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We all go through it. At one point or another, everyone needs to lose a few pounds. Emily, my college-age daughter, called me a few weeks ago and said that when she came home for the summer, she wanted to get “back in shape” and she wanted my help… Too many late night pizzas had taken their toll and she wanted healthier options… hence this Gluten-Free Banana Coconut Bread.
Her request actually came at an interesting time – because I had also been approached by Thrive Market to try some items from their vast catalogue of natural and organic products and post about it. Sounds like serendipity, right?
So I placed my order — and I bought things I normally don’t — trying to get out of my comfort zone — but also trying to come up with recipes that Em would enjoy while making them healthier. So this banana bread is gluten-free. No all-purpose flour. Heck, no refined sugar, either. And guess what? It’s fabulous! Moist, with a tender crumb, coconutty chew and a satisfying crunch! It’s lightly sweet — and one slice will fill you up, because it’s so packed with nutrient dense food that instead of grabbing for one or two more slices, you’ll actually be satisfied with one serving.
I’m happy to be able to make her healthier options and I’m thrilled that I can find these ingredients in one place and at a discount! Let me tell you a little about Thrive Market… They are a socially conscious online store offering natural and organic products (not just food) at wholesale prices! We’re talking 25-50% off retail. Seriously. Here’s how it works:
Everyone can get a risk-free 30 day trial. Choose your items, save $$ on your order and if you like it, stick with it and join for a $59.95 annual membership fee. So, it’s basically like Costco — but with an environmentally and socially responsible edge. They’ve curated goods from (literally) hundreds of the leading natural product brands across categories like cooking ingredients, healthy snacks, nutritional supplements, natural home goods and bath and beauty and they’ve merchandised their supplies to ensure coverage across dozens of dietary preferences and values… So basically, if you’re vegan, you can cue up only the vegan ingredients… well that just makes sense, right?
Here’s some of the fun things I ordered: From Bob’s Red Mill (and they’ve got everything from Bob’s Red Mill)- I got coconut flour, arrowroot starch, cornmeal and hazelnut flour… I found some Arrowhead Mills gluten-free baking mix for pancakes etc… — Emily is a carb-freak, so I figured substitutions would work best for her new eating plan… Extra Crunchy Almond Butter (Em’s allergic to peanuts, remember?) and I ordered coconut oil and some other fun fats – that I can’t wait to try, like Ghee and Duck Fat!!!!
Now, about this bread… I was a little nervous at first because I’ve never made a bread without flour – but I did my research. I found that arrowroot helps to make gluten free products fluffier – which you want in breads and cakes, right? And coconut flour soaks up liquids like a shop-vac, so you use it in a reduced ratio (1:4) compared to regular flour. I consulted several gluten-free blogs, looking for something that was going to give me the look, taste and aromas of my favorite banana breads. I picked this one from Three Diets, One Dinner and added my own spin with flaked coconut and a sprinkling of pecans and pumpkin seeds for a crunchy topping. It didn’t disappoint! In fact, we all loved it!
Now, Emily’s perusing the inventory at Thrive Market to see what else looks good and try some more gluten-free baking. You can too! Register here for free and browse their catalog, they’ll show you the member savings and you’ll receive 15% off your first purchase. (Plus they always have a fun freebie with a minimum purchase). Placing your first order starts your free 30-day membership. See how much you save and cancel anytime. Plus, in accordance with their Social Responsibility promise, with each membership, Thrive sponsors a low-income family, because every family, regardless of income, geography or other arbitrary barriers, deserves a healthy lifestyle. Cheers to that!
- 3 ripe bananas
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 3 extra large eggs
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch
- 1 1/4 cups hazelnut or almond flour
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional) (pulse flaxseed in a mini food processor until ground)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (optional)
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a medium loaf pan by spraying with vegetable spray and lining with a sheet of parchment paper, that fits the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the coconut oil eggs, agave and vanilla and beat until smooth with a hand mixer 1-2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl combine the coconut flour, arrowroot starch, hazelnut or almond flour, flaxseed meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Whisk to combine, breaking up any lumps or clumps that you find.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until they are well combined. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the liquids fully. Meanwhile roughly chop the toasted pecans. Add the pecans and coconut to the banana mixture and stir. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of pecans and pumpkin seeds if desired.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack and turn out of the pan to serve.