Banana Ricotta Bread – A Heart Healthy Treat

Breakfast or snack time in our home always brings a sense of excitement, especially when it involves a freshly baked loaf of banana bread. But not just any banana bread – we’re talking about a delightful twist on this classic treat: Banana Ricotta Bread.

In my family, bananas are a staple. However, there’s always that moment when you spot those overly ripe bananas on the counter, their skins mottled with deep brown spots. You know the ones – too mushy to eat but perfect for baking. That’s when the magic happens. We transform these neglected bananas (or “gross bananas” as my son refers to them) into something spectacular, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this little kitchen ritual.

Now, who hasn’t whipped up a batch of banana bread in their time? It’s easy, quick, and nearly impossible to mess up. It’s one of those recipes that even the most novice bakers (me!!) can feel confident about. Plus, the aroma of banana bread baking in the oven is enough to gather everyone in the kitchen.

We love experimenting with banana bread in my family – if you like this recipe be sure to check out my other banana bread recipes: Chia Banana Bread and Prune Banana Bread.

Ricotta banana bread load sliced on a wooden cutting board.

Why Add Ricotta Cheese To Banana Bread?

Well I had a little bit of ricotta leftover from another recipe (my ricotta egg bite recipe!), so I thought hey, let’s add this to the banana bread to see what happens. And guess what? It turned out well!

As a Registered Dietitian I love using ricotta because it is a good source of protein, which is essential for satiety, and something a lot of baked goods usually don’t contain. Protein can help you feel full, which might assist in maintaining a healthy weight – a key factor in heart health.

Another reason I love ricotta is it is also high in calcium, which is important for bone health, and it also contains potassium, which can help lower blood pressure and counteract the negative effects of sodium.

Ricotta cheese is great for baking because it’s mild in flavor and doesn’t overpower other tastes in your recipe. This makes it perfect for our banana ricotta bread, adding a nice touch without being too strong.

What’s really special about ricotta is how it improves the texture of baked goods. It helps make your bread moist and soft, giving it a wonderful feel in every bite. It’s this secret ingredient that makes this bread both delicious and satisfyingly tender.

Another plus of ricotta is that it’s lower in saturated fat compared to many other cheeses. This means you can enjoy that lovely creamy texture in your baking, but it’s also a healthier choice for your heart. So, you get all the richness without the worry!

Why Make Ricotta Banana Bread?

  • Extra nutrition on a classic recipe – it’s filled with protein for a healthy breakfast, snack or even dessert
  • Great meal prep addition to be enjoyed all week (and weekend!) long
  • Satiating
  • Easy and simple to execute
  • Can be part of a DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, post stent diet, Portfolio diet and Mind diet eating plan
  • Heart Healthy sweet treat
  • Quick to Make – takes less than 10 minutes to whip up
  • Unlimited nutrient-dense add ins
Image of Veronica Rouse with Free 7 day heart healthy meal plan freebie.

Ingredients

Ingredients for banana ricotta bread, on a counter top including ricotta, walnuts, spices, egg, banana, flour.

This list contains a few ingredients on the  list of anti-inflammatory foods, list of low cholesterol foods, and part of a low cholesterol diet plan.

Ricotta – adds a richness, moisture and tenderness to the dough and overall texture.  I’d recommend the low fat ricotta cheese to reduce the saturated fat content (because too much saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol levels (1)) 

Bananas– Can’t make ricotta banana bread without bananas. I like to use very ripe bananas (you use less added sugar that way). And yes, it is okay to use frozen bananas in this recipe, just let them thaw before mashing!

Avocado – A healthy way to add monounsaturated fats, and soluble fiber to the dish to help manage cholesterol levels, unclog arteries and be consistent with the Portfolio diet recipes

Egg – to bind everything

Whole Wheat Flour – I used whole wheat flour here for added nutrients and fiber

Sugar – I used white sugar, but you could also use honey or maple syrup instead

Cinnamon, nutmeg – added for flavor

Baking soda and baking powder – traditional bread ingredient to help it rise

Hemp seeds – increases the plant protein content in the bread

Walnuts – adds a nice crunch and heart healthy omega 3s

How To Make Banana Ricotta Bread

This banana bread with ricotta cheese takes a quick 10 minutes to prepare. You will want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit first.

The two bowl method works well for this banana ricotta bread  – one bowl of dry ingredients and one bowl for wet ingredients, then all you need to do is mix!  

Use one bowl to mash the banana and avocado. Once mixed, incorporate the egg and ricotta.

Use another bowl for the dry ingredients. That includes the flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and optional hemp hearts and walnuts.

Then you can mix the wet ingredients to dry ingredients.

That’s it! Now it’s time to let the oven do the work, by baking for 50 – 60 minutes.

Remove the banana bread with ricotta cheese from the oven and allow it to cool before slicing into this comforting dish. Enjoy!

Video Tutorial

Watch how quickly it comes together here (coming soon!)

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel to stay up to date on all my new videos!!

Storage

After the banana ricotta bread is cooked, cover it in an airtight container to lock in moisture.  It can then be left at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Can’t commit? This banana bread with ricotta cheese freezes well too! Heck, make a double batch for a rainy day. If you freeze leftovers, be sure to wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and then in a ziplock bag and it can be frozen for up to 3 months. 

Variations

Experiment with these ingredients, and let me know in the comments if you tried any of these heart healthy recommendations.

  • Add some orange zest or lemon zest
  • Replace walnuts with pecans or macadamia nuts
  • Add flaxseed for more omega 3 benefits
  • Try it with oat flour instead of whole wheat flour or add rolled oats for extra fiber
  • Dried fruit makes it more sweet. Try dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots or dates
  • Other spices to consider are allspice, cardamom, clove, and ginger

You can also make ricotta banana muffins instead of a ricotta banana bread with this recipe, just adjust the time to around 20-25 minutes.

Spend the Weekend Baking with These Recipes

Bored at home during these cold winter months? Then spend some time baking, it always cheers me up and gives my kids something to do! Here are a few of my favorites:

Brownie Baked Oats Breakfast Recipe (It’s Vegan Too!) – The Heart Dietitian

Brown brownie baked oats sprinkled with chocolate chips in a 8 by 8 white dish on a white counter surrounded by a white and blue tea towel and chocolate chips and rolled oats.
Brownie Baked Oats

Homemade Banana Muffins With Lentils – The Heart Dietitian

8 banana muffins with lentils displayed in muffin tins on top of a wood cutting board.
Homemade Banana Muffins With Lentils

Low Cholesterol Muffins With Banana & Chocolate Chips – The Heart Dietitian

An image of low cholesterol muffins with banana and chocolate chips, pictured with white and green muffin liners on a cooling rack.
Low Cholesterol Muffins With Banana & Chocolate Chips

Oat Bran Recipes To Lower Cholesterol – The Heart Dietitian

Oat Bran Recipes to lower cholesterol title page which includes two recipe pictures, one of oat bran chocolate chip muffins and another of oat bran jam bars.
Oat Bran Recipes To Lower Cholesterol

Final Thoughts

Isn’t it such a treat to enjoy a slice of banana bread at your favorite café? Now, imagine having your own heart-healthy version right at home, perfect for a delightful breakfast treat! With this banana ricotta bread, you’ll get all the flavor and satisfaction without missing the butter. Truly a heart healthy dessert.

I’d love to hear how you liked this banana bread with ricotta cheese recipe. If you give it a try, please share how it turned out in the comments below. I love to hear from you and your feedback is always appreciated!

Recipe by Rachel Russel, Nutrition Student. The article was written by Veronica Rouse, MAN, RD, CDE.

An image of Veronica The Heart Dietitian cutting an apple, and an image of a book. The text on the image and book reads "FREE 4 steps to a happy heart without restriction ebook".

Banana ricotta bread sliced on a wooden cutting board, next to a container of ricotta and a banana.

Banana Ricotta Bread

This banana ricotta bread recipe is easy, delicious, and simple to make, offering a perfect breakfast, snack or dessert!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 260 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 loaf pan

Ingredients
  

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 bananas mashed, overripe
  • 1/2 avocado mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese reduced fat, low sodium

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped, optional
  • 1/3 cup hemp hearts optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F(175°C). Line loaf pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mash the banana and avocado with a fork until smooth.
  • Beat in egg and ricotta until well incorporated.
  • In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and optional hemp hearts, and walnuts. Combine well.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Try not to overmix.
  • Transfer batter into loaf pan, ensuring the batter is even in the pan and the top is level.
  • Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes clean.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled. Slice and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 260kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 9gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.002gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 101mgPotassium: 248mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 146IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 80mgIron: 2mg
Keyword banana bread, banana ricotta bread
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