I run a rescue operation for unwanted bananas.
I don’t discriminate against age or colour, if there is a neglected, speckley banana I will give it a good home. First, on my kitchen counter until it turns black, then in my freezer where it awaits it’s destiny as a tasty smoothie or as no sugar banana bran muffins (we make a batch of these once a week). I only wish I had a bigger freezer so I could take in more stray bananas.
I’ve had banana bread on my brain for ages (whole grain, naturally sweetened, chocolate studded) but can’t seem to get around to making it. I think mostly because I don’t want to end up at home with an entire loaf of banana bread. Real talk: I no longer have the kind of constitution that allows me to eat a lot of baked goods, even the ‘healthy’ kind. I need to plan my banana bread (cookie, brownie, cake) baking for times when I’ve got a crowd of people to feed, or when I can schlep the extras off to the office.
Granola, though it needs to be tended while it bakes, seems for some reason like less of a commitment. Perhaps because I know I’ll be able to store it in an airtight jar for weeks on end, or perhaps because it’s simply a matter of whizzing a few wet ingredients together, folding that into some whole grain oats, coconut, and walnuts, and not ten minutes later my apartment will smell like the most amazing banana bread you’ve ever eaten.
Here’s what’s awesome about this coconutty banana walnut granola. It uses up your old bananas (or some of the stash in your freezer if you’re a banana hoarder like me). It’s naturally sweetened with the bananas and a touch of maple syrup. It smells AH-mazing. It’s super delish straight out of the jar, as a topping on some plain yoghurt, or even on some ice cream. I won’t judge. Plus, home made granola is always way more awesome than the store bought kind, especially because you know exactly what’s in it. And what makes a better gift than a jar of home made granola?
Folks who are gluten free can make this with gluten free oats, or, if you can’t tolerate oats at all, try it with quinoa flakes instead. Be aware that quinoa is a bit thirstier than oats, so you may need to add extra liquid if you go that route. In any case, I hope you try it, and let me know how it goes.
Coconutty Banana Walnut Granola Recipe:
If you don’t have frozen bananas, the browner your bananas are the better. I let mine go black so they become truly sweet, but any stage once they’ve started to get speckled is fine. I used virgin coconut oil, which adds to the delicious coconut flavour, but you can sub in extra virgin olive oil if you’d prefer. This recipe makes about 6 cups of granola.
Recipe adapted from Shutterbean
5 cups rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup raw walnut pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
2 frozen bananas, thawed, or 2 really ripe bananas
Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a couple of big baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, whiz together the maple syrup, coconut oil, and bananas. Alternately, you can mash the bananas with a fork and then whisk everything together by hand.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, coconut, walnuts, cinnamon, and salt together. Pour the wet mix over top, and give everything a good stir to mix it together.
Spread the granola in even layers on the prepared baking trays. Pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, pulling the trays out to stir the granola every 10 minutes, and rotating the trays in the oven at least once. Watch the granola carefully towards the end to be sure the edges don’t burn. It should be smelling amazing and golden brown.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the trays. Transfer to a clean glass jar, or you can store in the freezer in plastic bags. Enjoy!
Oats are rich in indigestible carbohydrates called beta-glutens which help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Oats are also host to a number of phenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties, are helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, and are a good source of dietary fiber and protein.
Coconut contains saturated fats, which, for ages were demonized as being ‘bad fat’s. Current research indicates there are actually different types of saturated fats, and some types of saturated fats, including those found in coconut, are good for you. Everything in moderation.
Walnuts are a rice source of monounsaturated fats (good for your heart) and a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts also have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties which are protective against cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. Remember that like all nuts, walnuts are calorie dense, so we’re consuming them in moderation
Bananas are a great source of concentrated energy and potassium. They are also a very good source of vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2014