Having a bowl of overripe bananas is baking’s version of a choose your own adventure novel. You can transform those babies into chocolate chip banana cookies, banana bread, or—Fermenting Made Simple author Emilie Parrish’s favorite—healthy banana pudding.
If you’re looking for a dessert that tastes delicious and delivers brain-nourishing vitamins, this recipe was made just for you. Parrish’s take on the classic banana dessert (which has reportedly been enjoyed since the 1800s) requires only three ingredients that you probably already have on hand, TBH.
All you need to whip up this simple dessert? Bananas, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Of course, a dollop of whipped cream never hurt either—so make sure you have that on hand, too. That’s literally it. Apart from being really easy, this recipe has a *lot* to offer nutritionally speaking.
Enjoyed together, bananas and peanut butter contain so many of the vitamins neuroscientist Sonja K. Billes, PhD, recommends for peak brain health. Namely, electrolytes, B vitamins, fiber, and protein.
In case you didn’t know, potassium is a type of electrolyte that helps your nerves function properly, regulates the water levels in your body, and offsets the effects of sodium. A single serving of this pudding contains about 122 milligrams of potassium. (The US Department of Agriculture, or USDA, recommends consuming about 4,700 milligrams per day—and this pudding is a good first step towards hitting this goal.)
Bananas are also bursting with B vitamins. “B vitamins are crucial to brain health,” says registered dietitian Mary Kate Keyes, RDN, director of nutrition and wellness for MindFirst Health and Fitness. “Several of these vitamins love passing around molecules called one-carbon units, which are important in a lot of cellular activities, especially in the brain. There have been several studies linking low B-vitamin status to cognitive decline associated with aging.”
Don’t worry, the peanut butter has its own brain health accolades. It contains both protein (about seven grams per serving) and fiber (about two grams). Proteins serve up essential amino acids that help the brain function at its peak, while fiber has its own to-do list.
“Humans can’t digest fiber, and because of this, it passes through our digestive tract untouched. This means that by the time it gets to our lower intestines where a lot of healthy bacteria live, we’ve delivered these bacteria a delicious feast,” explains Keyes. A growing body of evidence also shows that feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut microbiome directly betters human cognition—this is often referred to as the gut-brain connection.
Now that you’re fully educated on the benefits of this healthy banana pudding recipe, just enjoy it. It’ll be ready in about three seconds flat.
Fermenting for Foodies’ healthy peanut butter and banana pudding recipe
2 ripe bananas, fully mashed
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of whipping cream or coconut cream
1. Beat the mashed bananas together with the peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth. This is easiest to do with a food processor or an immersion blender.
2. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.
3. Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter and banana mixture.
4. Spoon into individual serving dishes and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
The perfect vegan whipped cream, coming right up:
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