This moist and delicious Banana-Walnut Bread is made healthier with whole grains, but still indulgent with a sweet and crunchy walnut streusel topping.
I don’t usually use ‘the best’ as a qualifier or adjective in recipes but this Streusel-topped Banana Walnut Bread is the best banana bread I’ve ever had! While I realize everyone has their favorite banana bread recipe, this recipe is one you’ll want to try. . . moist and satisfying with the sweet, crunchy streusel topping, and it’s made healthier with the addition of whole grains, while delivering some omega-3s from walnuts too.
This recipe is perfect for a new year where you’re trying to eat healthier but still want a sweet treat while we’re all staying home and it’s cold and gray outside!
Walnuts are perfect partner for banana bread with more nutrients and antioxidants than all other nut varieties and the only tree nuts that are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acid. Walnut oil is heart healthy and a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants. You can read more about the health benefits of walnut oil, from WebMD here.
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The secret ingredient in this banana bread recipe is Roasted Walnut Oil! It imparts a wonderful roasted nut flavor and makes the banana bread moist. Walnut oil can be used in place of most other cooking oils in baking recipes, sauces and salad dressings. Add a drizzle on top of your hummus or bowl our favorite delicious and healthy Roasted Pear-Butternut Soup -> yum!
The whole grains in the recipe come from oats in the batter and topping, and from white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is milled from hard white spring wheat as opposed to the traditional ‘red wheat’ that makes whole wheat flour. It makes for milder-tasting baked goods but still has the nutrition and fiber of whole grains. Substituting white whole wheat flour for up to a third of the white flour in your favorite recipes gives you all of the nutrition and fiber of whole grains without compromising flavor. I use King Arthur Flour Unbleached White Whole Wheat Flour, available at most grocery stores or Target.
The oats in the batter are soaked in buttermilk to soften them prior to baking, then the buttermilk / oat mixture is mixed with the other wet ingredients: bananas, vanilla, eggs, walnut oil, brown sugar and flour mixture.
I made this banana walnut bread back in November. We enjoyed half a loaf and I froze the other half that we pulled out the freezer to enjoy last week. I had forgotten how good it was! Look at that streusel topping… the best part of any loaf bread or muffin! It’s a combination of oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, walnuts and walnut oil.
A few notes for baking success:
For accurate measuring of flour, fluff your flour from the canister or bag and then spoon into your measuring cup so it’s overflowing, then level off with the edge of a knife. Scooping flour directly from the bag or canister will yield a heavier cup and larger amount that can negatively affect your recipes. –> see this video.
Oven temperatures vary, depending on brand, age, whether electric or gas and it’s not unusual for an oven to run 5 or 10 degrees hotter or colder. Using an oven thermometer is the best way to insure your oven temperature is accurate if your oven hasn’t been calibrated recently. Also, make sure you preheat your oven long enough, at least 20 minutes.
Err on the side of caution when baking a new recipe and test for doneness on the early side. About halfway through baking, loosely cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil to prevent the top from overbrowning before the center bakes through.
This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light. I only made a couple of changes, one of which was adding a half cup of walnuts to the batter for some additional crunch and texture.
Tip: To speed up the ripening of your bananas if needed, place them on a baking sheet and bake at 250˚F for 15 to 20 minutes until skins turn black. Peel and mash, allowing to cool slightly before mixing with your eggs and proceeding with recipe.
The Best Streusel-Topped (and Healthier!) Banana Walnut Bread
Banana Bread Ingredients
- 3/4 cup whole buttermilk or substitute 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk or water
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup roasted walnut oil
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas about 3
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
Walnut Streusel Ingredients
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons quick cooking oats
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoons walnut oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In medium bowl, stir buttermilk into 1/2 cup oats in a bowl; let stand 10 minutes.
- In small bowl whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts; set aside.
- Add bananas, vanilla, eggs, and remaining brown sugar and oil to buttermilk mixture; fold in flour mixture.
- Spoon batter into a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan coated with nonstick spray.
- Sprinkle walnut streusel over top of batter. Bake at 350°F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 minutes to 1 hour.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan; serve warm, or cool completely.
- Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons oil, walnuts, cinnamon, salt and remaining oats and flour in a small bowl. Sprinkle over batter and bake.
- For best results use whole buttermilk or substitute 1/2 cup whole milk Greek yogurt + 1/4 milk or water for buttermilk.
- If your bananas are not as ripe / sweet as you’d like, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet while oven is preheating until skins are black. Peel and mash and allow to cool slightly before mixing with eggs and proceeding with recipe.
- Can substitute regular or old-fashioned rolled oats, but allow oats to soak an extra 10 – 15 minutes to soften.
- Substitute canola oil for walnut oil if you can not find or prefer.
- For accurate measuring of flour, fluff your flour from the canister or bag and then spoon into your measuring cup until overflowing, then level off with the edge of a knife. Scooping flour directly from the bag or canister will yield a heavier cup and larger amount that can negatively affect your recipes.
- White whole wheat flour is milled from hard white spring wheat as opposed to the traditional red wheat that makes whole wheat flour. It makes for milder-tasting baked goods but still has the nutrition and fiber of whole grains. Substituting white whole wheat flour for up to a third of the white flour in your favorite recipes gives you all of the nutrition and fiber of whole grains without compromising flavor.
- Recipe calls for a 9 x 5 pan but an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pan will work too.
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