Bananas are a relatively important ingredient in banana bread, but you don't have to make it quite so bananaful if you don't want to. Whether you're after a milder banana flavor, a different nutritional profile or just something a little different, there are a number of easy options for switching out some of your banana bread recipe's mashed banana.
Boost Your Fiber Intake
Adding other fruit purees in place of some of the banana puree in a quick bread recipe can increase the fiber content. Prunes, for example, contain more fiber, vitamin A, iron, boron and calcium than bananas. Prunes add a dark color, so you bread won't be as light as regular banana bread. Since prunes are much sweeter than bananas, consider reducing the sugar slightly in your recipe, depending how sweet you like your baked goods. Adding pureed white beans or garbanzo beans in place of banana puree also increases the fiber, but add a tablespoon or two of honey per 100 grams of bean puree, since beans are not as sweet as bananas.
Give It Some More Protein
If you're looking to increase the protein content in your banana bread, substitute Greek yogurt for some of the banana puree. Non-fat Greek yogurt has a whopping 15 to 20 grams of protein per six ounces, while banana puree has less than 3 grams per six ounces. Greek yogurt is almost the same consistency as banana puree too. The main difference is that the puree is much sweeter than yogurt, so add a tablespoon or so of sugar or the equivalent alternative sweetener to each 100 grams of yogurt.
Make a Simple Swap
One of the easiest substitutions to use in place of banana puree when making banana bread is applesauce. Applesauce and banana puree are similar in terms of sweetness and consistency. You can replace banana puree with applesauce without having to worry about adding or cutting out ingredients such as sugar or fat. The banana flavor won't be quite as strong when using some applesauce, but you won't have any strong flavors from the applesauce affecting your banana bread.
Experiment with Some Other Purees
When using other substitutions in place of banana puree, the main issues are how much sugar and fat the replacement ingredient add. Pumpkin puree is a good replacement for banana. It has a mild flavor, but it's not nearly as sweet as other fruit purees. You will have to adjust the sweetness by adding sugar or a sugar alternative to your recipe. Mashed avocados are another option, but these are high in fat and will increase the calorie content of your banana bread.
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Chemical Composition and Potential Health Effects of Prunes: A Functional Food?
- Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fiber - Essential For a Healthy Diet
- Fruit Sweet and Sugar Free; Janice Feuer
- Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food; Jessica Seinfeld
Lize Brittin lives in Boulder, Colo. A writer since 2001, she is the author of the book "Training on Empty." Brittin has also written for publications such as Competitor, Active Cities, Boulder Magazine and Thrill. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University Of Colorado.