Making this banana bread with dates & walnuts is a great way to use up those left over bananas. Bananas often get over-ripe in the fruit bowl unintentionally. When that happens, the bananas usually get thrown away which is a waste of food. My suggestion is that you put them in a container in the freezer until you have the right amount for this recipe. Then, when you have the required 400g in total, defrost them and make this delicious nutritious banana bread.
Getting banana bread to rise enough can be tricky when making it to a vegan recipe. Using a little aqua faba sorts the rising problem out and adds nutrition. If you cook and freeze your own chickpeas you’ll have plenty of aqua faba available. If not, keep some back from your next can of chickpeas, but it won’t be as good as home made. Whipping it with an electric whisk is easiest, doing it buy hand would be pretty difficult. It needs to increase in volume by about 5 times and should be white and quite stiff when fully whipped.
Some recipes add dates and some add walnuts – but hey you can have both with this recipe. I also like to make sure that I always use as much wholemeal flour as possible. Banana bread will always be a little heavy, so in this recipe I have used 100% wholemeal flour which works well.
Cold pressed rapeseed oil has a fairly neutral flavour so I use that instead of a baking margarine. This keeps the saturated fat levels very low and is healthier. By adding in some ground almonds, that boosts calcium levels too.
Overall, this is a very tasty, but healthy way to deal with over-ripe bananas. This banana bread with dates & walnuts is even more tasty when it’s lightly toasted, and smeared with almond butter.
Banana Bread with Walnuts & Dates
- 200 g wholemeal self-raising flour
- 50 g ground almonds.
- 3 tsp baking powder.
- 60 g dark muscovado sugar can use light, but I prefer the dark muscovado
- 10 dates finely chopped (in half lengthways then into 5 or 6 smaller pieces)
- 70 g walnut pieces toasted is good. 180°C for 10 mins. If you don't like nuts, just double the amount of dates and reduce the sugar to 45g to compensate
- 1/4 tsp salt lo-salt is best - but ordinary salt is fine.
- 3 tsps mixed spice can use 4 if you prefer.
- 400 g very ripe bananas mashed. Approx 4 medium bananas
- 50 g rapeseed oil extra virgin is best.
- 50 g aqua faba just chick pea juice from a can or your latest batch of chickpeas
- Heat oven to 180°C ordinary – i.e. not fan – this doesn’t work as well on fan oven.
- when the oven is up to temperature is a good time to toast the walnuts if you're going to - 150°C for 10 mins. Break them into small pieces once they're toasted and cooled.
- Chop the dates - in half, first, then into 4
- Brush a 450g loaf tin with a little oil or margarine then line the bottom with greaseproof paper also greased.
- Mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, mixed spice & sugar together.
- Whisk the aqua faba until it's quite stiff and around 250ml in volume
- Whisk or beat together the mashed banana, oil etc, but not the aqua faba.
- Pour all the now mixed wet ingredients on top of the dry ingredients.
- Whisk together with a hand electric mixer (works best) or mix quickly with a wooden spoon.
- Quickly fold in the aqua faba until well mixed.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
- Shake back and forth enough to level the contents.
- Bake for 35 mins on middle or just above middle shelf, turning down to 150°C for the last 25 minutes & covering the top towards the end if it starts to look too brown.
- After the 1 hour - Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake – it should come out clean. If not, return to the oven and cook for a further 10 mins.
- Cool for 15 mins before taking it out of the tin.
- Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing.
- Very nice with margarine and peanut or almond butter, or just as is.
- Toasting the walnuts first is good - 180°C for around 10 minutes - then break into small pieces.
- Bananas need to be really quite ripe - i.e. not really suitable for eating as they are.
- You can usually pick up over-ripe bananas - around 8 of them for £1.00 in a greengrocers - then freeze them.
- Alternatively, if you have bananas that are going over ripe, then peel them, and chop into pieces and freeze. When you have 400g you can make a loaf!
- Harvest are good for nuts - cheaper than LIDL, and ethically sourced!
- Silverwood bakeware with a loose bottom is the best & easiest to use.
- This type of loaf doesn't work well with fan ovens - it tends to burn the outside before the inside is properly cooked.
- If you cook your own chickpeas, make sure to save the water - freeze it in 200g lots in takeaway containers. Then defrost and divide into 25g cubes in an ice-cube maker......