Vegan Cardamom Guava Banana Bread

Hi! It’s me, again. It’s Ben. Kirby’s husband. You might know me from kimchi latkes? I’m back with a banana bread recipe, which was inevitable as I am completely obsessed with banana bread and make it roughly twice a month. I know a lot of folks treat my beloved b-bread like a waste management solution, a receptacle for unused bananas at the end of a long week. But not me. I buy bananas almost exclusively with the intention of turning them into bread.

Because I bake banana bread so often, I like to get creative with it. Sometimes I’ll throw some miso in there. Or I’ll top a loaf with a black sesame crunch. Or a fistful of matcha powder will make its way into the batter. For this recipe, I took inspiration from a really delicious juice Kirby ordered in Mexico City, at a little restaurant named Caffe Toscano. Banana, guava, and cardamom were the primary flavors and they went together so well I immediately screamed “I need to make this a bread”, startling a biker who careened into a bush and went hurtling through the street, causing a ten car pile-up. I might be misremembering that last part, but I’ll never forget how well the mellow sweetness of the banana blended with the lightly tart guava and bitter spice of cardamom. It was perfect. So is this banana bread.

Now, I’m not vegan but this bread is. Not for any particular reason other than it’s easy to make things vegan if you want to these days, I love feeding people, and some of my favorite people are vegan. So if you’re vegan or interested in eating a more eco-friendly meal, follow this recipe to the letter. If you want to use dairy butter in place of vegan butter and throw in an egg or two? Go for it. It’s extremely hard to screw up banana bread. It’s possible, though. I’ve done it. At least twice. But you’ll be fine.

Anyway, without further ado:

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Vegan Cardamom Guava Banana Bread

Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups overripe banana approximately five bananas
  • 1 cup guava ideally fresh, but whole frozen guavas work fine
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 lime optional

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice guavas in half and remove the tough seeds inside. Mash the guava pieces together with the overripe banana. You're going for the smoothest, most gooey, liquidy texture possible as this is the only wet ingredient in this banana bread. I put everything in a bowl and mashed it together with a blunt object. This is called the "idiot's method". It works, but I'm sure you can find a smarter way.
  • Cream vegan butter and sugar. (This is easiest with a stand mixer but you can do it by hand if you've got the willpower.)
  • Add the mashed guava and banana to the creamed butter and sugar.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.
  • Stir into the batter, but don't overmix. You just want to make sure it's well combined.
  • Stir in the vanilla.
  • Grease a loaf pan and dust it with a little flour.
  • Pour the batter into the pan.
  • OPTIONAL: Sprinkle the zest of half a lime over the batter. I did this to add a touch of sharpness to the flavor of the bread, and because it looked fun. It really doesn't add much, so you can omit this step. Alternately, you can slice a banana in half the long way and carefully drape it onto the top of your batter. That always looks nice, but it requires a little extra cook time. Keep that in mind.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. You'll want to keep an eye on your bread at this point. You'll know it's ready when it's nicely browned on top, and when you can place a toothpick through the middle and have it come out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool for a bit, slice, and enjoy.

I hope you enjoy this banana bread as much as we did! Personally, I recommend grilling slices, because it’s fun to do and in my opinion tastes even better. But this is your rodeo now. You have become the bread master. I’m proud of you, and I’ll see you next time Kirby lets me write one of these!

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