banana bread and the soybean

Back in the late-’90s, I was swimming in soy. Minnesota Soybean, a commodity organization, hired me to help educate folks about the health benefits of soyfoods. I knew very little going in, but after studying the research on soyfood consumption, I was convinced that enjoying whole soyfoods (NOT taking soy pills) in moderation can be healthy. Fast forward to 2012 and soyfoods are found in mainstream grocery stores. Soymilk is frequently sold alongside dairy milk. Tofu hasn’t replaced steak (and I hope it does not), but in part thanks to the emphasis on enjoying the occasional meatless meal, soyfoods have found their way into many kitchens.

Minnesota Soybean came to mind when I was cleaning out my files recently and came across a recipe brochure I had helped put together. The photos were dated, but the card for banana bread caught my eye. I’ve had a large bag of overripe bananas in the freezer for a while and this seemed a good use for them. Other draws included the whole wheat flour and ground flax in the recipe–this banana bread would be whole-grain and healthy. Crushed soynuts were also stirred into the batter, upping the nutrition and adding taste and texture.

I made the banana bread a few days later and it was indeed delicious. Sweet, rich, and nutty, it’s great toasted and spread with butter for breakfast. A slice makes a filling late-morning snack. Tonight, I spread it with cream cheese and date jam and called it dessert. My girls are iffy on it, but my husband thinks it’s grand. Anyone looking to add whole grains or soy to their diet–or anyone who likes banana bread–should give this recipe a spin.

Banana bread with soynuts

Flax Banana Bread

This recipes makes two loaves–I cut ingredient amounts in half and made one.

  • 1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon vinegar plus enough milk to make 1/3 cup–let it stand 5 minutes before using)
  • 6 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup crushed soynuts + extra for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 (9-inch) loaf pans.

In large bowl, stir together flours, flax, baking soda and salt. In separate bowl, beat together butter, applesauce, sugars, eggs and buttermilk with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in bananas. Add mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just enough to blend. Stir in 2/3 cup soynuts. Divide batter between pans. Sprinkle tops of each loaf with additional crushed soynuts. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until knife inserted into center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

7 thoughts on “banana bread and the soybean

  1. mmmmmmmm this sounds delicious. Would it work as well without the soybeans? I’m asking because I suffer from a hypothyroid and soy is one of the foods that actually work against the healing of my thyroid. I try to avoid it when I can.

  2. Ah yes, there are instances when soy isn’t a good thing. For sure you can omit the soynuts or replace them with any other nut or dried fruit. Or how about mini chocolate chips?

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