Got a ripe banana or two sitting around in your kitchen? Don't let them go to waste! Ripe and overripe bananas are superheroes in a healthy kitchen—especially when it comes to vegan baking, where they can bind and moisten ingredients while adding flavor and natural sweetness. Read on for a roundup of our tastiest banana recipes, including banana bread, muffins, pancakes, brownies, carrot cake, oatmeal, French toast, a smoothie bowl, and banana ice cream (aptly named "nice cream"), and more.
Bonus: At the end of this post we've included five handy hacks that will change the way you peel, use, and store bananas.
Frozen strawberries and bananas plus a splash of almond milk and pure vanilla extract get whirled together in a high-speed blender or food processor to make the berry nice cream for this deceptively simple dessert. Fresh strawberries and apples are the star ingredients in the warm fruit compote that tops it all off.
Perfect for a picnic or a kids' party, these cute cupcakes get their sweetness from mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, maple syrup, and fresh raspberries and blueberries. The easy vanilla frosting gets its rich texture from extra-firm silken tofu.
For a cool dessert that's guaranteed to delight, layer three different flavors of nice cream in silicone cupcake molds for a tasty rainbow effect. Creamy layers of mango, banana, and berry nice cream will impress kids and adults alike. Serve them in their silicone molds, or turn them out onto dessert plates and top with fresh berries.
Ripe bananas never tasted so good as they do combined with fresh blueberries and choice greens in these sweet-savory wraps. As one reader puts it, “I’m pleasantly surprised and happy to say I have a new addition to my breakfast selection.”
These sweet and savory bites are the perfect finger food to serve at a tea or summer barbecue, or even as a cheery movie night snack. Brightly colored fruit balances on top of homemade savory walnut-oat biscuits, and a drizzle of pure maple syrup is an easy way to make it fancy.
Keep a store of frozen banana on hand and you're mere minutes away from plant-based ice cream, aka "nice cream." In this recipe creamy frozen banana is flavored with fresh vanilla bean for a heavenly effect.
In this incredible baked vegan French toast, two slices of bread are filled with sliced bananas then dipped in a plant-based custard mix. The secret ingredient in the dipping cream is aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid), which keeps the toast light and crunchy.
Black beans and mashed bananas work together to make these WFPB brownies extra moist and chewy. Don’t worry about the bean flavor: It’s masked by the delicious combination of dark cocoa, dried cherries, and shredded coconut.
Learning how to make healthy plant-based pancakes is a game changer when you switch to a WFPB diet. Because let's face it, any day that begins with pancakes is a good day, especially when they're nutritious, and delicious like these banana pancakes.
Traditional carrot cake always sounded healthier than it was. But no worries with this recipe. Spicy-sweet and with no added oil or processed sugar, this vegan carrot tastes great served by itself or topped with cashew- and date-based Vanilla Cream Frosting.
This breakfast bowl is packed with nourishing ingredients to keep you full until lunch—and looking forward to making it again the next morning! Strawberries and pineapple add fresh flavor, and a light sprinkle of vegan chocolate adds a sense of decadence. To make gluten-free, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats and chocolate chips.
Gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside, our vegan bananas foster recipe omits the butter and replaces the traditional vanilla ice cream with easy homemade vegan whipped cream for a lighter, but still decadent-tasting, version of the classic treat. This recipe comes together in just 20 minutes but is festive enough for special occasions.
These easy vegan muffins are sweetened with banana and dates and are light and airy thanks to aquafaba—the liquid that comes in a can of chickpeas. The recipes calls for fresh blueberries and raspberries, but frozen work fine, too.
Banana gives this luscious green smoothie bowl its creamy texture, while kale, kiwifruit, and wheatgrass add a tangy-green punch of flavor. You can really have fun experimenting with whatever fruit and grains you have on hand.
Called baghrir in Morocco, these sweet pancakes are similar to crepes, with a light, spongy texture. They’re traditionally topped with honey and butter, but our version is topped with a naturally sweet chocolate sauce made with bananas, date paste, almond milk, and vanilla. Top the pancakes with sliced fresh bananas for a double dose of banana goodness in every bite.
This aromatic banana bread gets a mildly nutty flavor from spelt flour, while dates add a melt-in-your-mouth natural sweetness. Enjoy a warm slice of this wholesome banana bread at breakfast or as a wholesome midday snack, paired with a mug of herbal tea.
This easy vegan one-pot recipe is the perfect treat to cap off your summer dinner party. Inspired by Chef Darshana Thacker's childhood in India, the refreshing chilled soup features a colorful array of fruit and no refined sugar, making it a suitable breakfast, too. Juicy, crunchy pomegranate arils add bursts of sweetness that will have you coming back for spoonful after spoonful. For the best taste and texture, wait to add the sliced banana until just before serving.
These hearty, wholesome pancakes from Darshana Thacker Wendel get extra heft and nutrients from black beans, which play surprisingly well in sweet, chocolaty dishes, enhancing the rich quality without adding fat. Banana slices are the fresh, fruity finishing touch that takes this healthy vegan breakfast over the top. One reviewer writes, "These are amazing! Delicious and filling."
These helpful hacks will change the way you peel, store, and enjoy bananas from now on.
Roast or Grill with Skin On
Cooking bananas caramelizes their natural sugars, but it also softens the flesh and can make them tricky to flip and serve. For a sweet treat, split bananas lengthwise down the center, then leave the skin on for easy turning in a pan or on the grill. You can also roast or grill them whole in the skin, then slit them open and top with nuts, berries, or cashew cream.
If you hate banana strings, this tip’s for you. Instead of peeling from the stem end down, peel from the bottom up. Simply pinch the tip to break the skin and start peeling. It’s faster and a lot less stringy.
Bananas release ethylene gas, a ripening hormone, from their stems. Wrapping the stems as a bunch, or individually, in foil or plastic wrap traps the gas and slows the ripening process to keep bananas firm and bright yellow.
Peel and Freeze
Ripe and slightly overripe bananas can be frozen in a resealable bag or freezer container for later. Peel and break the fruit into chunks before freezing so that they can easily be added to recipes or whizzed in a food processor to make nice cream.
Bananas make great stand-ins for eggs, sugar, and fat—and in pancake batter they can replace all three. Simply blend 4 large bananas until smooth, then stir in 1 Tbsp. baking powder and ¼ tsp. salt, followed by 1 cup whole wheat flour. Thin the batter to desired consistency with ¼ to ⅓ cup water. Cook the pancakes 2 to 3 minutes per side in a nonstick skillet over medium. (Note: The batter makes delicious waffles too.)
Hungry for More?
We've put together a roundup of some of our most-loved vegan recipes of all time. Try one today!
This article was originally published on April 2, 2020, and has been updated.
About the Author
About the Author
Lisa Esile, MS
Lisa Esile is an author, illustrator, blogger, vegetable gardener, and whole-food enthusiast with a special fondness for potatoes. She has a master’s degree in human nutrition and is passionate about showing people how to live happier, healthier lives. She is the author of Reach Your Big Calm and the co-author of Whose Mind Is It Anyway? Find her on Facebook.