It seems that just about every cooking blog has tried to create a somewhat healthier recipe for banana bread, so I figured I would join in the fun! The first ingredient swap is simple – just replace the white flour with wheat flour. It is an obvious choice as less processed wheat is better for you. I don’t find that this option works in all baking without altering the flavor, but in sweet breads such as this, I find there is no difference.
The other ingredient most healthier options look to replace is the fat – some recipes I have seen call for oil and others for butter. One of the recipes I like and have often used calls for about 4 tablespoons of butter. I have seen some people replace butter or oil with coconut oil or even applesauce, but I was interested in trying a swap with plain Greek yogurt.
I did some research on how to do the swap and there were several different ideas out there. Some suggested adding a bit more flour to compensate for the additional moisture if needed. Others suggested compensating for that by replacing only half of the butter or oil with the yogurt and then there was one that suggested that if the recipe calls for one cup or less of butter, you can go ahead and do a full one for one swap without having a problem. The same article also suggested that recipes calling for anything above one cup should use the half yogurt, half butter or oil option.
My goal was to try and make it as healthy as possible without losing flavor or texture and since my plan was to replace a half cup of butter, I went with the full swap suggestion. I liked the idea of being able to reduce the fat by such a large amount – a half cup of butter has about 45 grams of fat compared to about 6 grams of fat in full fat Greek yogurt.
On paper it all sounded great, but after mixing up such a creation you never know what the end result will be! In the end I found that it baked up nice and tall and created a dense, but not overly heavy or too moist bread. The flavor was right on par with others I have had or made in the past and it was pretty satisfying to know that something that tasted this good saved me so much fat.
When I was done, this project made me think about my grandma’s pumpkin bread recipe – it calls for a full cup of oil. I started to wonder how that would turn out with the full yogurt replacement – but that’s a blog entry for another day! In the meantime, here is the banana bread recipe – I hope you enjoy!
- 2 cups wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 2 cups mashed overripe banana – about 3 to 4 bananas depending on the size
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in one bowl and set aside.
In a separate large mixing bowl stir together the yogurt, eggs, mashed banana, vanilla and brown sugar until well combined.
Fold the dry ingredients into the the wet mixture gently until combined – the dry ingredients should be mixed in until they are just moistened.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9X5 loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Check after 50 minutes to see if it is done – a toothpick inserted in the center should come out dry – if not, check again in 5 minutes. After removing from the oven, let the bread sit in the pan to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes and then remove it from the pan and allow it to cool fully on a wire rack before serving.
- When mixing sweet breads, be sure to fold in the dry ingredients gently until they are just combined and moistened. Mixing too vigorously for too long will result in an overly dense and tough bread after baking.
- Add a little crunch to the top – sprinkle on some roasted and unsalted sunflower or pumpkin seeds before baking.
- Change it up a bit by mixing in a half cup of semi sweet chocolate chips.
- If you like banana nut bread, simply mix in a half a cup or your favorite chopped nuts. Most often you see walnuts used in banana nut bread, but pecans or macadamia nuts are also great choices. If you’re feeling especially daring, mix in both nuts and chocolate chips!