Who doesn’t love a nice warm piece of banana bread? With its moist centre and slightly crunchy exterior, served with a good spread of butter or a drizzle of honey. Banana bread is such a classic. Its often the saviour of the few extra bananas slowing browning in the fruit bowl, giving them a new life, and providing us with an all natural sweet, mooshy goodness. Bananas provide a good range of nutrients including potassium, vitamin C and Vitamin B6. But when they are added to the classic banana bread recipe the range of nutrients stops there. Between all of the sugar, bleached flour and commonly used vegetable oils the nasties end up out weighing the goodies.
Enter my Sweet Potato Bread. This twist on the classic is sure to live up to the love and expectations you have for banana bread. All while giving you a super tasty loaf that is nutritious enough to have for breakfast but sweet enough to have for dessert. My version is 100% refined sugar free, with dates and the sweet potato adding their own natural sweetener.
To keep this gluten free I use a combination of coconut flour and almond meal, which gives a slightly denser texture that retains moisture. I include chia seeds which for their size are bursting with nutritional goodness including calcium, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. I also use coconut milk which adds a luxurious texture and richness with a nice coconut flavour.
Then of course there is the sweet potato. This humble root vegetable is so versatile for sweet and savoury cooking and can be more exciting than just an addition to your roast potatoes, (which are pretty exciting). These gorgeous orange sweeties are also packed full of nutrients. Just 100 grams of sweet potato gives you all of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, 33% of your Vitamin C and a whole range of other nutrients including Potassium, Manganese and Vitamin B6.
When it comes to preparing the sweet potato I like to roast it rather than steam which can make the bread too wet. Roasting the sweet potato really brings out the sweetness and a greater depth of flavour. I also like to pair the sweet potato up with Pecans, I think the two go together deliciously and give a maple syrupy flavour, of course without the maple syrup. Between the pecans and the almonds you are also getting a healthy dose of Vitamin E, a range of B Vitamins, zinc and magnesium.
This recipe is also really adaptable and can be made into a zucchini and feta savory option or stick with the classic banana option. Other delicious flavours could include:
- Orange, pistachio and cardamon
- Raspberry and lemon
- Mango and lime
- Spring onion and sweet corn
- Olive, cherry tomato and Parmesan.
All you need to do is change the spices for various flavours and omit the dates for savory options.
So give it a go, my Naturopath approved Sweet Potato Bread. Swap it out for your classic banana bread recipe and treat yourself with a whole range of goodies you wouldn’t even know were there.
Sweet Potato Bread
400g of sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 fresh medjool dates, seed removed
100g butter, melted
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup coconut milk (you could also use almond milk)
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 tbs chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
Place the sweet potato in a lined baking tray and roast at 180 degrees for around 25 minutes or until the pieces are soft and have some colour. Don’t worry if some edges are a bit darker, this just means extra flavour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
For the next step I use a nutri bullet but you could also use a food processor or other high speed blender or just some elbow grease.
Place the roasted sweet potato, dates, eggs, melted butter, vanilla and milk into a blender and blitz to a smooth paste. If you are doing this by hand just mash up the sweet potato and try to chop the dates as finely as possible and then combine with the other wet ingredients.
In a medium bowl add all of the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the sweet potato puree and fold together. You may need to add a little more milk if the mix is too dry, but this will not be a runny mixture and should look like the photo.
Spoon the mixture into a lined loaf tin, push into the corners and smooth out the top. You can add some extra pecans to the top and an extra sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Bake at 180 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
Serve with a spread of butter or some coconut yoghurt.
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