A quick search for whole grain banana bread recipes will turn up a few choices. All of them seem to just simply swap out the refined white flour for whole wheat. While that does accomplish the goal of eliminating refined grains, it does little for the flavor and texture of the banana bread. You can do better.
The biggest problem with simply substituting whole wheat for white is that the whole wheat is denser and drier. If you don't take steps to account for that, the banana bread will also be denser and drier. My recipe splits the flour evenly between two whole grains: whole grain wheat and whole grain oat. The wheat provides a good, strong structure while the oats are softer in both taste and feel. The lack of gluten in oats make them a perfect match for the high gluten wheat. Baking, just like life, is all about balance.
I use honey to sweeten most of my whole grain baked goods. There are two reasons for this. First, I think it is the best sweetener you can use, as far as health and nutrition are concerned. Second, honey is extremely hydroscopic. This means it attracts and traps moisture. This helps your banana bread stay moist. And that's a good thing.
The third major change in this recipe vs traditional banana breads is the choice of cooking fat. Butter would be the normal standby, and it does give a lovely flavor to baked goods. The problem with saturated fat, when it comes to baking, is that it is solid at room temperature. This is also true once baked. An unsaturated oil stays liquid and adds a moist feel to baked goods. The problem with just substituting vegetable oil is in the flavor; it doesn't offer much. I use walnut oil in my banana bread. In addition to being loaded with heart healthy omega-3s, the flavor goes incredibly well with bananas.
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 cup of whole grain oat flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
3 large or 4 medium very ripe bananas
1/2 cup of walnut oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of honey
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
Heat your toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
Put the whole grain wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into the work bowl of your food processor fitted with a multipurpose blade. Pulse several times to combine and aerate. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Put the bananas into the work bowl of your food processor fitted with a multipurpose blade. Process until well puréed. Add the walnut oil. Pulse a few times until combined. Add the eggs, honey and vanilla. Pulse until combined. Turn the food processor to "on" and let run for 3 minutes.
Add the banana mixture to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir until just barely combined. Too much stirring will over-develop the gluten and result in a tough bread.
Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and top with the chopped walnuts. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely before serving.
An absolutely divine addition to this banana bread is mini dark chocolate chips. Fold in 1 cup just before transfering to the loaf pan. Enjoy!