Quinoa Banana Bread + Sharing recipe secrets (2024)

Sometime last year, my mum emailed me my grandmother’s thirty-something year old recipe for browned butter almond cookies.

I was delirious with joy; because it was not just any old cookie recipe – more precisely, it was a recipe which would create some of the most fragrant and buttery cookies that would invariable invoke deep childhood memories whenever I eat them.

That’s the thing with sharing recipes you see – it’s not simply the transfer of a list of ingredients followed by a string of instructions from one person to another. It’s also the spreading of good times and fond memories; the union of cultures as different nationalities gather at a single table to partake in home-cooked food; and the knowledge that it is a celebration of a basic joy in life – eating good food.

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The Kitchn’s note on “Why I think you should tell us your kitchen secrets” got me brooding in a good way.

It reminded me of the time Juan and I spent in the Northeast of Brazil, during which we had an amazing dinner in a hidden-away restaurant called “Aqui”, where I’d innocently asked the waiter for the recipe for an incredibly flavorful tomato dip.

I like collecting souvenirs from the places I travel – it’s the nostalgic and sentimental part of me that makes me behave this way.

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But apart from physical objects such as the pretty stones Juan picked up for me from the shore; or the large brown hat with a ribbon tied around it that I bought from a beach-side vendor; or the one too many bikinis I’d added to my collection; recipes are what I love to acquire.

Recipes from a distant land or a foreign country, which can later be replicated in the comfort and safety of my own kitchen – these are what I treasure most as souvenirs.

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Sheila Dillon, the host of the BBC Radio 4 show which featured an interview of British cook and food writer Claudia Roden, summed up the less obvious but equally important definition of recipes.

She called them “talismans against loss and forgetting” – the continuation of crowded lunch gatherings ringing with laughter and a reminder of companionship.

And if recipes are viewed as the gift of memories from happy times passed, they are meant to be given away and received with joy and graciousness.

Sometimes it’s being the honored recipient of a hand-written recipe, complete with a “I hope you like it!” scribbled at the bottom right hand corner. Other times, it’s as simple as having the cook share their special ingredient with you – a hint of ginger, a bit of nutmeg; or a pinch of Hungarian paprika. It’s the taste that you can’t quite put your finger to; or the ingredient that somehow always makes a dish work out.

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I’m not a great keeper of secret recipes – because I feel that recipes are just like the food they produce – and that they are better shared.

I suppose most people who cook have a particular ingredient that they like to use with ease and familiarity – like the signature loop when you write the letter “g”, or the distinct slant in your handwriting, or the way a photographer uses natural light to create beautiful pictures.

I don’t have a particular secret recipe, but a special ingredient? Of course! And I’d love to share it with you.

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For me, it’s the humble banana.

I can think of so many amazing ways bananas can be used; and because of their natural and mild sweetness, they make the perfect sweetener and lend a non-invasive flavor in most desserts or sweet snacks.

I’ve always found bananas a welcome addition to any recipe in need of a little “oomph”.

Want to add a little creaminess to your shake? Throw in a banana! Need some fruit to garnish your crepes? Bring on sliced bananas and a drizzle of melted chocolate! Whether used in grain-free banana almond pancakes, banana chocolate-chip muffins, banana nut oatmeal crunch cookies, simple baked banana chips or a tropical fruit salad – bananas always seem to do the trick.

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When Juan and I were holidaying in Pipa, Brazil, we’d rented a fully-equipped apartment – and having the kitchen for our free use, we made breakfast every day.

On most days we’d settled for scrambled eggs, sausages and a couple of slices of ham and cheese. But on the days that we craved a sweet treat to kick-start our mornings, we made two-ingredient banana pancakes that were so easy and turned out so well (that we ended up eating them three days in a row) – and I’m fully convinced that no kitchen is complete without bananas.

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Today, I’m sharing another way that bananas are most commonly used – but with a twist.

This version of banana bread was a rare find I’d stumbled upon during my search for more ways to cook with quinoa, and while quinoa’s nutty taste can be hard to get accustomed to for new eaters, the taste of banana makes this bread comforting, familiar and filling.

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I also love that the use of cooked quinoa helps the banana bread retain its moisture, and its moist crumb and naturally flavored banana taste made it a wonderful breakfast for Juan and I. If you’re like me and want to explore how familiar foods can be made gluten-free and wheat free, this is a great recipe to start off with.

So there I’ve spilled the beans. Bananas are my secret ingredient.

What’s yours? I’d love to hear your secret.

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Barely adapted from: 365 Days of Baking and More


1) 1 3/4 cup wheat flour (or a gluten-free flour mix you can get from the natural food stores. Note: do not use coconut flour alone!)
2) 1/2 cup sugar
3) 2 teaspoons baking powder
4) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5) 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6) 1/8 teaspoon salt
7) 2 ripe bananas, mashed
8) 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (see this post on how to cook quinoa)
9) 1 egg, lightly beaten
10) 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
11) 1/4 cup low-fat milk cream or greek yoghurt


1) Preheat oven to 350 deg F (180 deg cel). Prepare a loaf pan by greasing it with butter.
2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, mix well.
3) In a food processor, mix together bananas, quinoa, egg, melted butter and cream/yogurt, until well combined, then pour banana mixture into a large bowl.
4) Add the dry ingredients, a half cup at a time, to the banana mixture, mixing thoroughly.
5) Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50 – 60 min or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean (the baking time will depend on the type of oven, so don’t worry if you find you need to bake the bread for more time before it’s done!

Note: As quinoa banana bread is very moist, it is best eaten within 1 or 2 days after it is baked.

Recipes you might also like

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  • Grain-free Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
Quinoa Banana Bread + Sharing recipe secrets (2024)


Why does banana bread taste better the next day? ›

Common Questions. Why does banana bread taste better the next day? The flavors have time to develop overnight, so the banana flavor really comes out the next day.

Why doesn't banana bread cook in the middle? ›

If your oven has not reached the correct baking temperature before the banana bread is placed in the oven, the banana bread will be undercooked and more likely to sink. I like to use a hanging oven thermometer placed inside my oven to see if the oven has reached the correct temperature.

Can I cook two banana breads at the same time? ›

A. You can double a standard banana bread recipe, as long as you bake the batter in two same-size loaf pans, or one after the other. (You didn't specify any extract, but if it uses almond, I wouldn't double that; it's pretty potent stuff.)

Can you make quinoa flour? ›

Turn the heat to medium and toast the quinoa until golden and popping, stirring frequently (about 5 minutes). Be careful not to burn. Pour the quinoa into a bowl and allow it to cool. Transfer the quinoa to a high-speed blender and blend until it becomes a fine powder (about 1 minute).

What happens when you add too much banana to banana bread? ›

Using too much banana could make your bread heavy and damp in the center, causing it to appear undercooked and unappealing. If you have bananas leftover, you can always freeze them for later use.

What happens if I forgot to put baking soda in my banana bread? ›

Believe it or not, you can make a delicious loaf of banana bread without baking soda that is moist, soft, and fluffy with the help of baking powder! It won't rise quite as much, but it will still be absolutely delicious and tender packed with flavor from brown bananas and ground cinnamon.

What is the best pan to bake banana bread in? ›

The CORRECT Pan to use for Banana Bread

The pan I recommend: A light-colored METAL 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Anything too dark in color will risk scorching the edges. Glass and ceramic loaf pans: Take MUCH longer to bake – upwards of 15 to 20 minutes.

How ripe is too ripe for banana bread? ›

If they smell off, that's another good indicator that they are no longer okay to use. Rotten bananas will often have a fermented or alcohol-like smell. While it's okay if the banana peel is dark brown or even black, if the inside is too, then the fruit is beyond ripe and now on its way to rotten.

Why do baked goods taste better the next day? ›

Much like the sauces and stews that taste better on day two, an overnight rest can allow a cake to relax, giving ingredients time to mingle and tightly baked crumbs a chance to unwind.

Does banana cake taste better the next day? ›

It takes only a few minutes to beat together the ingredients and frost the cake, and the cake also tastes very good without the frosting. Cakes made with bananas also seem to improve after a day, so you could try the Chocolate Tahini Banana Bread, the Chocolate-Topped Banana Cake or the Gluten-Free Banana Bread.

Is banana bread good the next day? ›

To store banana bread in the fridge, wrap it in plastic wrap, making sure the entire loaf is covered. Place the wrapped loaf in an airtight container or airtight storage bag. Store the banana bread in the fridge for seven days.

Does bread taste better the next day? ›

Ideally, you want that flavor to develop over eight hours or more of fermentation. In fact, sourdough bread can actually taste better the second day because the flavors improve as they sit. Something that is truly nutritious has lots of real flavor.

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