A limp banana turning an ominous shade of brown is a common sight in fruit bowls across the land – the short window between the perfect banana and over-ripeness means we’re sometimes caught short. When a banana loses its firmness it becomes hard to eat as a snack, but it can be mashed and used up in a number of thrifty ways.
We love you, banana bread, but it’s time for something else. These recipes are all free from added sugar, oil, and flour.
Banana “soft serve”
Literally all you need for a frozen, spoonable treat is some overripe bananas. Freeze banana chunks for at least two hours, then puree them in a food processor or blender for about five minutes. You can add vanilla or cocoa powder if you want, but it makes a tasty dessert as is, too. You can eat it right after blending or pop it back in the freezer to harden a bit more. It tastes like ice cream but is way healthier!
Skeptics, take note: These two-ingredient pancakes taste way closer to your favorite brunch recipe than you’d think. Just mash two large eggs into a medium banana until the batter is liquidy. Drop the batter onto a griddle and flip when the bottom is golden brown. Cook for another minute or so, then serve it with toppings like syrup, jelly, or fresh fruit.
When you cook overripe banana, it becomes melty and caramelized—a great substitute for brown sugar in your morning bowl of oatmeal. Just pop however much banana you want in the microwave until it gets gooey, then stir it into your normal bowl of unflavored oatmeal.
Strawberry banana colada smoothie
Banana is a go-to ingredient in healthy smoothies, and the overripe ones in your freezer make it even better. Try this tropical-inspired recipe: Blend a frozen banana with 1 cup coconut milk. Add ¾ cup strawberries, 1/3 cup pineapple, ½ cup Greek yogurt, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Top it with toasted coconut if you want. Now put in a straw and a mini umbrella, and pretend you’re on a beach getaway.
Homemade fudge pops
For a chocolaty treat, make your own version of a fudge pop. Combine three bananas, 1 cup coconut milk, 4 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Pour into Dixie cups, put in a popsicle stick, and freeze for at least four hours.
Oatmeal raisin breakfast cookies
These handheld bites won’t taste like grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies, but they do make a great grab-and-go breakfast. To make them, preheat your oven to 350°F. Mash an overripe banana, then mix it with ¼ cup peanut butter. Add in ½ cup rolled oats, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons of raisins, and a pinch or two of salt. Roll balls and flatten, then bake for about 14 minutes. Keep them in an airtight container for tomorrow’s breakfast or for a quick snack.
Four-ingredient sweet potato muffins
These sweet potato banana bites aren’t overly sweet, but they’re an easy snack that’s versatile to your taste. Cook a medium sweet potato (nuking it will speed things up), then mash it with a medium overripe banana. Stir in ¼ cup nut butter, two eggs, cinnamon, and any mix-ins you want, such as chocolate chips or fresh blueberries. Spoon into a greased mini muffin tin and bake at 375°F for 18 minutes.