Healthy Ingredient of the Week – Bananas

I love bananas, and not just because they are a good source of fiber and high in potassium and Vitamins C and B6.  I have a banana every morning with breakfast, either whole or blended with yogurt and other fruits to make a smoothie.  Bananas are much more versatile than this, however, and they can and should be used in a number of other ways.  The first recipe is my absolute favorite; I eat it for breakfast or as a snack before lunch or after dinner – basically, any time I have the opportunity to do so!  The second recipe offers a slightly different take on bananas that is just as delicious.  Many recipes call for bananas to be very ripe, as ripe bananas are sweeter, softer, and easier to mash.  Ripe bananas, however, have a higher sugar concentration and glycemic index than their under-ripe counterparts.  If you need to watch your sugar intake, consider using slightly under-ripe bananas with a little bit of green on the top – these are the kind I prefer to eat and cook with, and I’ve never had a problem using them in recipes.

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

Ingredients
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 almost-ripe to ripe bananas
¼ cup egg substitute
½ cup plain yogurt (I prefer Greek, but regular works, too)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup pecan or walnut pieces (optional)

Instructions

1.  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl.   Cool slightly.
3.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.
4.  Mash the bananas with a fork or potato masher in a medium bowl.  Mix in egg substitute, yogurt, vanilla, and butter. 
5.  Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
6.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts just as the batter comes together; batter should be wet, sticky, and a little lumpy.
7.  Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchens’ How to Boil Water.  Meredith Books 2006.

Banana-Orange Relish

Ingredients
2 ripe bananas, diced
½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
2 oranges, peeled, segmented (see Tips) and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
1.  Stir together bananas, orange zest, chopped oranges, cilantro, lime juice, coriander and salt in a medium bowl.
2.  Serve cold or at room temperature with roasted white fish, chicken, or pork.

Recipe from EatingWell http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/roasted_halibut_with_banana_orange_relish.html

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One response

  1. […] Ingredient of the Week posts, and I thought it was only fitting to sign off with my favorite recipe from that series, featuring two of my favorite foods – bananas and […]

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