Best Ever Banana Bread {with Flax} – Vegan & Gluten-Free

Holy buckets I have not blogged in quite a little bit! This may be the longest blog break I’ve taken in a year! Wowza. Where oh where have I been?

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Welp, the month of July was insanely busy. In one short month I managed to go to New York, Chicago, Quebec City, attend two weddings, helped out with a fabulous bridal shower, attend Accepted Student’s Day at Columbia University in the City of New York (yup, that’s right, I’m heading back to NYC for grad school!) and spend a surprise night at a Ramawada Inn in Newark, NJ due to a clusterfuck of a travel situation heading back from Quebec.

Banana Bread with Flax - Vegan & Gluten Free

When I wasn’t traveling, I was working working working! I’ve been trying to work at Trader Joe’s as much as I can while still establishing a balance for free time/sanity, which between travel and some other freelance projects I’ve had this month, has been quite the juggling act. But exciting things are coming and happening and it’s been a busy but fun month – despite the fact that it completely flew by!

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

So today, July 29th, I had off. Free of all obligations, duties, travel agendas, work, and any other sort of obligation that would require me to be wearing real pants at a certain time and place. Aka utter BLISS.  Millie (bless her soul) of course decided woke me up at 5:34am on the dot. 5:34 am seems to be her favorite time to wake mommy up to go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, and promptly climb back into bed, leaving me up and awake for the day.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m naturally an early riser, but sometimes, sometimes, I fantasize of sleeping in til 6am on my days off. I guess I should just keep dreaming, right?

Getting up early isn’t always a bad thing – I’m most awake and productive in the early morning and it allows me to get things done before the rest of the world wakes up to distract me. The only downside is that often times I want to get errands done but things like the post office and Target aren’t open until several hours after I rise (-__-). Sometimes this leaves me time to do other things. Like bake.

Banana Bread with Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

This morning, I baked some banana bread. Can I tell you a secret? For YEARS I have had the hardest time perfecting banana bread. I just couldn’t do it! I don’t know why. It was always too dry, too wet, too clumpy, or the texture simply wasn’t correct.

Banana Bread - Easy, Vegan & Gluten Free !

I know, I know how can this be? I can make homemade Cronuts and elaborate cakes with my eyes closed, and I’m a well-known banana fiend, but for reasons beyond my explanation, I couldn’t make a decent banana bread to save my life. Well, recently, I am happy to say, I conquered the banana bread beast. Yes, I won. I won at life.

Banana Flax Bread - Vegan & Gluten-free

This recipe is several years and about 200 loaves of mediocre or failed banana bread in the making. But here, right in front of your eyes, is the best-ever, hearty, moist, pleasantly filling / not junky vegan and gluten-free banana bread. I think two major keys to perfect banana bread are almond flour and coconut oil. I really have tried this recipe with peanut butter and almond butter, but to me, texture and flavor wise, coconut oil (though boring) reigns supreme.

Banana Bread w: Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

Winning at this recipe was a major hurdle for me to overcome in my life. I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my culinary shoulders. In a sense, accomplishing this banana bread was a pleasant reminder that if I bust my butt hard enough, I can overcome any life obstacle. Which, when you’re moving halfway across the country again to throw yourself into grad school after some relaxing time off, is a pretty good reminder.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Onwards and upwards, friends! Happy banana bread to you. 😀 And in the words of Apu from the Simpsons, “Hallelujah, we have banana bread.”

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 60-80 minutes
Level: easy

makes one 12 inch loaf, serves about 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 3 large very-ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub peanut butter or almond butter, but I like coconut oil best)
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup maple syrup (can substitute 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar or raw sugar)\
    • adjust amount based on desired level of sweetness
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/4 almond flour / almond meal (can sub oat flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub more oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (can sub more rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a cup, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle, at least 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil or nut butter in a large bowl. mash bananas and add to melted coconut oil. Stir will. Add maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Add almond flour, oat flour, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Fold into banana mixture. Add almond milk mixture and 1/4 cup walnuts and fold into batter. Mix until just combine.

5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, and bake for 60 – 80 minutes, or until bread becomes browned and until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool and serve with coconut oil, jelly, or more nut butter :-D.

Mini Vegan & Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

Why is it that mini foods are more fun? At first it seems paradoxical, especially in a culture where bigger is better. But it’s undeniable. Mini food RULES.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free!

You know what I mean. Mini m&ms and mini chocolate chips >>>>> than their regular sized counterparts. And whenever things are miniaturized, whether they be burgers as sliders or bite-sized cupcakes or those tiny peanut butter cups, something is always more fun about mini food.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes! Gluten Free & easy!

I believe it has to do with food ratios and textures. Also visual appeal and general cuteness. But that’s just my two cents and super scientific take on the matter. Feel free to agree and/or disagree, my opinion is pretty much set.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes!  easy & gluten-free

Mini foods also makes them Millie-sized, and we all know any mention or thought of my sweet pup fills my heart and soul with joy. What’ can I say? She’s just ma girl.

Easy Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Gluten-Free.

So the idea for mini pancakes is actually inspired by the Silver Dollar Pancakes at Trader Joe’s in the frozen section. Lots of moms tell me their kids love them. I tell them my mom loves them. Go pita, shattering stereotypes.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes! Easy& Gluten-free

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free!

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free !

I was off work today and wanted to do something a wee bit special for breakfast. As I had the time, I decided that I was going to make banana pancakes, because 1) I love bananas and 2) I wanted to “pretend like it’s the weekend, now” as that one Jack Johnson song goes because the way my work week falls at this moment Tuesday is my Sunday aka pseudo-weekend on a weekday. Confused yet? Cool. Let’s talk pancakes.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes. Easy & Gluten-Free

These wee babies are fluffy yet hearty, thanks to the creation of pseudo-buttermilk by combining almond milk + vinegar for a little bit of fluffy umpf, and the almond meal gives them a wonderful nutty flavor, reminiscent of banana bread with a density and satisfaction that will actually keep you full, unlike say, pancakes made with all-purpose flour.

Easy Mini  Vegan Banana Pancakes. Gluten-Free

I really loved these little guys. They are not only delicious, but adorable, and oh-so-dippable, which is an added bonus for me because I’m not a real adult yet and I really enjoy that sort of stuff / eating with my fingers. How sticky and delightful.

Mini Vegan Banana Pancakes!  easy & gluten-free

Make these wee ones and enjoy them plain, or with banana slices and maples syrup. Enjoy. Eat pancakes. Be happies. Go bananas.

-Kbakes out!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 m inutes
Level: easy
makes 16-18 mini pancakes, serves two

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/3 cup almond meal (can sub more oat flour)
  • 1/2 large (or 2/3 small) very ripe banana, mashed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (suggested: almond, coconut, soy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do; can also be omitted with slightly less fluffy results)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter or coconut oil (can sub other nut butter or nondairy spread)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

1. In a small bowl or glass, combine almond milk and vinegar and allow to curdle for a few minutes. This is optional, but making this pseudo-buttermilk increases fluffiness. 🙂

2. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, almond meal, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add mashed banana and nondairy milk and stir gently until just combined.

3. Heat electric griddle to about 300 degrees (temperature may vary greatly among griddles) or heat a small amount of non-dairy butter or coconut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Allow to heat completely before cooking pancakes. When you flick water onto the griddle and hear a sizzle, it’s time to go.

4. Place about 1 tablespoon of batter in small circles on the griddle. When the top begins to bubble and edges begin to brown slightly, flip pancake and cook on the other side. Each side should take approximately 60-90 seconds to cook.

5. Serve with banana slices and/or real maple syrup. 🙂 Enjoy and dip away~!

Olive Oil Grape Cake

Once upon a time a few years ago I randomly saw someone on TV make a grape cake. It was a quick, mini-cooking segment on a morning talk show. I can’t even remember who was hosting the show, who made the cake, or where I was when I watched it. All I can remember is that for years, the idea of making a cake with grapes has appealed to me. <— [unintentional pun]

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This happens a lot. I have a hugeee baking bucket list. I’ll want to make something for years sometimes before it actually happens. For example, I wanted to make rainbow cookies for probably 3 year before it actually happened. But then it did. And it was awesome.

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Anyways back to grape cake. It’s been on my baking bucket list for years. I believe the original one that I saw had ricotta and eggs and stuff. But I wanted a light, fluffy cake you could eat for breakfast. So I did my own lil twist on the grape cake by adding the lovely flavor of ALMONDS.

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I added almond extract, which I believe was a solid idea. In fact, I think this makes the cake. I went a step further by adding some leftover almond flour I had. This gave it a heartier texture of sorts. I dug it. If you’re not really into almonds, don’t have almond flour, or just want a plainer, simpler cake, feel free to omit either the almond extract, flour, or both. For those of you who are as nuts about nuts as I am and want them in this cake, go ahead and add.

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The grapes in the cake were very interesting. They got all cooked and juicy and played the same textural component chunks of apples do in apple cakes. Except it was a nice different surprise with a grapey flavor. Warm grapes are delicious, as it turns out (at least they were when I ate this fresh out of the oven and/or when I heated the cake up in the microwave later. Another thing I highly recommend).

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Instead of butter or non-dairy butter, I decided to use olive oil as my fat, to give it a luscious flavor and super moist texture. One of my favorite cakes ever is this Lemon Olive Oil Cake I made a while back for my sister’s bridal shower. Fun fact that post is my most-viewed post on kbaked.com. Dang now I want that cake. [Whispers to self, “Soon, my pet, soon.”] <—-did I just talk to myself on my blog? #awkward.

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In other news, you can and should make this cake. As far as cake-making goes, it’s super fast and easy. And it’s something different. Like DQ. Except DQ isn’t really that different. In fact, it’s pretty commercial and standard. Still delicious though. But not as #trendy or fun to talk about or healthy as this cake.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

makes one 9 inch round cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (can make in food processor with raw almonds) or 3/4 cup more all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh grapes
  • powder sugar for dusting as garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar. Allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes. This is your pseudo-buttermilk.

3. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and sugar. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together until well combined. You can also sift if you’re fancy / your heart desires.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl with the olive oil & sugar mix. Fold in gently. Add half almond milk + vinegar mixture, orange or lemon juice, and almond extract. Fold gently until well combine. Add remaining half flour mixture and mix again until just combined.

6. Wash and dry grapes well. Pick them off the stem. I suppose you could leave them on the stem, but that would be a hassle later on.

7. Pour batter into one round 9 inch pan. Sprinkle 3/4ths cup grapes evenly on top of batter, leaving the other 1/4 cup aside. Place in the oven for 20. Add remaining 1/4th cup grapes by gently pressing them into semi-cooked batter. This step is optional, but will give you some grapes peeking out of the cake instead of having all of them sink. If you want them all to sink, that’s cool too. All up to you!

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8. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the cake is fragrant, has browned, and a toothpick comes out clean upon removal from the center of the cake.

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9. Dust with powdered sugar if you’d like. Eat and enjoy the grapey olive oily goodness !

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