Vegan banana bread recipe: boost energy with this chocolate-stuffed loaf

Posted by for Nutrition

We’re back to our old habits during lockdown 2.0, which means banana bread season has returned (did it ever leave?). But this time, we’re stepping up our baking skills with this decadent banana bread.

It contains iron-rich buckwheat for energy and is rich in D-chiro-inositol, a soluble carb that supports your blood sugar levels (which helps to prevent diabetes in the long term). Plus, the cacao is packed with flavonoids for both short- and long-term benefits on brain function (helping you remember things like all the plot twists in the last episode of The Undoing). Banana bread 2.0, we’re ready for you.

SERVES: 1 loaf with 8 generous slices 

INGREDIENTS:

4 very ripe large bananas, peeled

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup ground almonds

7 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup pecans

3 tbsp cacao nibs (or small chunks of raw dark chocolate)

FOR THE HAZELNUT-CHOCOLATE SPREAD:

240g (2 cups) whole hazelnuts

7 tbps pure maple syrup 

6 tbsp cacao powder

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (optional) 

8 tbsp almond milk 

METHOD:

FOR THE HAZELNUT-CHOCOLATE SPREAD:

Preheat the oven to 180-degrees Celsius/gas mark 4. 

Spread the hazelnuts out evenly on a baking tray. 

Roast for 6-8 minutes, remove the tray halfway through to stir them around or until golden (keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn).

Leave them to cool for a couple of minutes, then whizz in a food processor for about 7-8  minutes until they have the consistency of a gritty nut butter, stopping every few minutes to scrape down the sides of the bowl. 

Add the maple syrup, cacao powder and salt (if using) and whizz for a further 2-3 minutes until well combined and smooth. 

Add the almond milk one tablespoon at a time with the food processor running, until you have a velvety consistency. 

Spoon into a clean airtight jar and store in the fridge for up to one week. 

FOR THE LOAF: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Line a 6 by 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.

Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl. 

Add the buckwheat flour, ground almonds, maple syrup, chia seeds, and cinnamon and stir together well.

Process the pecans in a food processor for about 30 seconds, or until they have the texture of coarse flour, then add to the bowl with the banana mixture. 

Add the cacao nibs (or chocolate chunks) and give it all another good stir.

Spoon half the banana mixture into the lined loaf pan and smooth the top with the spoon. 

Cover with a layer of the hazelnut-chocolate spread, again smoothing it out to make it all nice and even. 

Spoon the remaining banana mixture on top and smooth it out once more.

Bake for an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If there is chocolate on the skewer, don’t worry, as the filling is meant to be slightly gooey; as long as the banana loaf mixture is cooked, that’s fine. 

Let the loaf cool, then slice. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for 2 months.

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