January 30, 2012

whole wheat banana avocado bread

* bake me something! * was the request from the ravenous yogi a couple of days ago.

whole wheat, banana, and avocado weren't necessarily part of the demand, but ... at this point he's accepted that my baking endeavors inevitably lean toward the hearty, the rough-hewn, and the whole grain.

when he went back for a second slice i figured i'd scored on this one; only then did i tell tell him there was avocado in there. timing is everything.

this banana-avocado loaf is made with 100% whole wheat flour for a deep, nutty flavor and satisfying chew. it's also free of eggs and dairy, and sweetened with low-GI, mineral-rich coconut palm sugar. a 'flax egg' -- ground flax seeds mixed with water to activate the soluble fiber in the flax -- acts as the binder. a great trick for reliable egg-free baked goods; i use a ratio of 1 tablespoon of ground flax to 3 tablespoons of water = 1 flax egg. mashed avocado, along with a small amount of olive oil (both great sources of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids) replace butter and create a moist, dense texture. you won't detect any avocado flavor - or green hue - in the finished bread.

we also have chopped walnuts in here for textural contrast and -- lest you think this concoction is sounding all too virtuous -- a sweet & crunchy crown of turbinado sugar + cinnamon.

we've only eaten the bread straight-up so far, but i'll bet it would be amazing toasted and spread with almond butter, cream cheese, or butter + jam, even mashed avocado with a sprinkling of crunchy sea salt ... that last one's a little out there but i would go for it. whatever your schmear of choice.

whole wheat banana avocado bread
makes one 9x5 inch loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
6 Tbsp water

1 ripe avocado, mashed (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil (plus more for greasing pan)
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

2 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle

grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan with olive oil, line with parchment paper, and rub the paper with oil.

whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. 

in a small bowl, mix together ground flax seeds and water. set aside.

in a separate large bowl, beat mashed avocado, oil, and coconut sugar until creamy and glossy, 3 to 4 minutes (i used a hand mixer for this). beat in flax mixture for another minute. then add banana, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice, and beat until combined. 

add in the flour mixture in three portions, taking care not to over mix. stir in the walnuts.

pour the batter into the prepared pan. mix together the turbinado sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. 

bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. cool on a rack before slicing. 


  1. great looking recipe--I can always count on you to create a tasty sweet treat with a lot of unexpected healthy elements. I never knew about flaxseeds egglike binding magic. Wow!

  2. thanks, nancy! the flax egg is a great trick- if only for those days when you want to bake but there are no eggs in the fridge.

  3. Wow, you win for originality and food balls with this one! Welcome back, Nancy! I missed you. And glad to see you have eschewed (like that fancy foodie-sounding word?) CAPITAL LETTERS! : P

  4. This was so moist and yummy! The nuts do create a nice contrast. I just found your blog the other day and it's already a new favorite!

  5. thanks, lentil! glad you're enjoying the new all-lower case style around here :) certainly does make proofreading each post a whole lot easier....

    hi mindfulmoments - thank you for the lovely comment :) i am glad the 'nanacado bread worked out for you!

  6. Hi Nancy-
    We were driving back to Berkeley from LA last weekend and bought about 30 beautiful organic avocados from a farm near San Luis Obisbo. I couldn't wait to get home to make this amazing bread again. This time I omitted the banana all together, doubled the avocado and added some brown sugar and chopped pecans. Delicious!!
    Thank you and keep the recipes coming!
    Daniele (Adena's sister)

    1. aw, thank you so much for your sweet comment, Daniele! so jealous that you can buy locally grown avocadoes in Cali. will have to try making this with 100% avocado next time, such a great idea -- and the brown sugar and pecans, too - i love it!!