I recently took it upon myself to cook more “nutrient dense food”. (Note: Despite the bananas, this banana bread probably does not qualify as nutrient dense. Bummer.) Why suffer through eating healthy food when I have this banana bread in my repertoire? Good question. One, I’ve recently found myself stumbling upon more and more recipes that call for kale. I’ve never really cooked with kale and I was determined to find a way to make a leafy green tasty. A seemingly impossible feat.
And two, when I began my kale research I realized that the leafy green, along with its fellow cruciferous vegetables, is praised by the nutrition world as one of the healthiest foods for you. High in vitamin A, C, and K and rich in minerals and sulfur containing phytonutrients, kale is quite literally a nutritional powerhouse. Its carotenoids and flavonoids are associated with anti-cancer health benefits, while the lutein and zeaxanthin it contains promote eye health. Then there’s the fiber, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Of course my diet has thus far been replete of this vegetable god. It was time to give kale a go.
Leafy greens, beans, and legumes suddenly found their way onto my grocery list and into my kitchen. I tried kale with caramelized onions and raisins, panfried white beans with pesto, and dandelion greens with sauteed apples and dried cranberries. The kale was alright. The beans ok. The dandelion greens? Those were terrible. Awful. Needless to say, my experiments with these supposed “nutrient dense foods” have not been post worthy.
This banana bread though? Oh, this banana bread more than deserves a place on this blog. It is not, however, your traditional banana bread. If you’re looking for that, I suggest this recipe from Food & Wine. But if you’re looking for something a little different and way way way delicious, this would be the recipe for you.
I too was skeptical of the banana and lemon combination, but this is a Melissa Clark recipe and Melissa Clark has never steered me wrong. When I got home after my workout yesterday and found myself, not surprisingly, in a baking mood, I pulled four bananas out of the freezer and set them on a plate to defrost. Being impatient, I took the bananas into the bathroom with me while I showered so they would become banana-bread-ready even sooner. I know it’s weird to shower with bananas sitting on your toilet seat. I never said I didn’t have my quirks.
With clean hair and soft bananas, the baking began. The recipe itself is quite easy and I quickly had banana bread in the oven. Out of the oven and glazed, I just as quickly had a disappearing loaf. While I’m still consuming those nutrient dense foods, or at least trying, sometimes you have to indulge. I promise you a veggie filled post soon, but for now, indulge with me.
Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
from Cook This Now by my idol, Melissa Clark
Makes 1 loaf
For the Bread:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed, VERY ripe bananas (3 to 4 bananas)
1/4 cup sour cream or plain, whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9- by 5- inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate pieces and combine well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until dark golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.
While the cake is almost cool, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.