What the hell are you up to now Terri? Trust me, these only sound weird. These grain free banana bread bars taste and feel like a tender, buttery banana bread, but they’re made with NO grains, butter, oil, or refined sugars. A perfect snack for those avoiding grains or watching their sugar intake.
I did something today that I don't do often… I baked with beans! Actually, I should probably clarify and say that I baked something sweet with beans, since all the roasted chickpeas and Mexican dishes I’ve made over the years could qualify as baking with beans, too. But I digress!
If you know me, then you know I’m not a huge fan of bean-based desserts. I had an experience with black bean brownies a few years back that left me scarred. The same thing happened with kale. My first (and only) smoothie was truly awful and I’ve refused to touch it since. But I'm not a quitter so I figured it was time to give it another go. Seriously… these grain free banana bread bars are so good. I promise you that they don’t taste freaky beany at all.
These guys taste exactly like banana bread, only they’re 100% grain-free thanks to the addition of chickpeas. I know. I know, sounds weird and maybe a bit gross. But I promise they're not! They look and feel “buttery,” but it’s thanks to the combination of chickpeas and almond flour.
You are going to love these bars – they’re great for when you’re on the go and can be frozen so that you can just heat them up for a quick bite! I’m sure kids would love these in their lunchbox or as an after school snack, too.
Grain FREE Banana Bread Bars
1 14 oz. (398 ml) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed*
1 medium-size (~100 g) ripe banana
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
1 large egg
2 Tbsp (32 g) nut butter**
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp (42 g) almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup (50 g) chocolate chips/chunks, dried fruit, nuts, etc.
Preheat your oven to 350F (176C) and prepare an 8x8 (20x20cm) baking pan by lining it with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on the sides to allow for easy removal. Set aside.
Add the first 7 ingredients (chickpeas through cinnamon) to a high-speed blender or food processor in the order listed, and process on high until the chickpeas have fully broken down and the batter becomes smooth and creamy, about 30-60 seconds. Add all the remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips, and process until smooth. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips by hand, reserving ~2 Tbsp to sprinkle on top.
Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan, using a spatula to distribute it evenly before sprinkling on the remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
* You'll only be using the beans for this recipe, so make sure to drain the liquid and rinse them well. It'll come out to about 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 250 g. ** I used a creamy almond butter for it's mild and slightly sweet taste, but feel free to use whichever nut butter you have on hand.