit lumpy, but I figured it would go away during baking. There were still a few lumps in the bread after baking. What would you suggest as a way to combine the ingredients to get all the lumps out but also not over mixing it? Should I be using different tools? Should I have been using a whisk? I don't bake all the time so I'm still learning all the tricks of the trade.

Thanks!

Dreena said...

Gatta, that's a really good question, and it's a bit of a fine line with baking. You do need to mix until it's well incorporated. I use a large metal or wooden spoon. So give that batter a good working through - but then stop. Once you've got it all mixed, all smooth with not dry mix remaining at the bottom or anywhere else, and yes - no lumps - you're good. The problem is when you keep mixing and mixing and mixing, and that activates the glutens in the flour (especially with whole-wheat flour, a little less so with spelt or barley flour, but still a consideration). When that happens, the batter becomes tough and more bread-like. So, don't be afraid to work the batter, get in there and give it a good ol' stirring through. But, once you have it good and uniform and ready to eat with a spoon, you're ready to pour into the pan! Does that make sense? Sorry if that caused confusion, and it's a really good point you bring up, I'm sure others wonder the same. Would be good if I could get some videos up. Maybe between keeping the toddler busy, activities, homework, chores I'll get to it... ;)
Thanks for the note!

Tanya said...

Boy does this look good. Must make it!! Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Dreena,

thanks for the oil free recipe! I am eating lowfat vegan and it's great to find a oil free baked dessert that is delicious. I made this banana bread recipe and it came out GREAT! You created my favorite muffin recipe that I make a lot - Berry Goodness Muffins from ED&BV -which I replace oil with more applesauce. They are perfect! I change it with different berries, add poppy seeds, etc. Thanks for your blog and great recipes (my non-vegan family was treated to your creations last Christmas Dinner! and they loved the food)

Teresa C
Shoreline WA

Dreena said...

Teresa, what a lovely note, it always means a lot to know a recipe is well-received, so I'm really pleased that you loved this banana bread - and the ed&bv muffins too! Thanks so much. :)

Anonymous said...

My son and I just loved it! I used spelt flour and it was good. I did not have plain almond milk so I used vanilla almond milk and omit the actual vanilla. It was great!
Caroline

Dreena said...

Wonderful Caroline! I often make it with spelt too, glad you tried that variation. Thanks for the feedback. :) :)

bk said...

This was delicious! I couldn't find oat flour, in fact, i don't know what that is, so I used a bit extra whole wheat flour and then between 1/4 and 1/2 cup oat bran. I also only used 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and added a tiny bit of honey and two spoonfuls of applesauce. I'm just getting into vegan/healthier styles of baking and this was perfect and easy :)