Fruit and Nut Banana Loaf

After a trip to the food store or the farmers market, there are some fruits that go straight into the refrigerator… like grapes, peaches, nectarines or any kinds of berries. Other fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruits and bananas are always left in the fruit basket. Mainly, because they don’t need refrigeration but also because space inside the refrigerator is rather scarce.


This arrangement is fine with the apples and oranges, as they keep fresh for ages and get eaten fairly soon. Haven’t studies shown that fruit outside the refrigerator gets eaten way before those inside? 🙂


It is a different story with the bananas, though. They sometimes refuse to go along with the plan. One day they are sitting there looking pretty and the next time I look, they are all covered in brown spots. But that doesn’t matter, I can easily take care of them. After all, don’t I have a bunch of recipes for over ripe bananas? From banana bread to muffins to cream pies, they are all delicious. Sometimes I purposely ignore the bananas in the fruit basket till they reach that pulpy stage!


One of the easiest things to make with very ripe bananas is a banana loaf. And this past weekend, I got around to making a quick banana loaf to be part of a brunch I was planning.


This banana loaf has a very generic ingredient list. You need half a cup of dried fruits and half a cup of nuts. In any combination. I used a mix of dried apricots, plums and raisins. And almond slivers and walnut pieces for the nuts part. Actually, a banana loaf is a smart way of using up the last bits of fruit and nut in your pantry!


And the process is rather simple too. You mash the bananas…


Add the eggs and beat them together with other liquid ingredients.


Add the chopped fruits and nuts.


Finally add the flour and gently mix everything together.


Pour the batter into pans and it is ready for the oven.


One of the best things I like about a banana loaf is the fragrance of it baking in the oven, filling the whole kitchen.


Teamed up with eggs and grapefruit, it will make a wonderful breakfast.


Not only is this banana loaf easy to make, it is pretty much healthy too. As the banana provides most of the sweetness, you wouldn’t need to add much sugar. Also, instead of butter, this is made with vegetable oil. So an overall winner!


Fruit and Nut Banana Loaf
Recipe type: Bread
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 or 3 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup dried fruit
  • ½ cup nuts
  • 1 tbsp orange rind, without the inside white part
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree farenheit.
  2. Butter a 9 inch the loaf pan or two smaller ones.
  3. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Chop the dried fruits and nuts roughly.
  5. Thinly slice the orange rind. Or, if you prefer, you can mince it.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
  7. Add the brown sugar and orange juice and mix well with a hand-held beater.
  8. Add the eggs and continue beating.
  9. Add the vegetable oil and beat thoroughly.
  10. Gently blend in the chopped fruits, nuts and orange rind.
  11. Add the flour in batches and blend in.
  12. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
  13. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  14. Any leftovers can be frozen for later.

Houmous – A guilt-free pleasure


Creamy houmous drizzled generously with olive oil is more or less a permanent dish featured in a Middle Eastern meal. Consisting mainly of chickpeas, houmous can be eaten as a dip with crudités, pita chips etc and as a spread with pita bread. Sometimes I do enjoy houmous on its own, and with no guilt as the chickpea is a legume that’s high in protein and fibre with a low glycemic index making it a good choice for weight control as it gives you the feeling of being full with fewer calories.

Though houmous is easy to make, neither super skill nor fancy ingredients are required, Anthony Rose, a Toronto restaurateur, is serving houmous at a $ 175 -a -ticket culinary fundraiser where 21 of Canada’s best chefs are participating.

The first time I came across houmous was when I started exploring cuisines from different corners of the world. When I heard about houmous and how it was made, I couldn’t fathom how a ‘chickpea paste’ could be so tasty. I first got to try it when one of my students, a Lebanese girl, brought it for an end of year party at school where I worked. A bowl of houmous, that too from a Lebanese kitchen, did taste heavenly and I became an ardent fan of houmous and its variations.


As I tend to make most dishes from scratch whenever possible, I’ve used dry chickpeas and homemade tahini. Dry chickpeas have to be soaked in water overnight and cooked well with a little salt. It’s important to remember that dry chickpeas expand:  1 cup of dried chickpeas will give you 2 ½ cups after soaking.


Tahini and tahini sauce are extensively used in Middle Eastern cooking and it is just a fine paste of dry roasted white sesame seeds. If you are like me and enjoy the flavor of sesame you can add 1-2 teaspoons of pure sesame oil at the time of grinding. Although I prefer using dry chickpeas and making my own tahini, canned chickpeas and store bought tahini will still give the same result.

P4 houmous

In my basic houmous, I add cumin powder and some chilli flakes besides chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lime juice and salt.

P6 houmous


Try these variations to make it more interesting.


Add some chopped caper berries to the houmous. The tangy bits of capers give it an interesting  texture.


Soak some sun dried tomatoes in olive oil and grind it along with the rest of ingredients.

P8 humous

Grind some kalamata olives coarsely and add to the basic houmous. Little black specks of olives change the appearance and add a very nice flavour.

My recipe for original houmous calls for 6 tablespoons of lemon juice but be a little shy of adding that much to any of these three variations as all three ingredients are sour.


Though houmous tastes best when it’s freshly made, it can be refrigerated for a week and can be frozen up to a month.
















Houmous – A guilt-free pleasure
  • Chickpeas 1cup dry chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked with a little
  • salt 2 ½ cups canned or soaked chickpeas
  • Chickpea liquid as required
  • Tahini ½ cup
  • Garlic 3 cloves
  • Lemon juice 6 tablespoons
  • Cumin powder 2 teaspoons
  • Chilli flakes 1 teaspoon or according to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive Oil ¼ cup
  • To make Tahini
  • White sesame seeds1/3 cup
  • Pure sesame oil 1 teaspoon
  1. Soak dry chickpeas in enough water overnight or till it becomes soft to bite.
  2. Cook the soaked chickpeas. Do not throw away the water in which it’s cooked.
  3. To make tahini, dry roast the sesame seeds till light brown and grind to a paste with 1 -2 teaspoons of sesame oil.
  4. Make a puree of cooked chickpeas, garlic and salt with some chickpea liquid using a food processor.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse more till smooth.
  6. Test for seasoning. Transfer to a container and pour the olive oil on top.