don’t throw away brown bananas (make gluten-free banana bread!)

banana bread

What do you do with brown bananas?

I went to my parents house today and there was a bundle of overripe bananas on the counter, awaiting certain disposal. The brown freckles on them were starting to meld into one splotch and they were soft to the touch. I wanted to rescue these misjudged fruits from a needless fate.

Aside from freezing these “bad”-nanas for smoothies, banana ice cream, or a simple dessert with peanut butter, overripe bananas can easily be baked into banana bread.

For a stretch of about 6 months or so, I’d make several loaves of banana bread each month. It became a morning habit – throw ingredients into a whizzing food processor and in less than 10 minutes you can slide the batter-filled bread pan in the toaster oven to evolve into something more.

This is a recipe I discovered from the lovely Juli Bauer from PaleOMG.com. I’ve adapted it here for extra-ripe bananas and a toaster convection oven. Best part is, you really only need to clean one appliance and one baking pan once you’re done!

Brown Banana Bread:

  • 1½ cups roasted unsalted cashews
  • 3 brown (or spotty) bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cup almond meal/flour  (+ maybe a bit more)
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey (or more depending on your level of sweet tooth)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  1. Using a food processor, grind cashews to a powder. Keep processing until it starts to clump together again.
  2. Peel bananas and add to the mix. You can do this while it runs, or you can stop to add them in and start the processor again. Let this become a soupy paste.
  3. Add eggs and process until thoroughly incorporated. At this point, stop your food processor and check your batter. It should be liquid-y but not runny.*
  4. Grease a bread pan with some coconut oil and pour your banana batter in. Place in 375 degree oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you use a toaster oven like I do, cover your bread pan with a layer of foil to keep the top from burning. (and way to go for saving energy!)
  5. Let bread cool for about 10 minutes while you inhale it the scent of banana-bready goodness.
  6. Enjoy! I don’t need to tell you this tastes great with peanut butter, do I?

*This part is dependent on how ripe your bananas are. The riper they are, the more liquidy/sweet your batter will be. The less ripe, the more starches the banana keeps and you won’t need to add more flour. If the batter easily drips off a spoon, spatula, or your finger, add more almond meal, 1/8 cup at a time until it drips slowly off your spoon/spatula/finger.

a peanut for my thoughts really would make me ecstatic

Origins of this blog name: My grandfather used to shell me peanuts as a snack when I was young. We’d get the roasted peanuts from Chinatown, the kind that come in their shell and would sometimes have up to seven peanuts inside (if you were extremely lucky!). I could eat a whole bag by myself if left unattended. I’ve loved peanuts ever since.Farmer's Brand Dried Peanuts

I’ve since learned peanuts are not nuts, but in fact, legumes. I’ve also since learned legumes are on the “do not eat” list of health craze diets like paleo or whole30. This is a depressing way to start a blog isn’t it? I don’t know if I can go on about why legumes (peanuts!) have been vilified as detrimental to one’s health.

Instead I’ll go into some of the many ways I like to enjoy them:

#1: peanut butter

This may be a passion we have in common. In fact I certainly hope it is because I’d love to discuss all the wonderful things you can do with peanut butter!

#2: simply roasted

I’ll only say that I MUCH prefer the peanuts they sell roasted at Asian grocery stores over anything you’ll find at a baseball stadium.

#3: in Chinese tamales

This is a slightly complicated recipe that will have to come another day. But when you unwrap the bamboo leaves and look inside you will (ideally) see peanuts peppered through the tamale. And you’ll look forward to biting into a starchy, slightly crunchy peanut to balance out the sweet and gooey glutenous rice or preserved egg yolk and salted pork.