Vegan banana bread
When it comes to appetising smells, freshly baked banana bread is pretty hard to beat. This recipe for vegan banana bread swaps egg for omega-3-rich flaxseed mixed with warm water. It also uses oats, which are a great source of slow-release energy, as well as heart-healthy beta glucan. Plus, it uses five whole bananas, which provide fibre and potassium, needed to regulate fluids, nerve signals and muscle contractions in the body. Slice up your loaf and enjoy on its own, or slathered in peanut butter or strawberry jam for a tasty teatime treat.
For the flax egg:
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp warm water
55ml coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
400g ripe bananas (approximately 4 medium ones)
80ml almond milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
65g coconut sugar
60g jumbo rolled oats
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp Himalayan salt
280g self-raising flour
1 whole banana, sliced (no end bits)
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 2lb/1kg loaf tin lightly with coconut oil using a silicone brush.
2 Make your ‘flax egg’: mix the flaxseed with the warm water and leave for 10 minutes to thicken.
3 Meanwhile, melt your coconut oil in a saucepan. In a large bowl, mash the banana until almost smooth, then stir the flax egg, milk, melted coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla into the mashed banana until well combined.
4 Stir the dry ingredients into the batter one at a time, mixing well to incorporate each before adding the next. Add the coconut sugar first to ensure it melts, then the oats, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and lastly the flour.
5 Make sure everything is mixed well and there are no patches of flour. This is very important, as otherwise you will get white splodges in the bread and they do not taste good.
6 Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and spread out evenly. Place the sliced banana across the top in the row along the centre and gently push down.
7 Bake the loaf, uncovered, for 45 minutes, until lightly golden and firm on top. If it starts to caramelise and darken the bananas on top too much (if your bananas were really ripe and therefore had more sugar content, this will happen) simply cover with a sheet of dampened scrunched up parchment paper to protect the top from burning.
8 After 45 minutes, check that the loaf is cooked through using a skewer. If it is ready, this should come out clean, and the top of the loaf should slowly spring back when touched.
9 Leave the loaf in the tin for 10 minutes to cool. Do not leave it any longer as it will sweat and make your loaf damp and prone to breakage. Slide a palette knife around the edges to loosen them, and gently remove it from the tin. Place your banana bread onto a wire rack and leave until completely cooled.
Vegan banana bread recipe from The mymuybueno Cookbook by Justine Murphy (Meze, £25).