Banana Coconut Quinoa Loaf

When Oil & Grain posted a recipe for Quinoa Cinnamon Loaf it made it into my breakfast recipe rotation pretty much instantly. While it was baking the smell minded me of banana bread (YUM!), but the problem with most banana bread (especially if you're buying it and not making it yourself) is that it's packed with far more sugar and fat than necessary and there's definitely not much in the way of providing any nutritional benefits (hello sugar crash 1-hour later!!). Enter a little kitchen creativity, and I found myself a nice little banana bread substitute that registers way higher on the nutritional scale for you than traditional banana bread (high five)! And because my fridge has a continual supply of fresh cherries this time of year I added some in for an extra little pop of flavour - though I imagine cranberries, raspberries, or blueberries would be delicious as well.

Banana Coconut Quinoa Loaf

Makes 1 loaf: 8 servings

Per serving: Protein 8 g || Carbs 37 g || Fat 6 g || Calories 220

3 cups cooked quinoa
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk - your choice: dairy, unsweetened almond or coconut
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 ripe bananas, mashed (small to medium sized)
4 TB unsweetened dried coconut, divided into 2 equal parts
3/4 cup cherries, pitted & halved (optional)
1 TB cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle 2 TB of dried coconut evenly on the parchment paper. Place in 375 degree oven for 2-4 minutes, watching carefully and removing immediately once toasted. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, maple syrup, remaining 2 TB dried coconut (non-toasted), and cinnamon. Mix in mashed banana until well blended. Stir in quinoa, and optional cherry halves. Pour into parchment lined loaf pan, and sprinkle the 2 TB toasted coconut evenly on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Makes for a great snack during the workday either morning or afternoon. To make life easy for yourself, once it's cooled separate it out into 8 zip lock bags, boil 8 eggs, and you've got yourself a complete breakfast. If eggs aren't your thing make a protein shake to-go: 1 cup water or milk + 1 scoop protein powder and you're out the door with an awesome and nutritious breakfast.