This is a simple banana bread recipe that can be made at home zero waste, and is a great alternative to buying pre-made cakes that come with single-use plastic and a healthy, nude food snack for kids lunchboxes.
It is gluten-free, wheat free, yeast-free, can be dairy-free and sugar free too. There are plenty of options for variations and it is a fabulous way to use up over ripe bananas.
In the recipe, you'll find tips on making it as zero waste as possible. It takes about 5 minutes to mix, 45 minutes to bake and can be eaten immediately or sliced up and frozen.
I'm famous for not following recipes to the letter, so mine always turns out a little differently and on occasion I substitute a few of the ingredients.
A few weeks ago we ran out of rice flour and as I am the only gluten-sensitive person in the house I ended up substituting with wholemeal wheat flour. So you can definitely change up some of the ingredients.
I love recipes that still turn out great when concentration levels are low and some ingredients are missing from the pantry. This can be made with 2 bananas, or up to 5 bananas, depending on what you need to use up at the time.
When I'm serious about low-sugar eating, I omit the honey and it still tastes amazing. Make sure you use Australian pure honey, organic is best.
This recipe lends itself to adding your own variations such as chopped walnuts,sunflower seeds, LSA mix, pepitas, linseeds , dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, desiccated coconut, and more.
A quick note about oatmeal:
This is not rolled oats. Oatmeal is finer than oat bran, but not as fine as oat flour and NOT always easy to get hold of in bulk food shops.
If you can't get oatmeal, you can substitute with oat bran.
It will have a slightly more rustic texture, but wont effect the taste OR require a special shopping trip!
Getting as many of the ingredients from bulk stores really cuts down on single-use plastic packaging.
If you don't have good access to zero waste shops, then just opt for the best you can. As you can see, here I have rice flour and bi-carb soda in cardboard boxes, and of course the eggs. The remaining ingredients were purchased from bulk bins, and the huge advantage is that you only need to buy the quantity you need.
If you're located in Adelaide, then this list of places to get hold of bulk foods will make it so much easier.
1 Cup of Oatmeal
1/2 Cup of Rice Flour
1/2 Cup of Soy Flour
3 tsps of Baking Powder
1/2 tsp of Bicarb-Soda
125 grams of Butter
(See recipe method for a zero waste vegan alternative)
1/2 Cup of honey
(omit for a sugar free version)
(You can use between 2-5 bananas, but this is the ideal quantity)
Juice for 1/4 of a Lemon
1-2 tsp Cinnamon
First, get all of your ingredients onto your kitchen bench, along with a measuring cup, kitchen scales (if you have them), measuring spoon or teaspoon, mixing bowl and cake tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 160-170 Degrees Celsius
You can use a food processor, but I strongly recommend mixing this by hand so that you have more texture with chunks of banana running through the bread.
Peel your bananas and roughly mash with a fork, squeeze over about a quarter of a lemon, this is plenty.
This will prevent them becoming brown in the final product. but Don't over mash or you wont get chunks of banana in your bread
Use soft, room temperature butter and mix well into the bananas. (Store in a butter dish on the kitchen bench to keep it at ideal temperature)
I opt for blocks of butter, and if you are in the mood, you can peel the foil away from the wax paper and recycle that part of it - this is super fiddly so I don't do this.
Here's a cool way you can reuse butter wrappers as patty pans though.
If you have plenty of time, you could make your own butter at home with a mason jar.
Or make a vegan butter at home with this recipe.
Add 2 beaten eggs and half a cup of honey.
For the lowest waste option, get the eggs from your backyard chickens. If, like me, this looks like it will never happen, buy local and free range or biodynamic eggs.
If you can find a local farm, this is a great way to donate egg cartons, where they can be reused instead of recycled.
Local Honey can be found at almost any health food store and you can bring your own containers for refilling.
Mine is conveniently in a cup sized jam jar, so instead of measuring, i'm just going to guess the quantity.
Add all remaining ingredients (flours, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarb soda and any extras like nuts, choc-chips or sunflower seeds)
It is going to look like a runny, chunky batter at this stage.
Grease a loaf tin with butter, coconut oil or olive oil and pour in the batter.
I just use clean hands to coat the tin, its a little messy, but a great moisturiser I guess.
If you don't have a suitable baking tray, I can really recommend this glass baking dish that comes with a lid. I love items that have multiple uses, especially when you can cook AND store in it rather than transferring to another container.
You could use baking paper, but it really isn't necessary and is recyclable. If you cant do without it, this brand has sustainable baking paper, and you can use it more than once.
I have written about baking without baking paper and it really is simple.
Very gently spread the mixture evenly in the tin, being careful not to actually push the mixture down much. If you do, it can turn out quite dense.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
When it is done, the banana bread should look golden, it will spring back slightly when pushed on top and to check if the inside has cooked, poke a metal skewer in the middle - if it comes out clean then it is ready.
I slightly overcooked mine as I forgot it was in the oven. It is a little browner than usual, but still totally delicious!
I should say now wait for it to cool, but we don't!
I immediately flip it onto a breadboard using oven gloves and then we fight over who gets the first piece.
If it doesn't pop straight out of your baking tin, allow it to cool and it should easily slide out.
Suitable to freeze.
You can expect it to stay fresh for 3-4 days at room temperature, providing it is covered and not too warm.
I hope this help you create a very simple and healthy banana bread that is zero waste, and a great plastic-free addition to school lunchboxes.