Add Leftover Veggies To Banana Bread For A Hybrid Sweet Treat

Already known for making the most out of over-ripe bananas, why not let banana bread help you use up further leftovers? Whether it's oats, nuts, applesauce, or pineapple, banana bread welcomes one and all to the party. But it's time to introduce a new item to this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink equation: grated vegetables. 

Think of this banana-packed quick bread as a sweetly edible compost pile, a place where vegetables that have been languishing in the fridge's crisper drawer can become something divinely delicious. Grated zucchini, summer squash, carrot, beet, and even jicama — they're all fair game when it comes to popping them into your banana bread. A general rule of thumb: You can add up to 1 cup of grated vegetables to your average banana bread recipe without affecting the texture too much. Seems simple enough, right? 

Pump the breaks. We're talking about baking here, so there are some basic rules you'll need to follow. So how should you go about adding shredded veggies to your banana bread?

Banana bread with a veggie upgrade

There are a few things to keep in mind when adding veggies to your banana bread. First and foremost: moisture. Mashed bananas already bring quite a bit of moisture to the table, so in order to avoid a soggy, under-baked quick bread, squeeze as much water out of your grated vegetables as possible before adding them to the batter. This is especially important when using zucchini or summer squash, as they are particularly water-saturated vegetables.

The next thing to consider is how this veggie infusion will affect the flavor of your banana bread. With something like zucchini or summer squash, the flavor is negligible and the banana taste will continue to shine bright. Carrots and beets, on the other hand, bring their own earthy sweetness to the table, but they play well with the banana flavor overall. If you're worried about your loaf getting too savory, consider adding in warm spices like cinnamon or nutmeg or tossing in a handful of chocolate chips to mute the veggie flavor. A bit of zested citrus will also elevate your banana bread. Note that both beets and carrots will change the color of your overall baked good, too.    

Finally, try to keep it fresh: Do not use pre-grated vegetables. While it may seem convenient, pre-grated veggies lack flavor and moisture — yes, we still want some moisture — so fresh is best. 

Next time you're left with extra produce, consider veggie banana bread as an easy, healthy option.