I’ll admit: I was skeptical at first.
A few years ago, confronted by that perennial source of both tragedy and anticipation—
—I browsed the internet for a good banana bread recipe, and I came across Susan Voisin’s blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen. The blog features gorgeously-photographed, winningly-narrated recipes for dishes that are (always) vegan and (usually) without added fat. Charmed by Voisin and seized, it seems, by a taste for reckless adventure. I decided to make her Blueberry-Banana Bread.
Just to be clear, this banana bread recipe has no eggs, no oil, no butter.
What it does have is a riot of fruit: tons of mashed bananas, a dollop of apple sauce, a pile of blueberries, a squeeze of lemon. From there, it’s just flour (whole wheat), salt, sweetener (not very much, actually), and leavening, and you’re set.
I tossed the loaf pan into the oven with a shrug and a raised eyebrow. I’ve had fantastic vegan baked goods before, but they tended to be fantastic by virtue of the truly epic amounts of fat they contained. I was skeptical that banana bread, which is notoriously rich, could survive being both vegan and fat free.
I waited. And waited. And waited. (The recipe takes at least a full hour to bake.)
The loaf came out of the oven looking lovely, with blueberry explosions throughout. Once it cooled enough to handle, I cut a wee slice, shoved it in my mouth, and once again my eyebrows headed northward. This time, though, it was in surprise, not skepticism.
The bread was amazing. Ludicrously moist, enormously flavorful, the bread didn’t taste like oil and sugar. It tasted like bananas, slightly sweet with bright blueberries and nutty whole wheat playing backup.
It’s now the recipe I turn to whenever I find that my counters have become home to blackening bananas, whenever friends need a pick-me-up, whenever I just really want something both simple and glorious. I’ve adapted the recipe slightly (I add twice as many berries and usually use a mix of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and Marionberries), but otherwise, I pretty much stick to what Voisin made. Because now I know what amazing things are possible if I just put a cork in my skepticism.
Fat-free, vegan banana bread? Yes, please.
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