Credit: Photo: Rachel Johnson

Use avocado instead of butter to make banana bread with a dose of healthy fats and a low measure of guilt. Avocados are cholesterol free, and about 50% of the fat in the gorgeous green fruit comes from monounsaturated fats (one of the good ones)—which makes this quick bread that much more alluring.

When you puree avocados, they take on the texture of softened butter, which makes them easy to incorporate into the batter. And since avocados have a mild, fresh, slightly sweet flavor, they pair well with the bananas and the vanilla in the recipe. If you've got kids (especially a picky one like mine), they probably won't even notice you've made the swap.

A few tips for this bread: Use very ripe, soft bananas – they’ll have more pronounced banana-y flavor than firmer ones. Wait until the skin is brown all over for the best results. (Did you know that if bananas start to get overly brown you can freeze them? Freeze them right in their skins, then thaw and peel. When thawed they become super soft and are extremely easy to mash!) It's also best to work with ripe avocados, they will have the richest, creamy, buttery flavor.

Customize the bread to your tastes: add some ground cinnamon or a touch of nutmeg. Stir chopped toasted pecans into the batter or chopped extra-dark chocolate. Or sweeten some cream cheese with honey or maple syrup and serve with bread slices.

Banana-Avocado Bread Hands-on: 20 min.    Total: 25 min. If you want to make this bread vegan, omit the buttermilk and sub-in the same amount of unsweetened almond milk and  add 1 teaspoon lemon juice to the batter. Use your own vegan substitute for the 2 eggs.

9 1/2 ounces white whole wheat flour (about 2 cups) 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 3 large ripe bananas 1 ripe avocado 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk (or unsweetened almond milk) 1 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract 2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.

3. Place banana in a medium bowl; mash with a potato masher or fork. Place avocado in food processor; process until completely pureed. Transfer avocado to bowl with banana. Add sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and egg; stirring with a whisk until blended. Gradually add flour mixture to banana mixture; stirring until batter is smooth.

4. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

SERVES 14 (serving size: 1 slice) CALORIES 165; FAT 3.2g (sat 0.6g, mono 1.7g, poly 0.4g); PROTEIN 4g; CARB 30g; FIBER 4g; SUGARS 14g CHOL 27mg; IRON 1mg; SODIUM 135mg; CALC 42mg

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