School is finally over and I cannot tell you how relieved I am. After a difficult semester, the first thing I wanted to do was get back into the kitchen to test out some new recipes! This is one of the many to come and let me just tell you, I cannot stop eating it. Guys, these banana bars are so addictive and have been approved by some of my toughest critics (thanks Adriana & Dan). Not only are these banana bars delicious but they are also surprisingly nutritious! Free of refined sugar and loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, this bar will make you think twice about healthy eating.
Sugar is one of those things that I think we can all agree we eat too much of. As much as we try to limit or avoid it, it can sneak its way into our lives in sauces, juices, but most commonly through sweet treats. While there is nothing wrong with indulging from time to time, refined sugars like white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, etc should be limited as much as possible. But a life without sweets doesn’t sound like much fun so instead of the refined sugars, I created this recipe using only natural sources such as dates, maple syrup, and bananas. These ingredients together create an amazing flavor combo that will soothe any sweet tooth. We swapped the traditional white all-purpose flour for a whole-wheat/oat flour combo to help you get in that daily dose of B vitamins, fiber, and protein! The peanut butter replaces traditional butter to add some extra protein as well as healthy fats (omega-6)and just adds an extra bit of moisture. All in all, this recipe further proves that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring.
- 4 ripe bananas (the more brown spots, the better)
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 heaping cup of Medjool dates (pits removed)**
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup oats (blend/process until flour texture)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- optional add-ins: dark chocolate chips, walnuts, pecans, dried fruit
**NOTE: Choose dates that are moist and soft to the touch. If the pits are hard to remove, soak/boil your dates in about 1 cup of hot water until the pits practically slide out.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Oat Flour- Add 1 1/4 cup of oats (any oats will work) to a blender or food processor and mix until smooth powder like texture is achieved. Set aside.
- Date Mixture- Add 1 heaping cup of pitted dates to food processor and if necessary add small amounts of hot water until smooth peanut butter like texture is achieved.
- Place bananas in a large bowl and mash with fork or potato masher until smooth.
- Add the date mixture, peanut butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and maple syrup into the mashed bananas and mix. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients- whole wheat flour, oat flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix to combine.
- In small amounts, add the dry ingredients to the wet banana mixture and stir to combine.
- Grease an 8 x 13″ pan with a small amount of butter and add mixture into the pan. Be sure to evenly spread the mixture otherwise you will have uneven bars.
- For a golden brown top add 1 tbsp of butter to the top
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Enjoy with a small drizzle of maple syrup if desired!
Store the excess in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or you can freeze for easy access for up to 3 months!
Cook with Me:
For the full step-by-step on how to make this recipe!
To make this Vegan: Swap the eggs for flax eggs (add 4 tbsp of flax seeds and 9 tbsps of water and let sit for 15 minutes or until thick texture).
To make this Gluten-Free: Use all oat flour or use substitute any other type of gluten-free flour for the whole-wheat flour used.