Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Banana Bread with Spelt, Walnuts and Flaxseed

As a baby, one of the first foods many kids taste is banana.  The smile on Liv's face and her eagerness for a 2nd bite was proof enough that that first spoonful of the mashed fruit was a real winner for her, and to this day that smile and eagerness for more remains.  Banana tops her list of favorite foods (with the exception of pure sugar...) and when I'm in need of a recipe to brighten a less than stellar day for her, I usually turn to banana.

Liv's 1st bday - while this isn't banana, the smile is the same!
With banana being a favorite for our whole family, our bananas only rarely get to the not-so-pretty, brown/mushy stage.  However on occasion I do misjudge and am left with a bowl full of mushy bananas and a family exclaiming that no one would eat or touch "those yucky things".  Little do they know that those not so pretty, over-ripe fruits are the secret to exceptionally tasty breads, cakes, pancakes and even waffles.

Usually I try to whip something up when the fruits are ripe, but a few weeks ago time was short I simply stuck the over-ripe bunch into the freezer for a later use.  At the time I had not idea how handy those frozen bananas would become.  We've dropped frozen chunks into our dairy-free Blueberry Banana Smoothies, thawed (not a pretty process...) and mashed them into Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes (with a warm maple glaze, no less!), and yesterday they ended up mixed with my favorite flour, spelt, in a moist and flavorful Banana Bread with Spelt, Walnuts and Flaxseed.

Picking Liv up at dance after she had been away from home for nearly 14 hours she had the tell tale signs of a really, really tired kid.  5 1/2 hours of dance rehearsals after a full day of school had taken its toll, however a napkin filled with a few slices of the still warm from the oven bread seemed to furnish her little body with some much needed life soon after the first bite.

Topped with a sprinkle of raw sugar the crust brought a slight crunch that immediately pleased her while the rest of the low fat recipe filled with potassium rich bananas, Vitamin E spiked walnuts, and Omega-3 filled flaxseed pleased me.  Whole wheat and spelt flours provide whole grains and the bread bakes up moist, with a nice crumb - the banana flavor deepening upon cooling, making it perhaps even better yet the next day in the lunch box.

Banana Bread with Spelt, Walnuts and Flaxseed
adapted from Power Foods from the Editors of Whole Living Magazine, pg. 78

I picked up a copy of Power Foods last year at Costco and the book quickly rose to one of my favorite, useful cookbooks.  Packed with photos, fresh recipes and ingredient ideas,  Power Foods is worthy of your bookshelf.

2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 tsp coarse salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 large whole egg, plus 1 large egg white
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 mashed, very ripe bananas
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs raw sugar

Love the raw sugar sprinkled on top!
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Spray a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white until thoroughly combined.  Add the melted butter, sugar and vanilla, then whisk well to combine. (Alternatively, use a hand mixer)  Mash the bananas well and add to the bowl.  Whisk until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients along with the walnuts and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined, taking care not to over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with a sprinkling of raw sugar.  Bake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.  Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.  The bread can be wrapped tightly in plastic and kept at room temperature and is best within the first 3 days.

Note:  The banana flavor will increase as the bread cools!


  1. What a smart idea! I cant add in the walnuts but everything else sounds great. And I just saw your mac nut brittle on the bottom of your page- YUM!!!

  2. This is a great way to get your little dancer feeling ship shape after a long day. I've been there! Wish I'd have had some lovely banana bread waiting for me! Dad's just don't know what a girl needs ;)


  3. Your little one is adorable!! My guy loves bananas too, so I'm sure this bread will be a hit! I like healthy ingredients too. :)

  4. My mom is the banana lover in the family. I think she would enjoy this recipe, especially with the walnuts. If I was a nice child, I would make it for her :-)

  5. Your banana bread sounds like a mood and energy lifter! A delicious one! I love all things banana. I tagged you to do the 7 link project - you can find out more on my post from Saturday. No pressure - if you decide not to do it that's ok.

  6. Oh, this looks fabulous! I love all the healthy additions...and I know my kids would love the sugary crust!

  7. Kim.
    This bread has so many healthy additions.I can't wait to make it. Do you buy spelt flour at the health food store? I can just picture Liv's smile, as she eats a slice of this bread:)

  8. Banana bread is one of my favorite quick breads! And I really like how you made it even healthier! Looks so delicious!

  9. This looks delicious AND super healthy! I love when I see spelt in anything!! very neat recipe that I will definitely be trying this week!! thanks for the lovely post!

  10. Okay - this is awesome! I LOVE that you added healthy ingredients! I've SO buzzed this one!

  11. "Nana? Nana? NANAAAAAAAAAA!" That is chanted at least once a day in my house these days :)

  12. Bananas rarely get old in our house too and I find myself excited when I see two that are going brown, just so I can find soemthing to make with them. Great bread!

  13. I prefer my banana bread with chocolate chips!

  14. Banana's have always been one of my favorite snacks, and I only make banana bread occasionally because I like it too much, but I think I could justify this healthy version! Thanks for another great post Kim!

  15. Bananas are one of the few fruits I can eat and enjoy (in small doses!) because I never had fruit as a kid. But banana's in something - and I am sold! Especially when it comes to banana bread. This looks awesome!

  16. Time to hide the bananas again so I can bake this, love the walnuts and flaxseed too. Have saved this, thanks for sharing :-)


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