Heavenly and Sweet Re-do on Grandma’s Favorite Banana Bread- the HealthStyle Way!
As winter sets in (and boy has it ever here in MN) we can’t help but think about those mornings when grandma would come visit and we would wake up on a cold Saturday morning to a kitchen full of sweet scents. We knew we were in for some delicious tasting goodies. There is nothing like that smell and the feeling you get when you indulge in a sinful tasty treat. Our all-time favorite was her banana bread. Totally full of things that today we might cringe over, but boy did we love it back in the day!
When we look at grandma’s recipes today, there is no way we would even think about making that banana bread, let alone eating it! So sad! But luckily when it is minus 6 outside, you get some time to play around in your kitchen!
Our mission was simple, make grandma’s bread – but a healthy version! This meant finding healthy alternatives for the refined white sugar, Crisco shortening, processed white flour and dairy. We wanted a finished product that was light, moist and as naturally sweet as possible. An added bonus would be to sneak in something from the vegetable family, this way we could start our day with a serving or two of veggies while we indulge! Being able to substitute different fruit and vegetables as the seasons change would also make this a more versatile snack that could be enjoyed year round.
So... we played around with many different flours looking for a blend that would allow us to use up the excessive almond meal we have left over from making our fresh almond milk. Since the almond meal is a bit dense adding in oat flour helped to lighten it up and throwing in just a bit of flax meal boosted the omega 3’s and fiber. This triple flour/meal combination will be perfect in helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
The original recipe called for “sour milk” or basically milk with white vinegar. Of course, we want to go dairy free so a healthier alternative we used was almond milk and apple cider vinegar. This combo also helped bring in airiness during the baking process as it mixed with the baking soda and became active.
We replaced the white sugar with a combination of coconut sugar (love the extra minerals and the rich taste) and honey (during the winter the benefits from the local bees is a boost for the immune system).
Ghee is a rich and decadent replacement for Crisco. Plus Ghee is a heathy fat with good Omega 3’s and will aid in managing dry skin, depression (our brains need healthy fats,) mood swings and balance blood sugar levels.
There was no need to replace the real eggs because of the protein and B vitamin benefits, but they can easily be swapped for flax eggs or chia eggs (see recipe for swap options).
Playing around with the fruit and veggie options was the most fun! In honor of Grandma, we kept the banana, but wanted to balance out the sugar load by adding in blueberries, zucchini and carrots. If you want to further reduce the sugar, swap the carrots for yellow squash. The possibilities are endless! A few of our other favorite combo’s are: sweet potato, zucchini, cranberry and banana (cinnamon and nutmeg are great adds to this version). Or ditch the banana altogether and try a raspberry, blueberry and zucchini combo, just keep the fruit and veggie ratios the same.
Let us know any great combinations you’ve tried in the comments below, and find the full Guilt-Free Banana Bread recipe here!