Say hello to the most tropical banana bread of all time:
Well, okay. I could have added mangoes and sunshine, but, we don’t have those things in Massachusetts-especially not in March. We mostly just have leftover snow, rain and temperatures that threaten to drop below freezing every day. Oh, and leftover cold-storage root vegetables from last fall’s harvest. Sure, local farms are starting to harvest spinach and lettuce from their greenhouses, but there’s definitely no ripe, juicy fruit or non-leafy veggies coming out of the ground. Woe is me.
A few weeks ago my sister brought home a probably-ripe pineapple from work (you can never be sure with those suckers) and when we cut it open a few days later, it was the most hard, dry, pale, tasteless pineapple EVER. I hate to waste food, and find creative ways to use up all my leftovers, but that pineapple went straight into the trash. We were planning to put pineapple chunks and jalapeño slices on pizza that Friday, but that obviously didn’t happen.
Not one to be deterred by a bad fruit experience, she then brought another pineapple home the following week for what we hoped would be our pineapple pizza redemption. Although not the best pineapple I’ve ever had (did I mention I live in Massachusetts where pineapples grow 0% of the year?), this one was pretty sweet and juicy. We loaded up a pizza with tomato sauce, feta, pineapple, and jalapeño, and it was the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors.
But I’m not here to share a pizza recipe with you today; instead I’m showing you what I did with all the leftover ripe pineapple. Yup, you guessed it. I folded it into my favorite banana bread recipe with plenty of coconut and pretended I was sitting on a warm beach every time I ate a slice. It wasn’t exactly the same as booking a trip to Hawaii, but it was considerably less expensive and the wait time was so much shorter. Yes, I’m talking about a mini tropical getaway in your very own kitchen, in less than an hour.
Here’s what you need:
Ripe bananas-the spottier the better. If yours are going black, that works too. Just don’t try to make banana bread with green-tipped or just-barely-yellow bananas. I will find you, and I will give you my sternest teacher look possible. Believe me, that stare has sunk the ships of 1,000 7-th graders. You don’t wanna mess around with me.
Coconut oil. I always buy unrefined (aka virgin) oil for the most coconut flavor and nutritional benefits. Beauty tip: I always keep a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a resealable container in my bedroom to use as face moisturizer. Seriously, this stuff is the best.
Maple syrup. Obviously my favorite sweetener- but this stuff isn’t tropical at all. It is, however, as close to sweet liquid sunshine as I can get in Massachusetts. You could definitely use honey or agave instead, if you actually live somewhere tropical and importing maple syrup from the northern hemisphere is crazy expensive.
An egg. There’s only one in this recipe, but it helps bind everything together. If you’re looking to veganize this recipe, a flax or chia egg works just fine. The bread will be ever so slightly more dense, but this is banana bread after all-dense is in the description.
White whole wheat flour. With all the bold flavors going on in this banana bread, you can’t even tell its whole wheat. I love the flavor/texture/nutritional boost of white whole wheat, but all-purpose would totally work here, if that’s all you have.
Pineapple. Hard, white, flavorless pineapples need not apply; we only want a ripe, sweet, juicy one. You’ll need about a cup, finely diced, which is less than half a pineapple. Canned pineapple doesn’t have much flavor, but you could use thawed frozen pineapple, if fresh isn’t available (or is never ripe!) where you live.
Unsweetened Coconut. I used coconut flakes since that’s what I had in the house, but shredded coconut would be fine too. I also swirled extra coconut on top with a pinch of sugar because it felt like the right thing to do.
Baking powder and baking soda- we want this tropical beauty to rise, after all.
Vanilla, Cinnamon, Ginger, and salt. For all the flaaaavor.
Stir it all up, scoop it into a loaf pan, and bake bake bake. I usually find banana bread bakes in 40-45 minutes, but this one took me more like 50-55. I’m guessing it was all that extra juicy goodness from the pineapple. Either way, the end result is a sweet, dense, fully-loaded loaf of banana bread, perfect for gifting to your neighbors or hoarding all to yourself for afternoon snacks and easy breakfasts. I went the latter route, sandwiching 2 slices with cashew butter for breakfast all week.
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below or take a picture and share it with me on Instagram or Facebook. And, if you live somewhere that pineapple, bananas, or coconuts grow, feel free to send them my way.
- 3 medium or large very ripe bananas (there should be brown spots on the banana peel)*
- 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (can sub honey or agave, if needed)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup finely diced pineapple (fresh or defrosted frozen)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes + 1 teaspoon coconut sugar, for topping
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside.
- 2. Put bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla into a large bowl and mash with a potato masher until bananas are completely mashed and all the ingredients are well mixed. Alternately, you can mash the bananas with a fork first and add them to the other wet ingredients.
- 3. Add all remaining ingredients, including pineapple and 1/2 cup coconut, and stir just to combine. Pour into prepared pan, and top with remaining coconut and sugar. Use a spoon to gently swirl the coconut into the batter.
- 4. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until banana bread is fully cooked through. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean, and the banana bread should spring back when gently pressed.
- 5. Let cool, then slice and eat. Leftovers keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or 5+ in the fridge.
- *If your bananas are particularly small, use 4. Otherwise, 3 bananas will be plenty.