Banana Carrot Bread

It’s taken me years to try this recipe (my sis-in-law gave it to me probably eight years ago and even posted it on her recipe blog she keeps up with her sisters). And I’ll freely admit the only reason I gave it a go now (what can I say, bananas and carrots don’t really call to me as epic combination of the year) is because during our recent move, this recipe literally fell out of my recipe binder and into my hands as I was unpacking, and in light of the fact that the only other things to fall randomly out of boxes were dead spiders and dirty little boy socks that never seem to make it into the laundry basket but somehow found their way into moving boxes, I realized it could only be fate and decided to live on the edge a little and finally try it, especially since I woke up to three very nasty-in-a-good-banana-bread-way bananas staring me in the face.

I couldn’t leave well enough alone, of course. I wanted to healthify it just a tad so I cut the oil back from 3/4 cup to 1/3 cup (and used coconut oil but you could certainly stick with vegetable oil), added a bit of unsweetened applesauce to help it stay moist, cut the sugar in half and tweaked a few other minor things.

Banana Carrot Bread

What I ended up with is a lightly sweet banana bread reminiscent of a tender, luxurious carrot cake without all the guilt (and without any frosting, of course, but as I type this out loud, I’m kind of thinking that a smidgeon of decadent cream cheese frosting on this banana carrot bread would not be a bad thing, not a bad thing at all).

I keep thinking I don’t really need any other banana bread recipes (certainly not after my favorite buttermilk version and this crazy good cream cheese banana bread) but perhaps the lesson learned here is that you really can’t have too many variations of banana bread. And certainly this banana carrot version should be right at the top of the banana bread recipe you try next. The fact that carrots play a leading role (equal parts banana and carrots!) is just the sort of justification I need to brag to everyone within shouting distance (which if you want to know, is only Maggie the dog and Cam the toddler right now) that I just ate vegetables in the dreamiest form possible.

P.S: I think I might need to enter a Parentheses Anonymous support group. I just can’t stop. Sorry.

One Year Ago: Big Fat Greek Tacos
Two Years Ago: Healthy Banana Blueberry Muffins
Three Years Ago: Cheesy Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Banana Carrot Bread

Yield: Makes 1 9X5-inch loaf

Banana Carrot Bread

Try to use the ripest bananas (brown spots are good!) as possible - it will help the natural sweetness of the bread. Also, don't overflour! If you have a scale, use it to get the 10 ounces, if not, make sure the flour is lightly measured into the cup before leveling off. Too much flour packed into the measuring cup and the bread will be dry.

Also, this bread can be baked as muffins - check them after about 15-16 minutes (and you may need to grease the muffin liners since I reduced the oil in the recipe).

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lightly measured flour (10 ounces) - see note above
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 very ripe medium bananas)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots (no need to peel beforehand)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9X5-inch loaf pan with a rectangle of parchment. Grease the bottom and sides really well with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. In a medium bowl or in a large liquid measure, whisk together the bananas, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the carrots. Fold the ingredients together with a rubber spatula until just combined. Don't overmix!
  5. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  6. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/banana-carrot-bread/

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe my sister-in-law, Erin posted on The Sisters Cafe years ago (reduced the oil by 2/3, added applesauce, reduced the sugar by half, added vanilla, weighed the flour)

32 Responses to Banana Carrot Bread

  1. This looks delicious Mel! I love carrot cake and banana bread and this is the best of both worlds!

  2. Jan H says:

    I love that you included a weight measurement too . I have started using a scale for recipes
    to see if this will help me with my Heavy Hand it when it comes to baking .Thanks ….

  3. Julie T says:

    Will definitely be trying this. Do you squeeze the water out of the grated carrot before adding to the batter?

    • Mel says:

      Julie T – Nope, I just throw the carrots right in. I suppose if you’ve grated them in advance and liquid has pooled beneath, you might want to drain any excess liquid; I didn’t notice much if any.

  4. heather says:

    This sounds so yummy. I have not found a banana bread recipe that the family likes yet, and my son is in a crazy for carrots mode — as in, how about carrot lemonade? DUNK, carrot stick on the bottom of his glass — so this is perfect.

    Can’t wait to try it!!

  5. Mel I feel like you are reading my mind! Yesterday I was staring at some “nasty-in-a-good-banana-bread-way bananas” and thinking that I needed to make some banana bread to use them up. But I am tired of traditional banana bread and was trying to think of some new ideas. This recipe is perfect timing and looks like the perfect twist on traditional banana bread!

  6. Kim in MD says:

    This looks delicious, Mel. I hope you and your family are settling into your new home! :-)

  7. Amy says:

    This is getting some raisins! :)

  8. Heather bell says:

    I have been on a new recipe kick lately and it has been so much fun. Will def try this soon, even though I never make other banana bread besides my own:) just saw Julianne today. Wish I were related to her! Well pretend:)

  9. Teresa says:

    This bread was delicious, Mel. I made it today with great success. It was so moist, but not oily at all, and just sweet enough. I had a banana carrot bread at a B&B years ago and loved it. This tastes just like I remember. I am so glad I had ripe bananas and carrots. I am going to try a piece for breakfast with just a smear of plain cream cheese — yum. Thanks so much. PS – I would love to see an updated picture of that cute little Maggie!!!

  10. Deb says:

    Can whole wheat flour be used?

  11. This looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it! I’ve never added carrots to banana bread before but it sounds like a great idea!

  12. Delicious! Have never made or eaten banana carrot bread before but it sounds fantastic! A little bit of cream cheese frosting… Mmmm what a treat!

  13. Danielle says:

    You should try the M-dash. It makes you feel more sophisticated and it’s fun to use. :)

  14. Michelle says:

    I made this today, since I was already planning on turning on the oven to make some zucchini bread to freeze. It came out great!! I used half all purpose & half white wheat flour. I love how the bread is tender & slightly sweet- but not desserty sweet. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Sheila says:

    Sounds delicious — carrots, bananas, and limited sugar. I’m overwhelmed right now with a huge home project, working, and other things so we are eating a whole lot of Mel freezer meals. The light at the end of my tunnel is coming back to these recent posts that I can only drool over right now and excitedly making them for my family. Thank you for all the hard work you do that wonderfully feeds my family through “thick and thin”. :-)

  16. This sounds pretty fantastic. Way better than dead spiders ;)

  17. Stacia says:

    Hi. Making this today….. Welcome to the area! I’m in south meridian. People are great and life is good here!

  18. Tami says:

    I made this last night-YUM! Thanks for the healthy recipe. Now if I can just keep from eating the whole loaf……

  19. Rosana S Moraes says:

    I am impressed with your ideas for one dish meals, as well with your simple, tasty and easy to prepare recipes.
    Thanks for sharing them.

    Rosana Moraes

  20. ped Victor says:

    Wow, I have got to try this one. Thanks for sharing.

  21. Sarah says:

    Delicious, especially still warm.

  22. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this! My thirty-something husband was just told his cholesterol levels are “quite high” so I’ve been looking for tweaks to some of his favorite things to add in more fruits and veggies and lower the fat. This is perfect!

  23. JG says:

    Absolutely delicious! I just put 1/4 cup of sugar in, and I think next time I will cut it out completely. Perfect sweetness with just the applesauce and bananas! The spices really give it a great flavor too! Baked the muffins in a silicone muffin mold which I highly recommend for muffins and cupcakes. You never have to grease the tin again!

  24. Paula says:

    Thanks for sharing the recipe :) I have it to my grandmother and she knew what to do with it :P I only wanted to add a useful advice about carrots that is very important in recipes like this – don’t store them with apples or else they will become bitter. Found it here: http://www.listonic.com/protips/get/xjworxxmxw
    Best wishes!

  25. Beth says:

    I really liked this. I’ve made it twice. It’s nice to have another variation to deal with all the bananas (I suppose I could also buy less bananas).

  26. Jessica Garrett says:

    I’ve been really interested in grinding my own grains for flour and I was lead to your blog…amazing info. BTW!! Sooo, outta curiosity as I see your “grinding flour” blog was from a while back, did you use fresh grounded flour in this recipe? Really my hope is that changing to fresh grounded flour will still lead to great tasting and beautiful looking recipes :)

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jessica! Whenever I use whole wheat flour in my recipes it is always flour I’ve freshly ground myself. So my somewhat biased opinion is that you CAN make great tasting and pretty foods with home ground whole wheat flour. Good luck!

  27. Afton LeSueur says:

    This was so good! I uses whole wheat flour and it was perfect. We actually had it for dinner; I mean, whole wheat and carrots? Totally a good dinner!

  28. Michelle says:

    I was looking for a good, healthy quick bread that would satisfy my love of banana bread/ carrot cake, and also be something I could share with my toddler – this looks great! I am thinking of throwing some zucchini in as well. Not sure what that’ll do to the moisture level, but we’ll see!

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