This very flavorful whole wheat banana bread has a secret: frozen bananas. It intensifies the banana flavor and is perfect for baking! Plus it is baked with olive oil and not butter, so it is better for your heart.
Many families think following a healthy diet is difficult. In reality, with a little planning and awareness of diverse healthy food products, families would be able to follow a very balanced and healthy diet at home, enjoyable to all! So often times, I sneak in the healthy in the foods they already eat.
When the kids were young I would sneak veggies in their dinner, like my veggie packed pasta sauce or my cauliflower macaroni and cheese sauce. They eventually grew up to love their vegetables and eat them up in their chicken noodle soup with lemon and chicken tortilla soup.
And now when I bake muffins and quick breads, I sneak in whole wheat flour and bran, plus I reduce the sugar. Do they notice? Nope, not at all.
Baking with whole wheat flour
I have been baking with whole wheat flour for over 15 years. It started as an experiment and now it is second nature to me. If you are unsure if your family will like their muffins with whole flour, try this little experiment. Swap out half of the regular flour with whole grain flour. Easy peasy.
Whole wheat flour requires a bit more moisture than regular flour, so by swapping all purpose flour for whole wheat is not recommended without adding a little more moisture. This recipe for whole wheat banana bread uses whole wheat flour and wheat bran – and it is moist and delicious.
And the best way to hide brown food, is out in the open. They seriously won’t notice it in this whole wheat banana nut bread.
Best banana flavor for banana bread
Most recipes call for over ripe bananas for their banana recipe. And of course, that works fine for this one, as well. Some people swear by roasting their bananas in the oven before mixing them in the batter for extra banana flavor. I tried it. I didn’t think the extra step really made the flavor more banana-y.
Me? I collect bananas in my freezer! Our fruit bowl is always full on the counter and it always has bananas in it. Some weeks we eat a lot of bananas, and some weeks we don’t. No bananas get thrown out. When they get super ripe and I know we aren’t going to use them right away, I place them in freezer.
When making banana bread, I simply take out 2 or 3, enough to give me 1-cup of banana mush, and let it thaw on the counter. If I’m in a rush, I nuke it in the microwave for 20-seconds or until the peel easily comes off and squeeze out the banana goodness into a bowl or measuring cup.
Olive oil banana bread
This banana is also baked with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. Ever since I wrote my olive oil cookbook, I almost exclusively bake with olive oil. When baking with olive oil, you want a more mild tasting oil versus a peppery one, which would be terrific in breads.
Taste your oil by itself before baking with it. Olive oil can turn rancid, so if it tastes terrible, it’s probably bad. Do not cook with rancid oil. It may not make you sick, but you certainly won’t get the health benefits you are seeking in your olive oil. And honestly, your food will taste terrible!
So taste the oil before baking with it. And find an olive oil brand you can trust.
What to mix in your banana bread
This recipe produces a moist and not sugary sweet banana bread. One loaf only uses half a cup of sugar versus a whole cup in most recipes. I want to taste the sweet bananas and not the sugar, so I cut the sugar in half. If you want it sweeter, I suggest adding maybe a couple tablespoons more of sugar to the batter, but really, it’s not cake, it’s banana bread.
I also like adding nuts to banana bread. It naturally works beautifully with the nutty undertones of the whole wheat flour and wheat bran in the recipe. The best nuts for banana bread, in my opinion, are walnuts, pecans and almonds. You can also add macadamia nuts, too.
But my kids really love it when I mix in blueberries in their banana bread. I prefer using fresh blueberries with this recipe, because frozen ones tend to be smaller in size. The kids and I like having big chunks of blueberries in every bite of my banana bread.
You can totally use frozen blueberries, just thaw them out first. Made as a loaf, muffins or in mini’s, these are a real kid pleaser. I used this recipe for my kids cooking camp and everyone went home with their own mini loaf of blueberry banana bread.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup mashed over-ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup plus 1 TBS whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup wheat bran
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a small bowl combine blueberries with 1 TBS whole wheat flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together remaining flour, wheat bran, baking soda and salt.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, whisk together sugar and olive oil until creamy and whipped.
- Mix in mashed bananas, yogurt, vanilla and egg.
- Add flour mixture into the banana mixture and whisk until combined.
- Using a rubber scraper, stir in blueberry mixture by hand.
- Apply non-stick spray to a 9"x 5" loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
- Bake bread in oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean.
- Let the bread rest in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool.
Serving Suggestions: Great as muffins, too!
Instead of blueberries you can mix in your favorite chopped nuts, like walnuts, pecans, almonds or macadamia nuts.
Cooking Tips: Store over-ripe bananas in the freezer until you are ready to bake with them. Their skins will turn black, but the banana flavor is intensified. You can use them for smoothies.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 183Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g