Orange Banana Bread {Vegan}

Added on by Monica Cheng.

Hey everyone! I've got a beautifully simple, *super* delicious, and pretty ~healthy~ recipe to share today. At long last, after tinkering around with 50 bajillion banana breads over the course of this summer, I've found the one. And, boy, am I excited to share with you all.

This orange banana bread tastes just as delicious as my previous favorite banana bread from Flour Bakery, but with a lot less fat and a vegan twist. Inspired by my friend (vegan at the time but now turned vegetarian...the aftermath of limited college dining options) whose mom care packaged her the most moist and flavorful vegan banana bread I've ever tasted, I was determined to replicate this awesome bread experience from freshman year of college.

The beauty of this recipe is that it takes just one bowl and requires no sophisticated mixing techniques. Just throw all the ingredients together and bake. I don't even bother with a mixer. Less dishes, right? The hardest part is quite honestly the wait, and resisting the aromatic banana from the oven.

What I love about this bread is its intense banana flavor enhanced by refreshing citrus tones from the zest. Orange banana bread is a true classic that never gets old in my family. I can't count the number of times I've made this bread over this summer. We love eating a slice alongside breakfast, or as a snack on-the-go. I hope you enjoy!

All best,
Monica

P.S. Summer adventures with hedgehog cupcakes (white almond sour cream wedding cake with hazelnut mousse filling and vanilla buttercream frosting). After surviving the ordeal of peeling and "rescuing"/resuscitating stubborn raw hazelnuts, I have a newfound appreciation for everything hazelnut, including the hedgehogs' filling.

 

Tips & Notes:

  • Super ripe bananas are key to the recipe. Look for bananas that have many brown spots and smell aromatic from the peel. If need be, it is okay to use a combination of 2 very ripe bananas + 1 sort-of-ripe banana. Note that using less ripe bananas may require a little more added sugar (maybe use 3/4 cup instead of 2/3 cup), since the ripened bananas contribute essential natural sugars.
  • Mash the bananas using a fork, pressing it against the plate until properly mushed. Then, proceed to combine with the other ingredients.
  • I like to use a combination of ~1/3 cup milk and ~2 tablespoons of yogurt. For non-vegans, dairy milk and Greek yogurt work really well.
  • A combination of 1/3 cup white sugar and 1/3 cup brown sugar works well, in my experience. I suspect that using brown sugar results in a less puffy (but no less delicious!) bread, as shown in the present photos.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg are optional but I enjoy the added subtleties of flavor. And, heck, why not?
  • Feel free to add walnuts and other add-ins (e.g., Booze?! I imagine orange liqueur would be an excellent choice to sub in with the milk.). The recipe is flexible, so please feel welcome to experiment!

Orange Banana Bread

Generously adapted from Food Network | Yield: 1 loaf, or 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Zest of one orange
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup non-dairy milk or yogurt
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate chips, for sprinkling on top

Directions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line loaf pan with parchment paper, or grease with cooking spray.

Whisk together mashed bananas, sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Add flour last, and mix until just combined. It’s okay if the batter is lumpy. Pour into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, and chocolate chips on top for a crispy crackly top.

Bake 50 - 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Serve & enjoy!