Last Saturday, I drove down to Departure Bay to pick up our darling Em, who had been isolating herself for ten days in Vancouver. Even with the isolation, she’s still so nervous about infecting us that she’s been wearing a mask indoors for the past four days. James made a fabulous vegan Christmas dinner for her on her first evening: Roasted, Stuffed Seitan Turkey with light gravy, Gaz Oakley’s Yorkshire Puddings, Ottolenghi’s Roasted Potatoes with Caramel and Prunes, Chez Piggy Coleslaw, Ottolenghi’s Sweet and Sour Brussel Sprouts with Chestnuts and Grapes, and Gaz Oakley’s Christmas Pudding–it was all delicious and took the three of us a few days to get through all the food!
And since she always loved my mum’s trifle, I also made her a decidedly non-vegan trifle. I mean…it was vegetarian, of course, but not entirely plant-based.
As a result of my various experiments with trifle, I ended up with a ton of VERY ripe bananas, so today I decided to make a healthy banana loaf–similar to my zucchini-banana bread, but with carrots rather than zucchini. I also added a bit more variety with the dried fruit and mixed up the flours and sugars a bit.
The recipe makes a couple of loaves or twenty-four small muffins, so I made a pan of muffins and a loaf. The recipe calls for a cup of nuts/seeds and a cup of dried fruit, but you can use whatever combination you want. I did a quarter cup each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans for the nut-seed combo, and dried cranberries, pineapple, raisins, and chopped apricots for the dried-fruit combo. Oh, and I topped the loaf with another couple of ounces of almonds!
So this bread has seven kinds of fruit (four of which are dried, and one of which is in syrup form), one vegetable, two kinds of seeds, three kinds of nuts, and two kinds of flour! Dr. Greger will be so pleased with me!
Vegan Carrot-Banana Bread….and it’s oil-free!
2 large very ripe bananas
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup date syrup
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1.5 cups whole-wheat flour
1.5 cups sprouted whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/4 cups dried apricots
For topping: 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350 F. Use a silicone no-stick or spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. This recipe makes twelve huge muffins (or twenty-four small ones) OR two loaves OR one large bundt. Your cooking time will vary based on which type of pan you use.
Blend together in the Vitamix (or regular old blender) bananas, applesauce, almond milk, maple syrup, date syrup, and vanilla.
Mix the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt and add the wet mixture and the grated carrots to the bowl and mix just until no flour is visible. Add the nuts, seeds, dried fruit and mix lightly.
Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for…..well, it depends on what you’re making. For a loaf, it can take about 45 – 50 minutes. For muffins, the baking time will be about 30 minutes if small, 40 minutes if large. For a bundt pan, it will take at least an hour and may need more time. If so, turn heat down to 325 F and bake an additional ten to fifteen minutes.
The internal temperature should be just over 200 degrees when done.
The result is mighty fine as James would say–particularly delicious toasted with a dab of peanut butter on top!
And just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post, the electricity went out! Sadly, James was just about to embark on Ottolenghi’s rather complicated Onion Ring recipe he’d promised Emily as an appetizer. We ended up eating hummus and veggies instead…and leftover pasta puttanesca warmed over the wood stove for dinner, which was just fine (particularly since I’d made fresh baguettes earlier in the day). However, the electricity just popped back on, so we’ll likely have those succulent onion rings as a midnight snack!
And the song of the day is Andrew Bird’s “Christmas in April,” which seems a bit appropriate since we had to celebrate Christmas with Em so late this year because of the plague times: