Here is a great recipe for those of you craving a healthier, sweet dessert. Since this doesn’t contain any flour it is great for those of you following a gluten-free diet. The sweetness in this recipe comes from the bananas and dates, which also provide a great deal of fibre. There is no refined or processed sugar in this recipe at all. Bananas provide not only 3g of fibre, but also a good dose of potassium, Vitamin A, and folate. Dates are also super high in potassium, iron, and magnesium. A dessert packed with all these amazing nutrients? Yes, please!
I made these as muffins or you can use a traditional banana bread dish. Be aware if you cook it in a bread dish, you will have to cook it for slightly longer.
This recipe is GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY FREE, GRAIN FREE, PALEO, NUT FREE, SOY FREE, LOW ADDED SUGAR, HIGH FIBRE
For the banana muffin
- 6 bananas (brown ones are sweeter)
- 4 dried dates, pitted
- 4 eggs
- ? cup coconut cream concentrate or homemade coconut butter (see recipe)
- 3 heaping tablespoons of coconut flour
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
Coconut Butter Recipe
- 200g unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (you can also use almond extract)
- Pinch of Kosher salt.
Place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor and blend together until smooth. This may take up to 10 minutes to get smooth depending on the power of your blender or food processor. Store at room temperature in a sealed container.
Frozen blueberries or raspberries
Dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Add dried dates to the food processor and puree until you get a lumpy paste.
3. Then place bananas in the food processor and pulse until completely pureed.
4. Next add eggs and coconut butter and puree.
5. Then add coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.
6. Pour batter into well-greased muffin tins (baking paper works best).
7. Add blueberries, cacao nibs (or chocolate chips), flaked almonds or whatever other topping you like onto the muffins. Mix with a knife to incorporate if you like.
8. Place into the oven for 30 minutes or until you poke each one with a skewer and they come out clean.
9. Let rest for about 5 minutes.
These densely succulent morsels of beaniness (yep, that’s a new word!) come after many requests for ideas for healthy, chocolately sweet treats. You all said it couldn’t be done – but here it is – a healthy brownie! And trust me, even my doubter of a husband who loves proper brownies with all their fatty goodness, said they were delish. You get all that yumminess, plus it is high in fibre and allergy friendly too! This also comes at a great time as the school year is almost ready to start again (wow, where did the school holidays go…bet the parents out there don’t quite agree with me there). Great for a low sugar treat for everybody but see the hint down the bottom if you want a little more sweetness to start with. ENJOY!
These brownie are DAIRY FREE, EGG FREE, VEGAN, LOW GI, SUGAR FREE & HIGH FIBRE. Could be GLUTEN FREE if the flour is substituted for a good quality gluten free flour like White Wing’s plain flour. Could be NUT FREE if nuts are left out.
What you need…
- 2 cup/250 g dates
- 1 small beetroot, peeled and quartered
- 1 cup/180 g unsweetened applesauce (IXL brand has no added sugar) … OR make your own in your Thermomix by blitzing cored apples with a few tablespoons of water for 10 seconds at speed 8, then cooking at 90º for 8 minutes at speed 4 with the measuring cup off, then blitzing on speed 8 for another 10 seconds)
- 2 tablespoons/15 g ground flaxseed/linseed (grind prior in Thermomix or food processor)
- 400 g cooked or canned beans (equiv to 2 x 400g cans, drained) – any variety is fine but I used 1 can of butter beans and 1 can of red kidney beans)
- 2 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup/30 g cacao powder
- 3/4 cup/100 g flour (could use gluten free flour)
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 cup/110 g walnuts or macadamias (optional)
How the magic happens…
Doing it the traditional way:
- Preheat oven to 180*C
- In a food processor, roughly chop nuts, then set aside.
- Chop the dates into small pieces (either by hand or in food processor).
- Combine black beans, beetroot, dates and applesauce in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Add cacao, ground flaxseed and vanilla. Blend again.
- Fold through the flour and bicarb soda. If mixture is too dry, add another few tablespoons of apple sauce.
- Gently stir through nuts (leave some aside to put on top)
- Spoon the mixture into a 30 cm x 25 cm slice tin. Top with extra nuts if desired.
- Bake at 180º for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice while still warm. Best when chilled before eating.
- Roughly chop the nuts for 3 seconds at speed 4, then set aside.
- Blend dates with peeled, halved beetroot for 30 seconds at speed 10.
- Scrape down the bowl and lid, then add applesauce, flaxseed, beans, vanilla and cacao. Blend for 30 seconds at speed 8, using the spatula to scrape the bowl while processing. Remove the lid and scrape it and the bowl again, then blend for another 20 seconds at speed 8. Mixture should be thoroughly homogenised.
- Add the flour and baking soda, and mix on Reverse at speed 3 for 20 seconds, using the spatula to push the mixture down into the blades. Remove the lid and scrape it and the bowl again, then mix for another 10 seconds at speed 3. Repeat as necessary until all the flour is mixed in.
- Add the chopped nuts and mix for 10 seconds on Reverse at speed 3.
- Spoon the mixture into a 30 cm x 25 cm slice tin and bake at 180º for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Slice while still warm. Best when chilled before eating.
Hint: If you’re weaning your children (or yourself) off sweet foodS, you may want to substitute 1 cup of a relatively unprocessed sweetener such as coconut sugar or rapadura for 1 cup of the dates.
I always get asked by my clients for some easy and healthy snack options and when I came across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. A great thing about this recipe is that it uses Cacao (pronounced ka-kow). I love Cacao powder. If you don’t know much about Cacao, it was eaten by the ancient Mayans and is considered a “Superfood”. It has 14 times more antioxidants than red wine, 21 times more than green tea and 7 times more than even dark chocolate! It is never heated above 40°C, so all of the cacao’s natural goodness is retained. Use it instead of cocoa powder to add a rich chocolately taste to your favourite recipes (like this one!)
These protein balls are very easy to throw together and can be kept in the fridge for those times you feel like something a little chocolately but healthy and guilt free. I carry these in a zip-lock bag to nibble on between clients when I don’t have time for a proper snack break. Try them and tell me you don’t love them too!
PROTEIN BALLS RECIPE
330 g raw whole almonds
1/4 cup other seed – such as linseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds
60 g vanilla protein powder (low sugar)
8-10 pitted dates
2 tablespoon cocoa/cacao powder
½ cup desiccated or shredded coconut
3 tsp natural vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup of water
How the magic happens…
- Add almonds, seeds, protein powder, cinnamon and cacao into food processor bowl and process until until the mix looks crumbly.
- Add dates, coconut and vanilla extract and process until mixture starts to come together.
- Add water while processing until mixture comes together and looks sticky.
- Roll into 3 cm diameter balls.
- Store in fridge. They last up to 4 weeks.
- Instead of almonds, try other nuts like walnuts, brazil nuts or cashews.
- Add other raw seeds such as sunflower seeds and chia seeds to add extra nutritional value – especially protein and good fats. Around 1/4 cup would work well.
- To make the balls FODMAP friendly, swap dates for dried figs, sultanas or dried berries like goji, cranberries or blueberries.
- Include 1-2 tablespoons of a super greens powder like Vital Greens to add vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and probiotic goodness!
- Gluten free
- High protein
- Low sugar
- High fibre
- Low FODMAP (option)
- Dairy free (depending on protein powder used)
Adapted from a recipe on the Thermomix Recipe Community.