Hemp Hearts Banana Bread
Growing up I did not really love banana bread, but I liked bananas. I don’t know what about making bananas into bread put me off, but we all have our weird food quirks.
Then one day, my mom had bought banana bread from one of my favorite places Morning Glory Farm on Martha’s Vineyard. It was a revelation. I was hooked. As I have eaten many banana breads I have found that they can be either very oily or overly sweet. Some just turn to mush and others don’t have enough banana flavor.
And so began my endeavor to make a better banana bread. For me, I wanted to make it not so sweet you feel like you need to brush your teeth, a good punch of banana flavor, not greasy and just a little crisp on the outside. Not only did I want to do all of that (you know because that isn’t enough), I tried to sneak in some superfoods and added nutritional boost without giving up the flavor.
Hemp is sort of having a moment right now, but I have been using it for awhile now. I have used CBD and taken hemp supplements to help keep my overly active immune system in check and make living with Crohn’s Disease a little bit easier. But whether you have a chronic illness or not, hemp is a health powerhouse. It is loaded with Omega 3’s and 6’s, iron and protein all in a little package. Some people aren’t big fans of the taste, which can be pretty…earthy? I personally don’t mind it, but when you add them to this banana bread, you just get all banana with the added benefits of hemp.
Most banana bread recipes call for at least 1 cup of cane sugar. When you think about the natural sweetness of bananas and then add a cup of sugar to that? That is a whole lot of sweet. When I am looking to replace cane sugar, I like to use liquid sweeteners like maple syrup, agave or honey or swap coconut sugar. While you still get sweetness, you don’t get the high glycemic hit that you would get from cane sugar.
I used a mix of coconut sugar and maple syrup, but if you want to really pull back the sugar levels even more, omit the coconut sugar. The banana bread will still be sweet, but less so. When you take out the coconut sugar, I would recommend adding a little bit more flavor in other ways: add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and a pinch more salt.
Another idea for lowering refined sugar is date paste. While I did not use it in this recipe, you can swap the coconut sugar for date paste (it’s an equal exchange so 1/2 cup for 1/2 cup). Date paste is so easy to make: just soak 16oz of pitted dates in 1/2 cup boiling water, let sit for 30 minutes, throw it all into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge and it will last for a week.
However you like your banana bread, you will definitely love how easy this one is to make. The added hemp, collagen peptides and quinoa just make it that much better for breakfast.
3 medium-large overripe bananas (about 1 cup), mashed
1/3 cup neutral oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 large egg
3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup gluten-free measure-for-measure flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tsp hemp hearts
1/4 cup puffed quinoa (if you can’t find this, add your favorite chopped nuts)
1 scoop collagen peptides
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a large loaf pan or two mini loaf pans with olive oil (if you’re using nonstick pans, like me, just use oil. If the pans aren’t nonstick, line with parchment too).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, collagen peptides, hemp hearts and quinoa. Just make sure you get out any large lumps of almond flour.
In a large bowl, chunk the bananas and microwave for 1 minute. Mash with a whisk until you’re left with smaller chunks, no need for it to be perfectly smooth. Add the oil, maple syrup and coconut sugar and whisk until fully combined. Add the egg and whisk again.
With a spatula, fold in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Pour into the prepared pans. Tap on the counter to get out any air bubbles.
Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
This loaf is perfect sliced, toasted and topped with almond butter and pomegranate seeds.