A flavorful and healthy whole wheat banana nut bread recipe! Made with wholesome ingredients like chopped walnuts, applesauce, coconut oil, and honey.
What do you do with a bunch of sad bananas growing brown spots sitting on your counter? Don’t let those overripe bananas go to waste! You a few of options. Freeze them for smoothies, or bake something! I decided to fire up my oven and make a simple banana nut bread recipe.
I found a way to intensify the banana flavor and add wholesome ingredients into each irresistible slice. Don’t waste your money on banana nut bread at Starbucks. Learn my secret baking tips in this recipe and make a tasty loaf at home. Good thing it’s large enough to share because everyone is going to want a piece of warm banana bread fresh from the oven!
How to Make Banana Nut Bread
- Intensify Flavor: When researching about banana bread recipes, I came across America’s Test Kitchen. There are some interesting methods used to make the flavor pop, so I’m incorporating that key step to enhance the taste. The bananas are microwaved to soften and separate the moisture from the fruit. The cooked bananas are drained, but the expressed moisture is cooked down and added back to the bananas for a stronger flavor. Yum!
- Add Whole Grains: I’m a big fan of white whole wheat flour. It has all of the nutritional benefits of fiber and whole grains, but the wheat is more tender and softer when baked.
- Natural Sweetener: Honey adds a natural way to sweeten and tenderize the banana bread.
- Make it Rise: The eggs and baking soda are leavening agents, allowing the mixture to rise and have a nice dome shape.
- Reduce the Fat: Did you know that you can replace unsweetened apple sauce with fats like butter and oil in baking? Yes, you can! However, since using whole wheat flour, it can taste dry. A little bit of coconut oil is added to the batter to prevent the banana bread from drying out.
- Add Crunch: Chopped walnuts add a nice texture to the bread, it also has nutritional benefits like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, folate, and may even support heart and brain health.
The banana quick bread batter has a pleasant nutty aroma even before baking. I couldn’t wait to take a bite hot from the oven! With this culinary method, I am delighted to see how moist the whole wheat banana nut bread is. No more dry cardboard texture!
The walnuts give the bread a lovely crunch on top and inside. The coarsely mashed bananas, pureed apples, and coconut oil add just the right flavor and tenderness.
Are you ready to dig in? Grab a cup of tea or coffee and let’s start the morning right with a healthy slice of banana nut bread.
The microwaved banana method gives the perfect flavor. This recipe yields 10 large servings, so there is plenty to share or meal prep for a week’s worth of grab and go breakfast. This recipe’s texture is perfect if you want to try a bread pudding or banana bread french toast since it doesn’t crumble easily to the touch. There are so many ways to enjoy this recipe even after it’s fresh out of the oven!
Why should you use ripened bananas?
Have your bananas turned brown or speckled on the skin? No worries! This is the perfect time to use them for this banana nut bread recipe. The more spotted the banana, the more the starch has converted to fructose, a natural sweetener found in fruit. You can taste the difference if you eat a greenish yellow skinned banana versus a very ripe one. If you don’t use very ripe bananas, the flavor and sweetness will not be the same.
Whole Wheat Banana Nut Bread
- vegetable cooking spray, for coating baking pan
- 5 medium bananas, very ripe and peeled
- 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, divided
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour, or whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8 ½ by 4 ½ - inch loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray.
- Place 5 peeled bananas in a medium sized separate bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Microwave for 4 minutes, until the bananas are soft and have released liquid from the fruit. Transfer bananas to a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and allow to drain, occasionally stirring, for 10 minutes. There will be about ½ to ¾ cup liquid retained in the bowl.
- Toast walnuts in a medium sized pan over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until fragrant, crunchy and lightly toasted. Roughly chop 1/2 cup. Chop 1/4 cup into finer pieces for topping on bread.
- Transfer drained liquid to a medium saute pan and cook over medium-high heat, until reduce to 1/8 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into the cooked bananas, and mash until mostly smooth. Whisk in applesauce, coconut oil, eggs, honey, and vanilla.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.
- Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and gently fold with a spatula until just combined, with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Sprinkle 1/4 cup chopped walnuts evenly over the loaf.
- Place banana bread pan on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of the loaf comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 min, then turn it onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving. Banana bread can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.