A lot of people complain about how bananas all ripen at the same time, but not me. More than I love eating bananas (they’re so convenient!), I love when they get overripe. That means it’s time to make something yummy.
I often add a mashed banana to muffin, waffle or pancake batter, like this recipe for Nutty Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes.
I love using bananas in smoothies—my all-time favorite smoothie (for breakfast or dessert) is Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana (one banana, a heaping soupspoon of peanut butter, a rounded soup spoon of cocoa powder, splash of vanilla plus almond or coconut milk to the “fill” line). But bananas pair well with any fruit, as with my recent Banana-Peach-Papaya concoction (also with peanut butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon) that enabled me to use up scant fruit leftovers.
But I digress…
I think the best dessert I ever ate was banana pudding at our hotel restaurant in Billings, Montana. I recently created my own twist on banana pudding that made me just as happy—without any of my “no-no” ingredients like cane sugar, dairy or gluten. I had raves when I brought in samples for my coworkers…including people coming back for seconds.
Bonus: It’s fast and so easy.
1 ripe banana
½ cup uncooked oats (any kind but steel-cut)
2 Tablespoons almond butter (or your favorite nut butter)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ cup coconut milk (or your favorite milk), or more to taste
Pinch of salt
Chopped nuts—walnuts, pecans, toasted sliced almonds (throw in a handful, or to taste)
Dried fruit—raisins, chopped apricots, prunes, etc.
Toasted, unsweetened coconut (also a handful or so)
Chocolate chips or peanut butter chips (if you want to add a bit of decadence)
Spices to sprinkle on top—cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, allspice…or even cocoa powder
Using a fork, mash banana in a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients (I used a cereal bowl).
Add oats, almond butter, almond extract, coconut milk and salt. Mix to combine.
Let sit until all liquid is absorbed, which takes about an hour or so (perhaps less—I mix it up and then go do something). If you like creamier pudding, add a bit more milk to your desired texture.
If you want some additional texture and flavor, add the mix-ins after the pudding itself is made. This will preserve the crunch of your nuts and keep the dried fruit from absorbing the milk that you want going into the oats.
To toast your own sliced almonds or coconut, instructions are in my Breakfast Quinoa recipe.
Tip: If you have overripe bananas but no time to use them, just throw them—unpeeled—into the freezer. I actually prefer working with defrosted bananas because they are easier to mash and blend. Once defrosted, it practically falls out of the skin.
While you don’t want to overdo it on bananas (they are pretty high on the glycemic index after all, and can be a migraine trigger), they do have health benefits, including helping you sleep better and relieving foot cramps.