When life gives you a bunch of overripe bananas—say you just got back from a camping trip where bananas were much less popular than you’d expected—well, I think you know what to do. You make banana bread, of course.
But this was to be no typical banana bread, because I’d gotten my hands on some SuperGrain+ flour from ReGrained’s R&D kitchen. Milled from the grain that’s leftover from brewing beer, it’s the key ingredient in ReGrained bars. They’ve also tried it in cookies, crackers, biscuits, and just about anything where you might substitute some whole-grain flour for some white.
I was excited to do a little experimentation of my own. SuperGrain+ flour is, as its name suggests, super high in fiber and protein, while banana bread is great at using up bananas, and pretends to be healthy but doesn’t quite get there. By combining them, I hoped to create a more balanced breakfast while fighting food waste on two fronts: 1) upcycling a kitchen staple and 2) substituing upcycled SuperGrain+ into the recipe.
The SuperGrain+ flour was soft and fine, and as I took a deep breath of its subtly toasted aroma, I had a feeling it was going to pair perfectly with that sticky, floral banana flavor. The recipe suggested adding vanilla and cinnamon, but feeling a bit bored of cinnamon, and maybe a bit inspired by my whiff of SuperGrain+ flour, I found myself drawn to vanilla and cardamom instead. I hesitated, but a quick search revealed that I wasn’t crazy to pair cardamom and bananas, so I went for it.
As always, making banana bread brought me back—whenever my mom made a loaf to use up extra bananas, I’d get the honor of mashing them with a fork. It’s a task that’s practically designed for small children, but I find it just as cathartic as an adult. The best part, though, is the irresistible smell of brown sugar, spice, and tropical sweetness that fills the house as the bread bakes. This time the aroma had a new nutty, malty note.
After an hour of baking, the bread was set on top and a toothpick came out clean—but it’s always hard to tell when banana bread’s done, and this was an especially dark loaf due to the SuperGrain+ flour. After it cooled, I was pleased to cut in and find the loaf baked through and perfectly moist and fluffy.
My first bite was complex: the banana flavor, usually aggressive, ended up in balance with the spicy cardamom and the roasty SuperGrain+ flour. It was just what I’d been hoping for, both sweet and satisfying, a bread I wouldn’t get tired of eating five mornings in a row (as of this writing, that claim has been verified).
It may not be much to look at (nuts or chocolate chips would be great additions for next time!), but my banana bread has been a welcome treat on foggy San Francisco summer mornings, and the SuperGrain+ flour really does seem to keep me going until lunch. I wanted to share the recipe, even though SuperGrain+ flour isn’t something you can buy yet at the store—just substitute whole wheat flour for the time being, and let us know what you think in the comments!
SuperGrain+ Banana Bread
Makes one 9” x 5” loaf
- 5 medium bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extra
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cardamom (or cinnamon)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup SuperGrain+ (or another whole grain flour)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or other additions (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, oil, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients, reserving the white sugar and ½ teaspoon of the cardamom for the topping.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Whisk together the white sugar and the ½ teaspoon cardamom, and sprinkle the topping over the batter.
- Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until the bread feels set on the top, and a paring knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the bread from the oven. When the pan is cool enough to touch (about 15 minutes), turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely (if you have enough willpower…) before cutting and serving.