When Sh*t Goes Bananas

Bananas–a kitchen staple: great snack, great source of protein, and most importantly, very yummy! But as if the past year wasn’t chaotic enough, I’ve found myself with over-ripened bananas more times than I’d like to admit. Living with two roommates, we purchase three bunches of bananas per week, and a lot of these bananas are consumed in my apartment, but it also means that in the off week where one of us buys a bigger bunch, or forgets to eat the ones that they bought, we are quickly left with too-ripe bananas.


And in 2020, where everything seemed to be going bananas, I’ve turned to making new things out of those I previously thought I should throw away, so here are some of my favorite recipes with over-ripe bananas!


BANANA BREAD

Prep time: 15min Cook Time: 50min Yields: One loaf


I’m personally a huge fan of Tasty’s “One Bowl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread” recipe, both with or without the chocolate chips. Though I highly recommend adding nutella swirls if you're out of chocolate chips but still want that chocolate-y add. This banana bread is definitely my go-to when I forget about my bananas and next thing I know they’re too ripe to be eaten with almond butter. While the process is a little long, with a baking time of one hour, the result is definitely worth it.


Banana bread with Nutella swirls. Image courtesy of Maria Gracia Santillana.


OAT-BANANA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

This is a personal favorite. From wine and movie nights, to late study sessions, these 30-min oat-banana chocolate chip cookies are both healthy and yummy. These cookies are perfect for those who still want to satisfy their sweet craving while still cutting down on sugar and carbs!


Prep time: 15min Cook Time: 15-20min Yields: 12-16 cookies

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas

2 tbsp almond butter (non-salted preferably)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

¾ cup of almond flour

¾ cup of oats

A pinch of cinnamon

½ cup of chocolate chips to taste


Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F

  2. Line a baking tray with either parchment paper or aluminium foil.

  3. In a bowl, mash the two ripe bananas until they are smooth. Banana-oat cookies out of the oven. Image courtesy I of Maria Gracia Santillana.

  4. Add the almond butter and vanilla extract and combine.

  5. Next add the almond flour and oats, making sure they are both fully incorporated into the banana mixture.

  6. Add the pinch cinnamon and chocolate chips. Mix well.

  7. Scoop 1 tbsp of the cookie batter onto the tray.

  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes.


Notes: Depending on how ripe your bananas are and how wet your batter ends up being before you throw them in the oven, your cookies may need more time. The perfect texture of cookies will be firm to the touch and they should keep their shape when picked up. Don’t be afraid to leave them for an extra 5-10 minutes if they need it!


BANANA PANCAKES

The easiest, no-think, way to make banana pancakes is to simply add one mashed banana to your favorite pancake recipe. In my house, unless it’s some fancy occasion or we’ve run out, this usually means using boxed pancake mix and adding in a banana. If you’re feeling fancy, these 2-ingredient banana pancakes are truly delicious, and they’re gluten and dairy free!









Banana Pancakes, Image Courtesy of Emma Christensen


CHOCOLATE-BANANA BITES

What’s better than quick and easy frozen banana treats? Inspired by Trader Joe’s “Gone Bananas”, this recipe is quick, easy, and ready to eat in minutes! The only thing that makes these banana bites better is their resemblance to Donofrio “bombones”–yummy bites of vanilla ice cream covered in chocolate, and my go-to summer treat when I’m back home in Peru.


Prep time: 15-30min Yields: 2 bananas, about 20-30 slices (depending on how thick the slices are).


Ingredients:

2 (frozen) bananas

½ cup dark chocolate

½ cup semi sweet / milk chocolate

2 tbsp of coconut oi


Preparation:

  1. Slice bananas and place in a sheet tray. Freeze overnight.*

  2. In a bowl, melt the coconut oil and chocolate in a microwave for 30 second.

  3. Take the bowl of the microwave and give it a stir. Place back for an extra 15-30 seconds to finish melting the chocolate. Take out and stir to make sure everything is smoothly incorporated. The process isn't always glamorous, but the end result I is delicious! Image courtesy of Maria Gracia Santillana.

  4. With a fork, dip each banana slice into the melted chocolate. Make sure to cover all sides, and then slide it onto the parchment paper. The coconut oil in the chocolate will quickly harden, so try to work swiftly to avoid the chocolate hardening onto your fork.

  5. Throw the now covered chocolate bananas back into the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

  6. Enjoy!


Notes: You can easily do this recipe with already frozen bananas! I tend to freeze mine once I start seeing them go too-ripe. Just take them out and let them thaw for 5minutes, slice them and continue the chocolate-covering process.


Recipe inspired by: The View From Great Island


SMOOTHIE GALORE

Bananas make great bases for smoothies. After a brief stint at a smoothie shop in the West Village, I quickly learned that frozen bananas are the currency of the smoothie world. They were the base for almost every smoothie on our menu, and add the creamy richness in smoothies that we all know and love.


If you’re looking for a way to reduce your sugar intake (and this was a popular move at the smoothie shop for those who were in the keto diet) replace half of the banana amount with frozen cauliflowers.


Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana

1 cup of almond milk

1 tsp of almond butter

Dash of vanilla extract

Cinnamon

1-2 tbsp of vanilla protein powder (optional)


Preparation:

  1. In a blender, throw the frozen banana, almond butter, almond milk, and cinnamon together.

  2. Blend until smooth.

  3. Serve and enjoy!


Notes: You can adjust the amount of milk in your smoothie depending on your desired consistency! I am also a huge fan of adding a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the smoothie once it’s ready.



Get ready for a banana smoothie! Image courtesy of Nina West / The Spruce.


Whether you’re craving something sweet or salty, hot or cold, these banana recipes are the perfect way to use up the fruits you would’ve otherwise thrown away. From snacks, to deserts, to meals, these options are surely going to make good use of your favorite fruit. Full stomach, no unnecessary food waste, what’s not to like?