“I Baked Vegan Brownies With Banana Instead of Eggs. Here’s How It Went”
I wanted to make a vegan brownie that was healthier than most, and I did it with one easy swap. I am all about satisfying my cravings with healthy choices, and these brownies hit the spot. I know you can use substitutes like chia seeds to make vegan eggs or egg replacements, but I had never tried bananas.
Still, this vegan brownie recipe called for making vegan brownies with bananas, so I swapped out the eggs and used the fruit instead. I also added a few other key health hacks to make my brownies even healthier, filled with protein, and yet still completely satisfying.
So I started with a mix. I used a mix from PB2 Foods, a baking company that makes mixes for baked goods made with plant-based protein. Along with their healthier brownie mix, they also make cookie and muffin mixes, all with peanut flour which boosts the protein and fiber content.
What set this mix apart from the get-go: It has only recognizable ingredients – Peanuts, sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, tapioca starch, sodium bicarbonate, and salt. In each brownie, there are 4 grams of plant-based protein and only 120 calories. I was sold.
Vegan Protein-Packed Brownies
I decided this was just what I needed to maintain a somewhat healthy plant-based diet but also find a satisfying fix for my nightly chocolate cravings.
I added a few other health hacks to make them even healthier. Instead of processed vegetable oil, I used extra virgin olive oil and sprayed the pan using avocado oil (which is a healthier oil with a high smoke point).
And because I wanted to make them even healthier, I swapped out half the oil for organic apple sauce. This is a trick I learned long ago and continue to use it in all my baking to lower the calories and oil in each bite.
3 Tips for Making Healthy Brownies:
- Use half a ripe banana instead of eggs in any brownie recipe to lower your cholesterol and saturated fat intake.
- Use apple sauce instead of half the oil when baking. You can lower your fat and calories and add more fiber.
- Choose extra virgin olive oil when baking instead of highly processed vegetable oil which can be full of chemicals. Spray the pan with avocado oil to use even less vegetable oil.
Why Avoid Eggs?
Eggs contain cholesterol and saturated fat, which when consumed on a regular basis can increase your risk of heart disease. One large egg contains 187 mg of cholesterol and 1.6 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat drives up your blood cholesterol, which can lead to plaque in the bloodstream and raise blood pressure.
So giving up eggs when baking and using ripe bananas instead is a great way to cut down on your egg consumption and reduce your longterm risk of heart disease.
Is Vegetable Oil Bad for You?
When I bake vegan, I always try to come up with healthy swaps. I also love using olive oil instead of vegetable oil, which the recipe had called for. I try to avoid vegetable oil whenever possible, ever since I wrote a story on how vegetable oils are usually highly processed. Vegetable oil contains Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (or PUFAs) which make it harder for the body to burn fat. Americans use so much oil in their food (especially packaged foods like crackers, cookies, and store-bought products) that it's hard to escape. Americans get 80 percent of their fat calories from processed vegetable oil, or about 650 calories a day, as compared to your grandparent’s generation when Americans ate fewer than 100 calories of oil a day.
While Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids are considered heart healthier than saturated fat, which is found in animal products like meat and dairy, the fewer PUFAs you take in overall, the better. So first I used apple sauce instead of half the oil. Next, I cut down on the oil in this recipe by greasing the pan with a spray of avocado oil instead of any other type of vegetable oil.
Baking Without Eggs
Back to the bananas for eggs. I would recommend you use a very ripe banana instead of a stiff or slightly green banana because the softer the banana is, the easier it will be to smush and whisk into the liquified oil and water mix (and apple sauce in my case) to make a thick base for the brownie mix. Once you whisk the oil, water, apple sauce, and banana together add the brownie mix. After you mix all that together so there are no lumps, these brownies are so easy: you just pour the mixture into a greased pan and pop them into the oven, and bake for 20 minutes at 350.
Now I will say, having licked the batter before washing the bowl, that you can taste a trace of banana. Depending on how you feel about bananas, that could either be a positive, a negative, or a neutral. I happen to like bananas, so for me, it's somewhere the positive side.
But everything has its taste. You don't realize it but you can taste the eggs or butter in most batters. It's just that you're so used to it, growing up with lots of traditional baking, or in a household where your mom or dad or siblings or grandparent or whoever you baked with used those ingredients, it became what you expected brownies or cookies to taste like.
My mom was a big baker and always used margarine, which is often unintentionally vegan. So I figured if I could find a decent substitute for eggs in baking, I could work my way through her impressive recipe box (praline cakes, lemon squares, brownies, meringues...) and find substitutes for all her dairy ingredients and recreate these traditional baked goods as vegan versions of my childhood favorites. Trying this banana instead of eggs was the first step.
Here's How Vegan Brownies With Bananas Tasted
Call me easy to please, but these tasted amazing. I was delighted to find that the banana taste from the batter is nowhere to be found once these are baked. Also, they seemed to need a little more time than the recipe called for.
I like brownies soft in the middle and hard on the edges so I tried cooking them a little less, 15 minutes instead of the called-for 20 minutes but had to keep adding more time in the oven, for a total of about 23 minutes taking them in and out twice to test them.
Since every oven is different and everyone likes their brownies differently, I underbaked mine. For me, nice and chewy, with a hard edge, these are about as good as any brownie I have ever baked, and they are entirely vegan and gluten-free.
Because they use peanut flour these vegan brownies are also high in protein and are gluten-free. If you have a peanut allergy they are not the right choice for you of course.
Bottom Line: Use Banana Instead of Egg in Brownies
Swapping a banana for eggs when baking brownies will take some of the saturated fat and cholesterol out of the recipe, making it a healthier choice. When you need to satisfy a chocolate craving, baking healthier vegan brownies is the way to go.
For more plant-based recommendations, visit The Beet's Product Reviews.