Friday, March 12, 2010

Healthy Whole Grain Banana Bread With Walnuts or Chocolate Chips (or Both!)

Doug making his famous banana bread.

Doug's Banana Bread Recipe
For those of you know our family, you know that my husband Doug is famous for his delicious banana bread. When the kids come home, it's the first thing they ask for. Our old neighbors used to leave ripe bananas at our front door as a hint they wanted a loaf of his banana bread. What is great is that it's pretty healthy too. It's made with white whole wheat flour, so you get the fiber and nutrition of whole grain flour with a light and delicate texture. Doug also uses organic, cage free, omega 3 eggs that provide 225 mg of omega 3 fatty acid per egg. The recipe has much less oil and sugar than traditional recipes and the walnuts also provide a good helping of omega 3. And of course, dark chocolate is full of flavonoids and antioxidants and has been associated with improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, lowering LDL cholesterol and uplifting your mood when eaten in moderation.

Walnuts, Chocolate or Both
Feel free to make this recipe with just walnuts or just chocolate chips or make it with both. Some people are allergic to nuts so you can delete them. Or, if you are making this for breakfast, you may want to leave out the chocolate chips. I think the bread is great with any combination so make it to your taste.


Whole Grain Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips
[makes 12 servings]
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Sucanat or organic cane sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium bananas (about 1 cup mashed)
2 organic, cage free, omega 3 eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour *
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup raw English walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

* If you cannot find white whole wheat use half all purpose white flour and half whole wheat.

Grease a 8.5" x 4.5" pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, beat together (with a hand mixer) oil, sugar, apple sauce and vanilla. Mix in mashed bananas. Add eggs and beat lightly until combined. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt and beat until combined. Stir in walnuts or chocolate chips (or both).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf.
When done, remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully cut around the edges of the pan with a knife and turn over to remove the loaf from the pan. Put on a cooling rack for another 15 minutes. (We usually can't wait that long but it's a lot easier to cut when you wait). Slice and serve.

Per serving (English walnuts only): 186 calories, 7.4 g fat, 1.1 g saturated fat, 35.8 mg cholesterol, 4.2 g protein, 25.9 g carbohydrates, 2.8 g fiber and 306 mg omega 3 fatty acid.

Per serving (chocolate chips only): 181.8 calories, 6.5 g fat, 1.3 g saturated fat, 35.8 mg cholesterol, 4.0 g protein, 27.3 g carbohydrates, 2.8 g fiber.

Per serving (both English walnuts and chocolate chips): 197.8 calories, 8.1 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 35.8 mg cholesterol, 4.4 g protein, 27.6 g carbohydrates, 2.9 g fiber and 306 mg omega 3 fatty acid.

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