Bake Healthy, Hearty Quick Breads With These Recipes

Bread baking doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Opting to make quick breads, which are yeast-free, allows you to forego kneading and waiting for your dough to rise, thus shaving hours off your time spent in the kitchen. Crafty Baking notes quick breads first came to be after baking powder was introduced in 1850. Basic ingredients in most quick bread recipes include flour, liquids, salt, a leavening agent — often baking powder or soda — and added fat, such as butter, vegetable oil, eggs, and sugar. You’ll notice that these quick breads, however, require very few unhealthy, fat-filled ingredients, opting instead for more nutritious fillers, such as yogurt, flaxseed, fruits, and seeds.

It’s important to note that the “quick” part of quick breads doesn’t just refer to their coming together quickly. Crafty Baking notes that they must be baked immediately after being mixed. As soon as their batter is formed, baking soda and powder begin releasing carbon dioxide bubbles, which, along with air and steam produced during baking, leaven the recipe. Ready to begin whipping up healthy quick breads? Read on to discover 5 recipes.

1. Oatmeal Whole-Wheat Quick Bread

Oatmeal whole wheat quick bread

Oatmeal whole wheat quick bread | iStock.com

It only takes 7 ingredients to make Allrecipes.com’s oatmeal whole-wheat quick bread, 3 of which — oats, whole-wheat flour, and honey — are packed with health benefits. The Guardian notes that oats contain beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that slows down the absorption of carbs into the bloodstream. Slower digestion keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking too much, which helps prevent your body from storing your food as fat. In addition, oats are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that helps prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup milk

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a food process or blender, grind oatmeal. Combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a different bowl, dissolve honey in vegetable oil, then stir in the milk. Combine the mixtures, stirring until a soft dough is formed. Form the dough into a ball and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

2. Peanut Butter Banana Bread

quick breads

Peanut butter banana bread | iStock.com

Classic banana bread is given a makeover in Cooking Light’s recipe. Peanut butter gives this dish depth, and a smattering of dry-roasted peanuts add a satisfying crunch. This delicious and nutritious bread isn’t ready to be served until it’s covered in a creamy peanut butter glaze, which provides it with the perfect finish. It yields 16 servings; each contains 198 calories, 7.4 grams of fat, and 4.7 grams of protein.

Care2 notes peanut butter helps control your hunger without leading to weight gain, can lower your risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, protects against Alzheimer’s disease, and is packed with protein and potassium.

Ingredients:

Bread
  • 1½ cups mashed ripe banana
  • ⅓ cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 6¾ ounces all-purpose flour (about 1½ cups)
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Cooking spray
Glaze
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine first 5 bread ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add sugars; beat until blended. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients  in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts.

Pour batter into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool. To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

3. Pear-Hazelnut Quick Bread

pear-hazelnut quick bread

Pear-hazelnut quick bread | iStock.com

Toasted hazelnuts and pears are a match made in heaven in Eating Well’s quick bread recipe. To toast your hazelnuts, spread onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute it with 1 tablespoon lemon juice mixed into 1 cup of milk. The recipe yields 12 servings; each contains 223 calories, 8 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.

SFGate writes pears are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. One medium-size pear contains 5.5 grams of fiber, 212 milligrams of potassium, and 7.5 milligrams of vitamin C.

Ingredients:

  • Quick bread dry mix
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups diced peeled pears
  • ½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts, plus more for topping if desired

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for muffins, mini loaves, and mini bundts, or 375 degrees Fahrenheit for a large loaf. Cover pans with cooking spray. Prepare quick bread dry mix, adding allspice to it. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, butter, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined. Add pears and hazelnuts. Stir just to combine.

Transfer batter to the prepared pans. If desired, top with additional hazelnuts. Bake until golden brown. A wooden skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. For muffins or mini bundts, it will take 22 to 25 minutes; for mini loaves, it should take about 35 minutes, and for a large loaf, it should take 70 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let muffins and mini Bundts cool for 5 minutes more, mini loaves for 30 minutes more, and large loaves for 40 minutes more.

4. Carrot and Spice Quick Bread

carrot and spice quick bread

Carrot and spice quick bread | iStock.com

Both your tastebuds and waistline will love the Mayo Clinic’s carrot and spice quick bread. Fruits, such as oranges and raisins, sweeten this bread, while carrots give it an excellent texture and a hearty serving of vitamin A. The recipe, which yields 17 servings, also contains whole-wheat flour, walnuts, and wonderfully warm spices.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅓ cup trans fat-free margarine, softened to room temperature
  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons, firmly packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened orange juice
  • 2 egg whites, or egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1½ cups shredded carrots
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped walnuts

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 2.5-by-4.5-by-8.5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine first 6 dry ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cream margarine and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in milk, orange juice, egg, vanilla, and orange rind. Stir in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Add reserved dry ingredients. Mix well. Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

5. Blueberry Oatmeal Bread

blueberry oatmeal bread

Blueberry oatmeal bread | iStock.com

Bluberries, oats, yogurt, wheat germ, and whole-wheat flour make The Lemon Bowl’s recipe, which was adapted from The Frugal Girl, a nutritious option. With 1 serving containing 194 calories and 6.7 grams of fat, this good-for-you quick bread works well for breakfast, as a snack, or even as a healthy dessert. Health explains that blueberries’ anthocyanins attack cancer-causing free radicals and can even block the growth of tumor cells. In addition, their antioxidants and flavonoids can help reverse age-related memory loss.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour or white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats, old-fashioned or quick cooking
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups low-fat plain yogurt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a bread pan with nonstick spray or butter. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Beat together yogurt, oil, vanilla, and eggs over medium speed. Slowly add dry ingredients until just combined, then remove from mixer. Carefully fold in the blueberries, and pour batter into the bread pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before serving.