I meant to make this as a St Patrick’s day post, but other recipes interfered. It would have been a beautiful green offering for the holiday, as well as well as the recipe that maybe made ya’ll think I’d finally lost my mind. But really, I like spinach in anything, and pureed in banana bread isn’t that big a leap, is it? You’d be surprised.
When I found this recipe on This Girl’s Gotta Eat’s site I told her I couldn’t wait to make it. I had dark bananas and spinach and was ready to roll. But as I said, other things intervened. Since I work most of the week for an auto insurance company, most of the recipes I post are made on weekends when I have time for the more interesting recipes. And I’ve admitted, we do a lot of dining out during the week, purely due to lack of time for good cooking.
So I’ve bought older bananas three different times to make this recipe and ended up tossing them out because they were too old. I’ve also had to toss a bag of fresh spinach that waited too long to become part of the recipe. Eventually the bread was delayed so long I could have made it an April Fool’s post. Although it looks like a joke, I assure you it isn’t. It is/was an amazingly tasty bread!
When I showed the recipe to my P.S. (Personal Shopper/hubby) he pointed out we didn’t have whole wheat flour. He cheerfully brought a bag home the next day and patiently waited for me to make the bread. We have the only state owned mill in the US in our town and we use their products as much as possible.
I followed the directions pretty closely, using my hand masher to mash the bananas. I used my food processor to puree the spinach and then wondered why we weren’t pureeing the bananas at the same time. That would have worked well.
I’m going to leave the directions in the recipe as I found them, but you might want to do the spinach and bananas together in the food processor. I plan to do that in the future whenever I make the recipe.
I doubled the recipe because I use 12” x 3 1/2” pans. They are the equivalent of one regular loaf, just longer and thinner. I like to have smaller loaves cut in half so I can freeze halves easier. I usually adapt my quick bread recipes so I can use my long pans. This recipe makes one small loaf so I doubled everything. Again I left the recipe as found. If you use the long pans as I do, you will need to simply double the amounts.
Next I measured the dry ingredients into a separate bowl and whisked it. I never sift anything and it works for me. Your choice again.
I mixed the wet ingredients into the dry just until blended, not wanting to overwork the dough. Quick breads often get tough if you too eagerly mix the ingredients. I stirred in the spinach, then the nuts.
I poured the batter into a prepared pan (sprayed with cooking spray), sprinkled the nuts over the top and slid it into the 350°F preheated oven. I set the timer for 30 minutes to check the progress.
The toothpick was still very wet so I set the timer for 20 more minutes. My toothpick tested dry after a total of 50 minutes so I removed it from the oven. The top was lightly browned and it smelled… interesting. Like banana bread and spinach. I began to have doubts and wonder how this was going to taste.
I let the bread cool for about 5 minutes then carefully rolled it out of the pan and onto a rack to cool further. After we’d eaten dinner we each had a slice and it was good! You can barely taste the spinach, it is more of a banana bread taste. My P.S. said it was a bit crumbly because it was overcooked. I didn’t think it was overcooked at all, it just wasn’t as moist as my usual banana bread that has more oil and buttermilk. That makes a difference.
But even several days later I found it fairly moist and delicious with a little butter on it. It is a little heavier and dryer than our usual bread but by pointing out that it is different doesn’t mean it is bad. We loved it! I even loved it toasted in the toaster, the ultimate test of banana bread. Sprinkle a little cinnamon on it after buttering the toast for a change!
Whole Wheat Spinach Banana Bread
1 medium banana
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white or brown sugar (I used white sugar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used honey orange flavored Greek yogurt)
Zest of 1 small lemon
1 cup packed baby spinach leaves (I used regular spinach leaves)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a small loaf pan with non-stick spray.
Mash the banana in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a third bowl whisk the sugar and egg until smooth and fluffy. Stir in oil, yogurt, lemon zest and mashed banana.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together.
Pulse the spinach leaves In a food processor until reduce to very small pieces, much like pesto. Fold the chopped spinach into the batter.
Coarsely grind the nuts in the same food processor bowl. Stir all but a few teaspoons into the batter.
Pour and spread batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Store covered in the fridge.
Adapted from This Girl’s Gotta Eat