I know, I know, everyone is baking banana bread! Because of that, it’s been my mission to keep this affair alive by offering twists and turns on the classic loaf. This recipe is a love letter to the flavors of the Levant, using Dannon Nonfat Plain Yogurt, tahini, and olive oil as the base of the banana bread. The batter is then scented with cinnamon, cardamom, and studded with chopped pistachios. Now, let me share with you that the true secret to a perfect banana bread: nonfat yogurt! The acidity helps yield a fluffy crumb while adding richness to every slice without leaving it greasy. Dressed up with sesame seeds and a caramelized banana on top, this banana bread will steal your heart all over again!
- Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan
- 1 cup light brown sugar, or coconut palm sugar
- 4 ripe bananas, divided (3 mashed, about 1 cup, and one sliced lengthwise for topping)
- 1/ 2 cup Dannon Nonfat Plain Yogurt
- 1/ 3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/ 3 cup tahini
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/ 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/ 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/ 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/ 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/ 4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/ 2 cup raw pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and 3 mashed bananas until a relatively smooth paste forms. Whisk in the yogurt, olive oil, tahini, vanilla, and eggs until well incorporated.
Add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Stir until just incorporated and there are no pockets of flour, then fold in the pistachios.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the batter, then arrange the remaining halved banana on top, cut-side up. Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the bananas. Bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely, then slice and serve.