Bananas are good for you because of thier chemistry and the key to banana chemistry is starch.

Bananas are only about 75% water, which is significantly lower than most other fruits. An apple, for example, is almost 86% water, an orange, peel included, is about 82%, and without peel, about 86% water.

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In contrast, bananas are 24% carbohydrates, including starch and fiber. When they’re green, bananas are high in starch, and as they ripen, much of the starch is converted to sugar. Managing that change is key to cooking with bananas: some of us like our bananas very sweet, some of us prefer them a little green, and the rest of us are in the middle. Get banana chemistry right, and you’ve broken the code for really tasty ways to eat bananas that go far beyond its delicious au natural package.
A partially peeled banana in front of the atomic table symbol for potassium and a molecule model behind it all.

If you’ve got bananas that you want to ripen, go ahead and place them near apples, or in a plastic bag with apples. The apples will give off ethylene gas, which helps bananas ripen faster. If you don’t want them to ripen that fast, store them by themselves.

As for recipes, we’ve divided them into savory, sweet, and overripe. All these recipes can be easily adapted to be vegan or gluten free, and most of them are paleo-friendly as well.


When we think of banana recipes, we think of sweet. But in much of world, bananas—and especially, less sweet banana-like plantains—are used in savory dishes, either as a starch, or as sweet counterpoint to salty, spicy and sour flavors.  You can use plantains or even under-ripe bananas in savory dishes. Note that plantains are meant to be eaten after cooking or dehydrating.

Banana Chips

You can make these sweet or savory. If making them savory, use plantains or very green bananas—and don’t feel you have to omit the cinnamon. We often think of cinnamon as a sweet spice, but it also adds a warm depth of flavor to savory dishes. Wherever you fall on the sweet-savory spectrum, cinnamon can make a wonderful contribution to banana chemistry.

Serving Size: 3


  • 3 medium-sized bananas or 2 medium-sized plantains
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt (optional)
  • Cinnamon (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 250°F / 120°C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  3. Slice bananas/plantain thinly, about ⅛ inch / ⅓ cm thick. Arrange them in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  4. Juice the lemon and dilute with 4 parts water. Brush the banana/plantain slices with this lemon-water to keep them from becoming too brown.
  5. Sprinkle the slices lightly with salt and / or cinnamon, if desired.
  6. Bake for 90 minutes, then flip. Again, brush the uncooked side with the lemon-water mixture, then sprinkle with salt and / or cinnamon.

Exchanges per Serving: 1 Fruit
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 90 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 1
Health Level: 5
Serving Size: ½ banana or ⅓ plantain
Serves: 6

Banana Bakers

This is a healthier take on the eternally-popular banana fritter.


  • ½ cup / 60 g of your choice of whole grain or brown rice flour, depending on your needs
  • ½ cup / 60 g of whole cornmeal
  • 1½ tsp. / 7½ g baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • ½ tsp. / 1½ g cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. / 1 g curry
  • ½ tsp. / ¾ g ginger spice
  • ¼-½ tsp. ¾ g cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder (The smoky taste of chipotles means that it’s really worth looking for it in the international aisle of your local supermarket or at your local international market. If you can only find dried chipotles, go ahead and grind them in your spice or coffee bean grinder.)
  • 3 ripe medium-sized bananas or 2 medium plantains
  • 1 large egg or ¼ cup prepared vegan egg replacer
  • Juice from half of a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. / 30 ml dairy or plant-based milk
  • Approximately 2 Tbsp. / 30 ml heart-healthy cooking oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together all dry ingredients.
  3. In a second mixing bowl, mash the bananas/plantains and mix with the lemon juice to keep them from browning.
  4. Beat in the egg/replacer and the milk.
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients, and blend until just mixed.
  6. Brush a baking sheet the oil.
  7. Evenly space dollops of 2 Tbsp. / 28 ml batter each on the baking sheet, and place in the preheated oven.
  8. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes on one side until golden brown, then flip—brushing additional oil onto the baking sheet if needed—and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until the second side is golden brown.

Exchanges per Serving: 1 Carb, 1 Fruit, 1 Fat
Preparation Time: 20-30 minutes
Baking Time: 16-20 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 2
Health Level: 4
Serving Size: 2 bakers
Serves: 6

Oven-Roasted Banana “Fries”

This recipe works for any starchy fruit or vegetable.


  • 3 large green bananas or 2 large plantains
  • 2 Tbsp. / 30 ml olive oil
  • Salt (optional)
  • Your choice of spices, such as turmeric, chili powder, or garam masala


You may want to wear food-safe gloves, because green banana peels can stain your hands.

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  2. Separate the bananas/plantains from each other and cut off the top stem, exposing the fruit top. Now, cut lengthwise down through the peel, from top to bottom. Do this in several places around the banana/plantain, and remove the peel in strips, being careful to keep the fruit whole.
  3. When you have removed the peel, cut each banana/plantain in half across the middle. Now, cut each half, in half lengthwise, from the outside curve to the inside curve or vice versa. Cut each of these quarters into halves yet again, along the curve of the fruit. You will now have 8 “fries” per each fruit.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 tablespoons / 30 ml oil and seasonings to taste, then brush the banana/plantain fries with this mixture.
  5. Arrange the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, flip, and bake for another 20 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool slightly, then serve with homemade ketchup, if desired.

Exchanges per Serving: 1 Fat, 1 Fruit
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 1
Health Level: 5
Serving Size: ½ banana or ⅓ plantain
Serves: 6

Bewitching Banana Curry

Indian food is one of the world’s great cuisines, and the subject of a recent article on its “addictiveness.” Indian cuisine is amazingly flavorful—and sometimes very labor-intensive. This dish is not, and with just a little experimentation, you can make it your own.

The tannins from the black tea add a depth similar to that of red wine, but different. If you have a nice, smoky black tea such as lapsang souchong, that would be ideal, but regular tea will do just fine.

Vegan and gluten-free.


  • 1 Tbsp. / 14 ml coconut oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped (What you use depends on your heat preference. Chipotles (smoked jalapeno peppers) are reasonably mild and add a wonderful dimension to this dish. Look for them in the international or Hispanic aisle of your local supermarket. Or just add, to taste, whatever chili powder you have in your cupboard.
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. / 3½ g cumin, coriander and/or fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp. / 3 g turmeric
  • ½ tsp. / 1 g ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. / 1½ g cinnamon
  • 2 bags or 1 Tbsp. / 7 g black tea
  • 1 cup / 240 mL boiling water
  • 1 16-oz / 380-g can of chick peas / garbanzos, drained and rinsed
    or 1½ cups / 245 g cooked chick peas, drained
  • ½ cup / 75 g dark raisins, preferably organic sulfite-free
  • 3 ripe medium bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup / 8 oz. / 240 g of plain full-fat yogurt, organic vegan, Greek, or regular (preferably pastured)
  • ¼ cup / 5 g of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, mint, and/or basil, chopped


  1. If using tea bags, rinse in cool running water. Place rinsed tea bag or tea ball containing leaves in boiling water, and set aside to steep.
  2. In large frying / sauté pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and garlic, chili, cinnamon and cumin, then sauté until onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the chickpeas, bananas, raisings, about ¾ of the fresh herbs, and the tea. Bring to boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce to simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes, until fruit and chickpeas have melded. If you find it is too thick, pour a little more boiling water on your teabags, steep for a minute or so, then thin curry with this tea.
  4. Stir in the yogurt and the remaining herbs. If you wish to add a little salt, feel free.
  5. Serve over whole brown cooked rice, if desired (⅓ cup / 65 g = 1 carb exchange).

Exchanges per Serving: 2 Carb, ½ Protein, 1 Fat
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes (+2 hours if cooking chickpeas)
Difficulty Rating: 2
Health Level: 5
Serving Size: ¾ cup / 170 g
Serves: 6


For most of us, including diabetics, the sugar in bananas may not be a problem because it’s buffered by their fiber and water, along with all their other natural nutrients. However, if you are diabetic, be sure to consult with your health-care provider.

These recipes take full advantage of the sugar aspect of banana chemistry. Sweet bananas are a great way to indulge the sweet tooth most of us have without spiking your blood sugar and throwing your body into fat-storing mode.

Banana Brown Butter Bread

The unique banana chemistry makes banana bread is the king of quick breads. The Trim Down Club’s gluten-free version satiates your cravings for delicious home-baked goodies, and is vegan-friendly.


  • ¾ cup / 106 g almond flour
  • ¾ cup  / 120 g brown rice flour
  • 2 Tbsp. / 20 g ground flax meal
  • ¼ cup / 45 g quinoa flour
  • 1 tsp. / 5 g baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 1 tsp. / 2 g Stevia or monk fruit sweetener
    or ⅓ cup inulin (chicory root) or xylitol sweetener
  • 1 tsp. / 2 g ground cinnamon
  • 4 ripe medium-sized bananas
  • 2 eggs, preferably organic omega-3 or pastured
    or ½ cup / 120 ml flaxseed gel*
  • ½ cup / 120 ml almond milk
  • ½ cup / 120 g dairy or coconut butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. / 5 ml vanilla extract
  • ½ cup / 120 ml glaze**

* Flaxseed Gel

Grind ¼ cup whole flax seeds to a powder. Add ¼ cup warm water and set aside for 10 minutes to gel and thicken before use.

** Glaze

Combine ½ cup / 120 ml almond milk, 1½ tsp. / 1½ g inulin (chicory root) or xylitol sweetener, and dash of cinnamon; bring to a boil and pour over bread.



  1. Preheat your oven to 355°F / 180°C. Spray a loaf-baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, or mist with oil.
  2. Combine the flours and whisk together with the sweetener, cinnamon, and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. In a blender, combine the bananas with the eggs or flaxseed gel, almond milk, melted butter, and vanilla, and pulse beat to process.
  4. Transfer banana-egg/gel mixture to the flour mixture, and blend well to a batter
  5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Place the pan over the center rack of your preheated oven, and bake for about 55 minutes.
  6. In a small bowl, prepare the glaze as above, and glaze the bread while still hot. Let stand for a few minutes to let the bread cool down a bit before slicing.

Per Serving: 1 Carb, 1 Fat (= 1 Sweet)
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 55 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 2
Serving size: 1 slice
Serves: 24


Coco Banana Pancakes

This is a dairy-free and gluten-free recipe that is both delicious and nutritious, and can easily be made vegan-friendly.


  • 1 cup / 160 g brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp. / 9 g baking powder
  • ½ tsp. / 1½ g ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. / 1½ g fine sea salt
  • 1 ripe medium banana
  • 1 large omega-3 or pastured egg
    or ¼ cup vegan egg replacer*
  • ¾ cup / 180 ml coconut milk beverage
  • 1 Tbsp. / 14 ml coconut oil
  • Sliced banana for garnish (optional)

*Homemade vegan egg replacer: 2 Tbsp. / 11½ g chickpea flour
+3 Tbsp. / 45 ml water+1 tsp. / 5 ml coconut oil whisked together


  1. In a small bowl, combine the rice flour with baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In another bowl, mash the banana with the Stevia or monk fruit powder.
  3. Stir in the egg/replacer, coconut milk, and a tablespoon of the coconut oil.
  4. Fold in the flour mixture. Stir just to incorporate.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with a small amount of coconut oil. Pour in pancake batter, ½ cup for 6-in/15-cm pancakes.
  6. Cook pancakes for 3-4 minutes on each side, until brown and cooked through.

If desired, top with dairy or coconut butter (1 tsp. / 5 gm = 1 fat serving), sliced banana (½ = 1 carb serving), and/or pure maple syrup (1 Tbsp. / 15 ml = 1 sweet serving).

Exchanges per Serving: 2 Carb, 1 Protein
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 2
Health Level: 4
Serving Size: 1 pancake
Serves: 4

Peanut Butter and Banana Ice Cream

You can substitute any nut butter you choose for this, but peanut butter and bananas are a great thing.


  • ⅛ tsp. / ⅔ g cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. / 1 ml vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. / 48 g peanut or other nut butter, preferably organic, no salt or sugar added, plus more for a garnish
  • 3 large, very ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp. / 6 g nuts of the same type as the butter, crushed (optional)


  1. Cut the bananas into 1-inch / 2½-cm chunks, then freeze for at least 2 hours.
  2. In a blender you know can handle ice cubes, pulse the frozen bananas until they are smooth and creamy. This will take several minutes.
  3. Now add the nut butter, vanilla and cinnamon. (If you also think that a bit of heat in your sweets takes them to the next level, go ahead and add some chipotle or cayenne pepper.)
  4. Pulse again.
  5. Garnish by warming a little of the remaining nut butter in a pan, then drizzling it over the ice cream, along with the crushed nuts and a sprinkle of salt.

Serve and enjoy immediately.

Exchanges per Serving: ½ Carb, ½ Protein, 1 Fat, 1 Fruit
Preparation Time: 10 minutes + 2 or more hours
Difficulty Rating: 1
Health Level: 5
Serving Size: ½ cup / 120 g
Serves: 4

Banana Blondies

Vegan and gluten-free.


  • 3 cups / 470 g steel-cut or rolled oats (be sure to get gluten-free certified, if needed)
  • 1½ cups / 340 g bananas, very ripe and mashed
  • ½ cup / 60 g your choice of nuts, chopped (walnuts are classic)
  • ½ cup / 120 ml water
  • ¼ cup / 30 g flaxseed, freshly ground
  • ½ tsp. / 3 g salt
  • 1 Tbsp. / 14 ml heart-healthy oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine banana mash, water, flaxseed meal, and salt. Stir well, then mix in the oats.
  3. Grease a 12×8-inch / 30×20-cm baking pan with your favorite heart-healthy oil.
  4. Turn batter out and spread it over the sheet, pressing into corners.
  5. Bake for 25 or 30 minutes, then place sheet on baking rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Cut blondies into 2×2 inches / 5×5 cm squares, then turn each over and bake upside down for 15 minutes. Flip each blondie again and bake for a final 5 minutes so each side is nicely brown and crisped.

Allow to cool completely. Blondies will keep in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Exchanges per Serving: 1 Carb + 1 Fat (= 1 Sweet)
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 25-30 minutes
Difficulty Rating: 1
Health Level: 4
Serving Size: 1 blondie (2×2 inches / 5×5 cm)
Serves: 24

Feeding Your Sweet Tooth

When we try to lose weight, we often think we have to starve our sweet tooth. That just sets us up for frustration and failure. However, when you’ve nailed banana chemistry, you can feed your sweet tooth in a way that allows you to lose weight easily and naturally.

If you’d like to learn more about how bananas fit the bill, please click here.

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