Love pomegranates? They add so much flavor and crunch in this whole wheat pomegranate banana bread with pistachios. A perfect way to get a jump on your fall baking! Find more of my pomegranate recipes.
I still have some pomegranate arils in my fridge. The last from my great pomegranate project! My kids have been eyeing the big bowl full of ruby-red pomegranate seeds and begging to eat them. It did take me and my husband a couple hours to open pomegranates that POM Wonderful sent me.
I reserved a cupful of arils for this recipe, and fed the rest to the kiddos. My hubby told me that even though he loved pomegranates before POM sent me 44 pomegranates, he really enjoyed trying all the pomegranate recipes and experimenting with them in food and drink for the past month.
With all the sweets I had experimented and baked, I wanted to bake something healthier with the pomegranates. Banana bread is always a welcomed snack in our house, so I decided to make some Whole Wheat Pomegranate Banana Bread.
Best bananas for banana bread
A freshly baked loaf of banana bread is always welcomed in my house. I have learned that one loaf doesn’t last long in this family of five, so I typically bake two loaves at a time. So needless to say, we use up a lot of bananas!
We all have heard that over ripe bananas are the best to make banana bread. But, I have found that frozen over ripe bananas have even more flavor. When the family fruit bowl has a couple of bananas starting to fade from glory, I typically pop them in the freezer until I need them.
The skin of the bananas turn black once frozen, but don’t let that scare you. Once thawed, the bananas are perfectly soft, sweet and ready to be mashed for baking banana bread.
Is pomegranate banana bread healthy?
Healthy is one of those loaded words that mean different things for different people. The very first time I baked banana bread, the recipe used white flour and the bread was so sweet it tasted like a cake. Yet, everyone touted that banana bread was a “healthy” breakfast or snack food.
Over the years I changed and modified that banana recipe and it has evolved into this basic whole wheat banana bread recipe. I use whole wheat flour and wheat bran instead of white flour. I cut the sugar in half, because it’s not a cake recipe.
I have added pomegranate arils and a little swirl of pomegranate concentrate to this version of banana bread. Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. Pomegranate concentrate is just pomegranate juice that is reduced down to a syrup without the added sugar.
For added protein and a touch of color, I mixed in chopped pistachios. And instead of butter, I have used antioxidant rich extra virgin olive oil.
So, you ask, is this pomegranate banana bread healthy? As far as I’m concerned, I say yes. It’s above and beyond healthier than the common banana bread recipe most people bake at home.
Are pomegranate seeds edible?
The first time I baked this bread, I was unsure about baking pomegranate arils. What if all the juice melts into the bread and you are left with bites of just white pomegranate seeds? I figured if that did happen, it would be like biting into the chunks of pistachios I had in the bread, as well.
And to answer your question, yes, the pomegranate aril is edible. From the juicy red bubble to the white seed in the center. I am happy to report that even though it took an hour to bake, most of the pomegranate arils remained juicy and intact.
After a few days, a few pomegranate arils “melted” and yes, I did bite into plain white seeds. But again, they mixed in with the banana bread with the pistachios and it still pretty darn tasty. This bread was fabulous right out of the oven and warm. Full of pomegranate flavor.
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 2 TBS granulated sugar
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 3/4 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
- 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup wheat bran
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup mashed over ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 1/2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- In a small saucepan whisk pomegranate juice and sugar over medium-high heat.
- Bring to boil and cook until reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a small bowl mix pomegranate and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flours, sugar, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- Using a stand mixer, whisk together bananas, milk, olive oil and egg.
- In batches, add dry ingredients into wet, making sure everything is evenly distributed. The batter will be stiff.
- Gently stir in pomegranate-nut mixture by hand.
- Apply non-stick spray to a 9"x 5" loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Pour half of the batter inside the pan.
- Drizzle half of cooled pomegranate syrup over the bread batter.
- Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, swirl pomegranate swirl into bread batter.
- Pour remaining bread batter into the pan.
- Drizzle remaining half of pomegranate syrup over the bread batter and swirl again.
- Sprinkle remaining chopped pistachios over the top of the bread.
- Bake bread in oven for 60-70 minutes 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 completely.
Serving Suggestions: Great as muffins, too!
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, too.
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Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 283mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 5gSugar: 20gProtein: 7g