sliced banana walnut bread on a wood board

Banana Walnut Bread with Olive Oil and Honey

Isn’t it wonderful when you can indulge in your favorite foods while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle? That’s the beauty of our Banana Walnut Bread recipe.

This isn’t your typical banana bread. It’s a bread that’s been carefully crafted to boost your wellness while bringing you joy. We’ve packed it with a generous amount of bananas, which doesn’t just make it incredibly moist and flavorful, but also lets us cut down on added sugars.

But the goodness doesn’t stop there. We’ve enriched this bread with Greek yogurt, honey, and olive oil, all of which are key components of the Mediterranean Diet. These ingredients not only add to the moistness and flavor but provide a wealth of nutrients.

And instead of the all-purpose flour that you’ll find in most recipes, we’ve opted for white whole wheat flour. This simple swap gives our bread an extra dose of fiber, minerals, and vitamins without compromising on taste or texture.

Let’s not forget the walnuts! These little powerhouses bring a delightful crunch to every bite, not to mention a good dose of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

So, if you’re on a quest to find balance in your diet without sacrificing pleasure, this Banana Walnut Bread is the perfect treat. Yes, it’s possible to have a nutrient-rich banana bread that’s also a joy to eat. Let’s get baking!

banana walnut bread on a wire rack

A Brief History of Banana Bread

My introduction to banana bread came with my move to the US. In France, where I grew up, my mother insisted we eat bananas even when they were well past their prime. Had I known then about this wonderful recipe that breathes new life into overripe bananas, I would have surely suggested she give it a try.

The delightful, moist loaf that we know and love as banana bread is actually a product of North American culinary ingenuity. It seems to have emerged in the 1930s when baking powder became readily available in grocery stores.

The first recipe for a chemically risen banana bread appeared in a Pillsbury cookbook in 1933. This timing coincides with the widespread availability of baking powder. It’s believed that thrifty housewives looking to use up their overripe bananas were the ones who came up with recipes for modern banana bread.

However, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who was the first to create banana bread. While we may not know the exact individual who first thought to transform ripe bananas into a sweet, comforting loaf, we can be grateful for the collective creativity and resourcefulness that led to its invention.

So, next time you enjoy a slice of banana bread, remember that you’re partaking in a tradition that goes back nearly a century, and give a silent thanks to those thrifty housewives of the 1930s!

If you are interested in the history of banana bread, I encourage you to read this fascinating article by PJ Hamel of King Arthur Baking Co.

sliced banana walnut bread on a wood board

Why is Banana Bread so Popular?

Banana bread has been a beloved staple in many kitchens for years, but it seems to have garnered even more attention recently. There are several reasons why this humble loaf has taken center stage on our tables and social media feeds.

  1. Universality Across Meal Times: One of the great things about banana bread is its versatility. It’s not just for breakfast anymore! You can enjoy it as a mid-morning snack, a sweet treat after lunch, or even for dessert after dinner. It’s this ability to fit into any mealtime that makes banana bread so popular.
  2. Budget-Friendly and Easy to Make: As noted by Mark Bittman, bananas are inexpensive, and kids (and adults!) love them. The simplicity of the ingredients and the straightforward process make baking banana bread an accessible activity for anyone, regardless of their kitchen prowess.
  3. Long Shelf Life: Banana bread keeps well for several days, making it a convenient option for those who like to meal prep or simply enjoy having homemade snacks on hand.
  4. The Sweetness of Bananas: Part of what makes banana bread taste so good is the natural sweetness of ripe bananas. This means you can use less refined sugar than in many other baked goods, making banana bread a healthier choice.
  5. The Comfort Factor: Amidst all the uncertainty and stress of recent times, people have turned to comfort foods for solace, and banana bread certainly fits the bill. Its warm, familiar flavors evoke feelings of comfort and nostalgia, making each slice feel like a hug in food form.
  6. The Social Media Effect: Lastly, the rise in banana bread’s popularity can be attributed to the power of social media. Seeing photos of delicious, freshly baked loaves can certainly spark cravings and inspire people to bake their own.

In conclusion, banana bread’s popularity can be attributed to its versatility, affordability, ease of preparation, natural sweetness, comforting nature, and the influence of social media. So, whether you’re a seasoned baker or a newbie, why not give banana bread a try? You might just find it becomes your new favorite comfort food.

Ingredients for a Healthy Banana Bread

Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy recipe.

ingredients for banana walnut bread
  • Bananas: These add natural sweetness and moisture to the bread, while providing potassium and fiber.
  • Walnuts: They bring a delightful crunch and are rich in heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.
  • White whole wheat flour: A healthier alternative to all-purpose flour, it adds fiber and nutrients.
  • Egg: It binds the ingredients together and provides protein.
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt: Enhances moisture and tenderness, offering a protein boost without the extra fat.
  • Extra virgin Olive oil: Instead of butter, we use this heart-healthy oil for moistness.
  • Honey: A natural unrefined sweetener with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Vanilla: Adds depth and aroma to the bread.
  • Baking soda: Helps the bread rise.
  • Salt: To strengthen the gluten and help create the loaf’s fluffy texture.
  • Cinnamon: Provides warmth and a comforting aroma, complementing the banana and walnut flavors.

How to Make Banana Walnut Bread

If you’re thinking that making bread sounds complicated, let me assure you, it’s not! This healthy banana bread is as easy to make as it is delicious.

  1. Preheat your oven and prepare your loaf pan.
  2. Mix your dry ingredients in one bowl, and your wet ingredients in another.
  3. Combine the two, fold in walnuts, and pour into your pan.
  4. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

(For full instructions, see below)

Recipe Tips

  • Instead of parchment paper, you can lightly oil the pan. However, parchment paper makes removal a breeze.
  • The riper the bananas, the better. To quickly ripen bananas for this recipe, store them in a paper bag on your countertop.
  • Use a mild and smooth tasting olive oil so that the flavor doesn’t overpower the bread.
  • Raw, unfiltered honey offers the best health benefits and flavor.
  • Full-fat yogurt can be used for an even richer texture.
  • Do not overmix the batter or the gluten will start developing and result in a denser, tougher texture.

Variations

Feeling adventurous?

  • Add spices like cardamom, ginger, or nutmeg.
  • Switch the nuts: use chopped pecans or almonds instead of walnuts.
  • Add some dried fruit such as chopped dried apricots, Medjool dates, cranberries or raisins.
  • Make it decadent by adding a few chocolate chips.

Serving Suggestions

This banana walnut bread is equally delicious warm, at room temperature or cold. Enjoy a slice with your morning coffee or as a dessert with a dollop of Greek yogurt. This banana walnut bread also makes a delightful gift for friends and family.

Storage Instructions

  • To store your banana walnut bread, wrap it in plastic wrap to maintain its moisture, then store it in an air-tight container. It is even better the next day once all the flavors have developed and the moisture permeates the whole bread! Store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or refrigerate for up to a week.
  • If you have any leftovers, which is doubtful, consider slicing it and freezing individual portions for a convenient and delicious treat for up to 3 months.

In conclusion, this banana walnut bread with olive oil and honey is not just a simple banana bread recipe. It’s a healthy, super moist, and delicious treat that fits perfectly into any diet, especially the Mediterranean one. Enjoy baking and savoring every bite!

More Delicious Treats for the Mediterranean Diet

Healthy Morning Glory Muffins

Invisible Apple Cake

Healthy Muesli

Gluten-free Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Muffins

Almond Blueberry Muffins

Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

sliced banana walnut bread on a wood board
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5 from 5 votes

Banana Walnut Bread with Olive Oil and Honey

Our simple banana walnut bread recipe features nothing but wholesome ingredients. From whole wheat flour to olive oil, this delicious, nutrient-rich treat aligns perfectly with the Mediterranean Diet.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Veronique Eichler

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a 9 x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • Place flour in a large bowl. Add cinnamon, baking soda, salt. Combine with a whisk.
  • In a medium bowl, mash banana thoroughly with a fork until there are no large chunks left.
  • Add to the bowl: egg, Greek yogurt, honey, olive oil and vanilla extract. Whisk well until combined.
  • Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold in until just combined.
  • Add walnuts and gently stir the batter once more.
  • Pour batter into the lined loaf pan, shaking to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

  • Instead of parchment paper, you can lightly oil the pan. However, parchment paper makes removal a breeze.
  • The riper the bananas, the better. To quickly ripen bananas for this recipe, store them in a paper bag on your countertop.
  • Use a mild and smooth tasting olive oil so that the flavor doesn’t overpower the bread.
  • Raw, unfiltered honey offers the best health benefits and flavor.
  • Full-fat yogurt can be used for an even richer texture.
  • Do not overmix the batter or the gluten will start developing and result in a denser, tougher texture.
  • See complete post for variations and storage recommendations.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Banana Walnut Bread with Olive Oil and Honey
Amount per Serving
Calories
212
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
 
10
g
15
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
0.003
g
Cholesterol
 
14
mg
5
%
Sodium
 
289
mg
13
%
Total Carbohydrate
 
28
g
9
%
Dietary Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Total Sugars
 
12
g
13
%
Includes Added Sugar
 
7.75
g
Protein
 
5
g
10
%
Vitamin A
 
40
IU
1
%
Vitamin C
 
3
mg
4
%
Vitamin D
 
0.1
µg
1
%
Calcium
 
32
mg
3
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
Potassium
 
170
mg
5
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    As a lifelong lover of banana bread I was a bit skeptical how this recipe would turn out. What I can report is that this recipe made the BEST banana bread that I have ever had!

  2. With this recipe, I have stopped my search for a perfect banana bread. I made no changes to the recipe. I love it. Tasty. I think the proportions of ingredients and baking time are right on. One of the few quick breads that I have made that baked through evenly. It gets a SAVE from me.

    • Veronique Eichler

      So glad you like it, Anne! You’re confirming my husband’s verdict that it’s possibly the best banana bread he’s ever had! Make sure you share the recipe with friends and family!

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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