Make: Vegan Banana Bread with Applesauce (and Less Sugar!)

banana bread
First: Props to all the food photographers out there who’ve managed to take a drool-inducing photo of banana bread. Let me tell you, making banana bread look good on camera is not easy. (The struggle is clear in the photo above.) Thankfully, while banana bread might not be the most  photogenic food subject, it totally makes up for its looks with its delicious taste.

Now, on to recipe-talk: Last week, after I posted a roundup of healthy cooking swaps, a reader asked me to share my banana bread recipe. Instead of loading up my banana bread with sugar, I use unsweetened applesauce. I know, it sounds totally weird. But it really is good—promise! Plus, it’s a super simple way to make your morning snack a little bit healthier.

When it comes to banana bread, the blacker the bananas, the sweeter your bread. I usually like to use very black bananas, but when I have trouble finding them, I have to improvise: Instead of swapping out sugar entirely, I use half the amount of sugar and half applesauce. When making this bread, feel free to experiment with the ratio based on what you’re working with. For example, if you have some super-sweet, overripe bananas, use 1/2 cup of applesauce and no sugar. Also, feel free to throw in your favorite spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon.

Vegan Banana Bread with Applesauce
Makes one loaf (about eight slices)

3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter (or oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (or, if you’re using less ripe bananas, 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup sugar)
1/2 cup soy milk (or almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat your over to 350 degrees.
2. Mash bananas.
3. Whisk together room temperature butter, applesauce, sugar, soy milk and vanilla.
4. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
5. Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
6. Fold in mashed bananas and walnuts.
7. Pour batter into buttered loaf pan (8.5″ by 4.5″) and top with a few extra walnuts.
8. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
9. Top with some peanut butter, jam, or good ol’ fashioned butter and enjoy!

Per slice: 268 calories, 10.7 fat grams, 286 milligrams sodium, 294 milligrams potassium, 37.6 grams carbs, 3 grams dietary fiber, 7.7 grams sugar, 6.1 grams protein.

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