recipe showdown: healthy banana bread

This sh!t is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.  Thank you Gwen Stefani.

Whenever I hear Gwen, I am instantly transported back to 4th grade when I went to a very strict religious school.  I still vividly remember the first day of school — I got dressed in my rumpled white chapel dress, and penny loafers.  When I saw the huge chapel on that cloudy morning, all I could say was “this looks just like Harry Potter.”  While sitting in the pews, I turned to the girl next to me and asked jokingly, “when will we get sorted” in a little British accent.  I don’t think the girl appreciated my humor. 🙁

That was a tough year for me — no nail polish, no boys, and tons of homework.  One of the only things that got me through that year was a jazz dance class that I took on Friday nights.  I got to wear my bedazzled gaucho pants and dance to Gwen Stefani and the Black Eyed Peas.  Afterwards, my mom would take me to Quiznos and I would get a toasted sub with salami and pepperoni — nothing else.  Those Friday nights were the moments of joy that got me through an otherwise difficult year.

Now, whenever I hear Gwen, it takes me back to those happy Friday nights.  It always amazes me how powerful music can be to transport me back to different times. 

Whenever I hear “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers, I am transported to the back seat of the white van that I rode around Santa Fe in this past summer on my community service trip.  When I hear “Everyday” by Buddy Holly, I am sitting in the car seat of my dad’s old green Honda, which I used to call the “pickle car.”  Thanks to these songs and artists, these memories will always be a click away on my iPod.

Now to the banana bread.  I love a super moist, cake-like banana breads as much as the next girl (especially when they’re full of toffee bits ), but at 8 A.M, I don’t want to be too naughty… at least on a weekday ;).  The web is overflowing with healthy banana bread recipes — full of applesauce, whole wheat flour, and even flax and chia seeds!  I was intrigued. Could they be as yummy as my banoffee bread? Sounds like a recipe showdown. 

Just F.Y.I, these are all “normal” healthy banana breads. I.e. you don’t need to run to the heath food store in search of spelt Flour or Agar gel — these are just classic banana breads lightened up. 

The overall favorite was the banana bread from Just Everyday Me it had the most bananas of the three recipes, which gave it a really rich banana flavor.  Also, the addition of whole wheat flour adds a nice dark depth to this loaf.  It would give even the most decadent loaf a run for its money — plus it’s kind of good for you, so you can have an extra slice (or two).

With love,

This recipe boasts 286 five star ratings on All Recipes.  It uses applesauce, nonfat milk, and a tablespoon of vegetable oil instead of butter, and only has 2/3 cup sugar.  There are 178 calories per slice.
This recipe has received great reviews all over the internet.  It uses ¼ cup butter and 1/3 cup lowfat yogurt.  There are 187 calories per slice.
This recipe uses ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup apple sauce, and a few spoonfuls of sour cream. It also incorporates whole wheat flour into the white flour for added health benefits.  There are about 190 calories per slice
Tasters’ notes
Too much vanilla!
No strange aftertaste

From Just Everyday Me

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 egg
4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 whole over-ripe bananas, blended so that they’re liquid

Cream togetherthe first 6 ingredients.
Slowly add the flours and then the baking soda and salt. Add the blended bananas.
Put in a greased bread loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
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18 thoughts on “recipe showdown: healthy banana bread

  1. Cupcake Crazy Gem

    What a great idea to compare those recipes! I love how music transports you to specific periods in time too…hearing Gwen always takes me to my happy place because I was obsessed with No Doubt growing up! and hearing Otis Redding – Sitting on the dock of the bay will always take me back to my California road trip with my sister when we sung that song in 'Frisco bay! haha

    1. Cannella Vita

      Thank you so much! I love doing recipe showdowns. I'm glad you're a fellow Gwen fan! That's so perfect for a California road trip, I love Sara Barillies' version of that song!

  2. Anonymous

    Oh my…..this sounds so delicious…..have bananas that are just about ready for the transformation! I love how food can take us back to a certain place or time….thanks for the great post!

  3. Krumbli

    Yum! I love banana bread! And your loaves look absolutely perfect 🙂 Plus, 4th grade you sounds like an awesome person.

  4. Anonymous

    I love your showdowns! Does your post for blueberry muffins pick a winner? I tried to leave a comment, but did not see where I could.

    1. Anonymous

      Oh, great! Cooking Classy's version. Thanks girl! (There are no links or recipes on that post, or comments. At least on my end.) Thanks again for getting back to me so soon.

  5. Erika

    This was SUCH a great idea for a recipe showdown–I'm always tweaking my banana bread recipes and it's interesting to see that even though the CookingLight recipe has so many rave reviews, it actually doesn't look that appealing at all. Would you say All Recipes was a close second or far (I guess?) second compared to Everyday Me?

    Also, can you do a chocolate cake showdown? 🙂 I've seen a ton of gorgeous looking chocolate cakes that are pretty much the same as this recipe of Deb's: (with coffee, cocoa powder AND melted chocolate), some that just use coffee and cocoa powder, and then I've always been curious why Deb uses a different chocolate cake as the base for this cake (using sour cream):

    Then there's that whole argument that mayo is the key to the perfectly moist chocolate cake which makes me shudder but arguments have been so compelling I'm almost convinced I should try it…anyway. Would love, love, love to see you do a showdown of cake someday! 🙂

    1. Cannella Vita

      Yes, All Recipes was a close second — but the Cooking Light version (despite all of the credibility) was gummy and not too appealing.
      Ohhh I would love to! I have a great chocolate cake recipe (doctored cake mix) that I am going to post soon, but I will pin it against some of the recipes that you suggested above! Mayo?! I am intrigued now!

    2. Cannella Vita

      Hahaha that's so funny! I have bookmarked both of their recipes on my Pinterest board and will be trying them all soon!

  6. Amilia

    Hey! Just saw that you had done this and I won. So cool! I make this banana bread all the time and love it…I'm glad you loved it, too! 🙂

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