Chocolate Chip Banana Bites. Vegan. Oil-free. Low-fat. Gluten-free*
A few ingredients and a couple of really ripe bananas is all you need for this easy recipe. These little bites are dense and delicious! They’re also wheat free (gluten-free if using certified gluten-free oat flour), and low-fat. I recently substituted dried cranberries for the chocolate chips for a friend who doesn’t like chocolate (can you imagine?). They were delicious even without the chocolate chips!
The only problem with these is that they don’t last long when I make them.
*gluten-free when using certified gluten-free oat flour
Sweetened with fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit, so help me God! These oatmeal cookies almost shouldn’t be called cookies because they are good for you! The sweetness in these babies comes from banana, applesauce and date paste, as well as raisins and, as a treat, a few chocolate chips. Of course if you add chocolate chips, that changes things, but the heart of the cookie will still be super healthy. Be aware these are only slightly sweet. They are perfect for our family as our palettes have adjusted to less sugar/sweets (which can happen for everyone – just takes patience!). If you aren’t there yet, you may want to add more raisins and/or chocolate chips, or more date paste.
**Date paste is made by soaking whole, pitted dates until soft and much of the water is absorbed, and pureeing in food processor or blender until smooth. Here’s how: 1) Soak 1/2 lb dates with 1/2 cup water several hours, until much of the water is absorbed. 2) Use food processor or blender to create a creamy, smooth paste. Store in freezer (it doesn’t get hard!) and use in baked goods such as this one, as a fruit spread etc. Chef AJ has many recipes using dates in her great book Unprocessed.
* gluten-free as long as certified gluten-free oats and flour are used.
I’ve attempted to create granola-type bars in the past and haven’t been happy with the results. I got lucky this time. These are super easy to make and very quick. They are packed with Omega-3’s, protein and fiber.
Note: this recipe is only gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats and oat flour, which are both easy to come by.
My friend Kathy asked me to make a scone in this flavor, so I did. 🙂
I have faith in scones again.
I stopped eating them years ago, after I changed my eating ways to low-fat, plant-based. A sad time in a way. I loved my new healthy path, but I also really loved scones. And cookies. And donuts. And cakes. And pastries. I always say “if I could give that stuff up, anybody can!” It’s not like I ate them all the time but I treated myself more than I should have. Vegan treats and baked goods are becoming more mainstream, but they are by no means healthy. The animal products have been removed (win!) but they still have a ton of fat and heavily refined ingredients. Which is why I love creating healthier versions of fattening vegan baked goods. These scones fit right in with that mission. Are they health food that should be eaten all the time? No. But they sure are better for you than most, and satisfy a craving without putting your health at risk and creating a ton of guilt! Enjoy!
A friend recently posted a link to a scone recipe. The recipe called for whole wheat flour, and the addition of fruit, making it seem like a healthier version. I opened the link only to find the recipe was anything but healthy. It called for 1 cup whole cream, 1 stick of butter, an egg and and egg white. Yes, whole wheat is better than white, but with all the other unhealthy ingredients still there, it hardly makes a difference changing the flour and adding some fruit. Herein lies the problem with the way so many people eat. Adding a single food or nutrient, or taking it out, won’t really make much difference in health outcomes. We must pay attention to the overall pattern and big picture. As my friend and mentor Dr. Pam Popper says, “the totality of the diet and lifestyle”.
I was determined to “healthify” (not really a word, but I’m going with it) the recipe. I thought I would just be able to sub out good stuff for bad, but ended up basically creating a whole new recipe. I don’t use oil or vegan butter in my baked goods, but I did use a small amount here. Scones are all about fat, and I felt I needed some for them to turn out like anything resembling a scone. Keep in mind these are lighter than traditional scones because they aren’t loaded with fat. The average scone has 20-30 grams of fat (a day’s worth), so you’d have to expect this healthy version, which has about 3, to be a little different. They are still delicious, especially when you know arteries aren’t being clogged, and thighs or bellies aren’t growing during consumption!
NOTE: Use organic strawberries, as conventionally grown strawberries are very heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides. Or, feel free to use a different type of berry.
These muffins are very similar to my Sunshine Muffins, with a few small changes, and the addition of blueberries and poppy seeds – yummy. I have only used fresh blueberries in this recipe but frozen (thawed) would work too. These go VERY quickly in my house.
I’ve been craving lemon lately, which isn’t normal for me. I’m guessing it’s because I associate lemon with spring and the outdoors, which are two things I also crave. Living in SoCal the winters are really no big deal, but it’s still winter, and we have our days of no sun, with plenty of rain and even some cold temps (all relative, I understand). Whatever. I’m over it. However, since I have a ways to go until fairly consistent warmth and sunshine ensue, I will satisfy my cravings with muffins like these. To me, they taste like sunshine. The cardamom flavor paired with the fresh lemon is quite delicious. And the best part is they are healthy, using whole grain flours, no animal products and no added fat. The sun is shining in my kitchen!
Extras: 1) Top muffins with candied lemon zest just prior to cooking for extra lemony goodness. 2) Add 1-2 TBS poppy seeds to batter for Sunshine Poppy Seed Muffins. 🙂
UPDATE 2/12/13: Apparently the cardamom I used the first few times I made these had been around awhile. I purchased fresh (as fresh as you can get in the store) and used it in the recipe yesterday and the cardamom flavor was way too strong for my tastes. If you like it strong, stick with the 2 tsp, but I’m adjusting the amount to call for 1/2-1 tsp. Also, I felt the need to improve texture a bit. I wanted to lighten them a little; do something to help them rise a bit more (always tricky with fat/free, vegan baking). I added ground chia seeds/water and was very happy with the end result. You can grind them in a clean coffee grinder or blender.
I bought organic frozen pitted cherries from Costco recently and decided last night to actually do something with them besides eat them one by one out of the bag like I had been (they are like candy!). This is one instance (of many) when a Vitamix is the most amazing kitchen appliance you could hope to have. Love that thing. This creamy, delicious dessert is ready in about 2 minutes, and that includes gathering ingredients! It’s so sweet, you can’t believe there isn’t added sugar. Of course, when you sprinkle a few vegan mini chocolate chips on top as I did, that changes the no-sugar-added thing, but it doesn’t add much. You only need a few. I always have peeled, frozen bananas in the freezer for just this occasion. Enjoy!!