Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the tastiest, heartiest, most nourishing, and guilt-free banana bread I have ever baked! This beauty is made with whole grain spelt flour, oats, overripe bananas, and a very special ingredient––tigernuts.
I know what you may be thinking––what in the world is a tigernut?
I have been wanting to share this glorious food with you for months! Way back in summer 2014 one of my clients handed me a bottle of tigernut horchata to try. She promised me I would love it, and right she was. It was a slightly sweet chilled beverage reminiscent of the best creamy almond milk ever. I was even more impressed by this mystery tigernut when she told me it wasn’t actually a nut, but a tiny tuber. A tuber, you know, like a sweet potato!
I sipped and savored that first bottle of tigernut horchata for an hour. Trust me, it was so hard not to gulp it all down in one sitting, but I really wanted to hold on to all that goodness.
To my surprise, after googling tigernut horchata I discovered it is a popular drink in Spain that originated in Valencia. There it’s called horchata de chufa. Chufa being the Spanish word for tigernut. My first reaction was, WHAAAAT?!?!?! I spent a semester in Spain in college, and never touched the horchata. I can’t even remember hearing about it. Was I really that consumed with partying and sight-seeing that I overlooked one of Spain’s greatest culinary possessions? I guess so…
Like Mexican horchata, which Americans are more familiar with, horchata de chufa is made by soaking then blending the starchy rice (Mexico) or tigernut (España), and straining the liquid––which is sweetened and chilled before serving. Traditionally they use sugar, but I’m a fan of sweetening it with a date or two. Even banana is a welcome addition.
Okay, so what’s the 4.1.1. with tigernuts? And why are they in my banana bread?
First off, like I said before, tigernuts are not nuts at all. They’re starchy little tubers that are harvested in Spain and Africa, then dried before being used to make horchata. The company Organic Gemini, who is responsible for leading the movement to popularize tigernuts in the U.S., sent me a goodie box of their products. I received a big bag of the “nuts”, tigernut oil, and even flour made from it! I used up the oil for cooking in about a month, but that bag of flour sat in my cabinet until I had the idea to use it in my banana bread.
Another fun fact about tigernuts is that they’re very good for you. They are packed with resistant starch (a prebiotic) that helps support the healthy bacteria in our guts, which equates to good digestion. Or, in my case, the key to happiness. The resistant starch is also different from most starches because it acts as a fabulous source of dietary fiber. Other foods that include resistant starch are beans, and jeruselum artichokes. Yummy!
Tigernut milk––which I’ll share on the blog soon––is a great alternative to other non-dairy and dairy milks. Actually, of all the non-dairy milks, it is my favorite. If you’re looking for a vegan coffee creamer, tigernut milk is the answer! So rich and delicious, with a natural sweetness similar to almonds. Remember, tigernuts are not nuts at all. They’re allergen free!
I’m so happy to, 1.) finally be sharing my new favorite banana bread recipe with you, and 2.) finally getting around to using this tigernut flour. Now that I’ve seen it shine in my banana bread I’m planning on using it in pancakes, cookies, muffins, crusts, and whatever else my brain shoots out.
This banana bread is truly delicious. The recipe is adapted from Minimalist Baker’s gluten-free recipe. I swapped out the flours, added chocolate chips and coffee (mocha style), and added some southern girl soul (duh)! I’ll go ahead and warn you now, you may eat the whole loaf in 24 hours. Be sure to enjoy every bite!
Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe? Or have you tried tigernut or tigernut horchata?
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 2 tbsp water
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp coconut, canola, or tigernut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar, or cane sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee powder
- 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (soy, almond, or tigernut)
- 1/2 cup tigernut flour
- 1 1/4 cup whole grain spelt flour
- 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats or Trader Joe’s rolled grain blend
- 1/4-1/2 cup vegan dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350° and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the flax seed and water. Stir and allow it to thicken for 2 minutes.
- Add the banana to the bowl with the flax, and mash until nearly liquified.
- Stir in the vanilla extract, oil, sugar, coffee, and non-dairy milk. Stir well to combine.
- In another large mixing bowl add the tigernut flour. Be sure to break any clumps of the flour with a fork or your fingers
- Add the spelt flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
- Stir in the oats, and whisk again.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes.
- Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before devouring.