Banana and quinoa is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I’ve used it in multiple recipes in the past, but this one is definitely the most fun. The idea is to coat bananas in a homemade chocolate sauce, roll them around in some quinoa, bake until the quinoa is crispy, and top the whole thing with mint.
It’s a simple, unprocessed dessert unlike anything you’ve made before; and you can throw it together in minutes with just a few basic ingredients. Plus, it’s like two desserts in one: they taste amazing straight out of the oven, but the leftovers can be frozen to create a totally different flavor and texture. Here’s how to make them…
Makes 8 servings
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 cups cooked white quinoa
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
- Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 300º F
The hardest part of this recipe is cooking the quinoa correctly. Many people have a hard time with this and it’s more essential here than ever to have fluffy, individual grains of quinoa (as opposed to a sticky, clumpy, wet mess). This is actually pretty simple. Measure 1 cup of dry white quinoa, rinse/drain thoroughly to remove the natural bitter coating, then add to a saucepan with just under 2x the amount of water (about 1.9 cups, in this case). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a slow simmer and cover. Leave it alone for 15-20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed and it’s done: fluffy quinoa. If it’s a little too wet, spread onto a baking sheet and leave on the counter for an hour or so to dry further. Feel free to make this ahead of time – leftover quinoa works well here.
With the stressful part behind us, the process of making these bananas couldn’t be easier. Make a simple “one ingredient” chocolate sauce by combining 2 parts cocoa powder with 1 part coconut oil and 1 part maple syrup. Microwave for 15-20 seconds and whisk the ingredients together until it’s a fluid, sauce-like consistency. If it’s too firm, microwave to soften; too liquid, refrigerate for 5 minutes.
Peel your ripe bananas and cut them in half so they’re easier to work with. Keep the chocolate sauce handy in a bowl and spread the quinoa out on a large plate or baking sheet. Then, using a pastry brush (or just your hands), coat a banana with the chocolate sauce and quickly move to the quinoa and gently roll it around until coated. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and repeat with the other 7 halves. Top each with a tiny pinch of salt.
Bake these guys at 300ºF for about 12-15 minutes, or until the quinoa has partially dried and created a firm (but not rock-solid) coating. Press a little finely-chopped mint (not optional!) into the surface and allow to cool.
At this point, you can serve them warm right out of the oven, or freeze (for up to three days) where the textures firm up to create a totally different dessert. They’re delicious either way.