Greek Yogurt Banana Nut Bread

A few weeks ago, my husband spotted a mourning dove sitting in the corner of our back patio. The bird was hiding in a shadow behind a planter, standing very still, trying its best to go unnoticed. When we approached the dove startled, but didn’t fly away. We could tell her wing was injured. We watched her, wondering what to do. We’re both animal lovers, and the thought of this little bird in pain broke our hearts. I considered trying to capture her so I could bring her to the vet, but she was very skiddish– each time we got close, she spooked and hobbled away. In the end, we decided to give her food and water, hoping for the best.

We lined up a few planters to give her more protection. We have three parrots, so food wasn’t a problem– I scattered some birdseed near the planters and placed a small dish of water nearby. After making sure she had plenty to eat and drink, we walked inside and spied on her from our kitchen window. Several minutes later, she timidly hobbled over to the dish and sipped the water with her beak. She drank for a long time, then began to peck at the seeds. My heart bloomed, as it always does when I see a child or animal eating. The mother in me loves nothing more than giving nourishment to others.

For the next week we kept a close eye on the dove, feeding her and refilling her water daily. My dog Marley was banned from the back yard, which made him very unhappy, but the last thing an injured dove needs is a big goofy labrador sniffing at it. As the week progressed, other birds discovered that our patio was an endless source of manna. Blue jays and robins made frequent appearances, tucking into the birdseed like they’d won the lottery. Little mourning dove cowered in the corner quietly, waiting for them to steal their share. We always made sure that she had enough. A few times, we saw her stretching her wings and walking around, as though testing her newfound strength. She became more adventurous, toddling out beyond the planters to the edge of the patio.

And then, one morning, she was gone. I panicked, wondering if a coyote had gotten to her. We live in the Hollywood Hills, where any number of creatures might have seen the mourning dove as an easy meal. We searched the entire back yard, but she was nowhere to be found. We hoped that perhaps, by some miracle, her wing had healed and she’d been able to fly away. Maybe we would never know for sure.

Then, a couple of days later, there she was– perched on the back of a patio chair, calm as can be, as though waiting for us to come out and say hello. I didn’t want to get too close and startle her, but I was able to get a picture with my zoom lens. Here she is:

She stayed for a few hours. At one point she hopped to the planter and nestled there, peering down at the corner where she’d spent her recovery. I scattered birdseed and she nibbled at it. Then, as the sun began to set, she flew away. We haven’t see her since.

I believe she came back to say thank you. She knew what we’d done to help her. Such a simple moment, but it reminded me of how every creature in our world is connected. What a gift that we could offer this little bird shelter, nourishment, and ultimately life. It was a blessing.

This story has very little to do with baked goods, but I wanted to share a recipe with you today – Greek Yogurt Banana Nut Bread. I’ve cut most of the butter and added Greek yogurt, applesauce, smashed bananas and nuts to my standard quick bread recipe. The result is a super moist, spongy, low fat banana bread with a terrific texture. It’s a tasty and foolproof quick bread that is lower in calories than traditional banana bread. It’s also terrifically yummy– sweet, but not overly so. If you like your banana bread cake-sweet, add another 1/4 cup of sugar. I like it as written.

If our little mourning dove still lived on our patio, I’d treat her to a few crumbs in with her birdseed.

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Greek Yogurt Banana Bread


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 lb.)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (whole, 2% or nonfat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash of cloves
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • Nonstick cooking oil spray

You will also need

  • Electric mixer, large mixing bowl, medium mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, spatula, 2 medium loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches each)
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
Servings: 16
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Cut the butter into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl along with the sugar and brown sugar. Use an electric mixer to beat together the butter and sugar for a few minutes. Make sure the butter is fully integrated into the sugar and the mixture becomes small, even sized crumbs.
  • Add the eggs and applesauce to the bowl and continue to mix till smooth.
  • In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork till smooth. Add the mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, and vanilla to the bowl. Use a spatula to stir the mixture till smooth.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet to make a thick batter. Don't over mix-- a few lumps are okay.
  • Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  • Grease two loaf pans with nonstick cooking oil spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  • Bake the banana bread for 45-55 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, till the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. If the top of the bread browns faster than it bakes, cover with foil for the remainder of baking time.
  • Let the loaves cool for 10 minutes in their pans, then put them on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Serve warm... with tea, perhaps, or a pat of melty butter. This bread is so comforting, a wonderful baked treat to have on hand for unexpected guests. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil to keep moist; store in the refrigerator if you will be keeping it longer than a few days.

Comments (126)Post a Comment

  1. Lovely story about the bird, dear Shiksa – and the banana loaf looks braw (Scots word for ´really good.´ Now looking in the fruit-bowl for a couple of black bananas, but they seldom last that long. Shabbat shalom to you and yours 😉

  2. This was a hit at my house. I used banana yogurt and almond slivers and had to bake again the next day because they didnt last the night. Since I was out of banana yogurt I used lemon and hid one loaf so I could share it at work. Thanks for the inspiration and the recipe.

  3. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I love your recipe.. We are on weight watchers.. I did not use any butter. I used Chobani pineapple yogurt and 4 oz of strawberry applesauce. Also added some low fat granola this IS wonderful!

  4. I love this recipe. I modify it by making whole grain flour in my Vitamix. I take 1 1/2 cups green wheat kernels, 1/2 cup steel cut oats, 1/2 cup organic long grain rice, and two tablespoons of flaxseed. I am pre-diabetic. I do use the brown sugar but substitute splenda and agave for the white sugar. I also add dried cranberries and raisins. I make one large loaf….still working on my cooking time. I like to serve with cream cheese.

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I love your recipe. So delicious. I was wondering if you could make this as pumpkin bread instead? Take out the bananas and at pumpkin instead?

    1. Hi Christina, I think that you probably could, though I haven’t tested it with this particular recipe. I would substitute 1 lb of pumpkin puree for the bananas. Just be sure you’re using pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.

    1. Judy, I don’t currently offer calorie breakdowns on my recipes. The nutrition calculators available online are not always reliable, and nutrition stats of various ingredients can vary from brand to brand (sodium content, calories, etc.). There are calorie calculators online you can use where you can plug in the specific brands you use. Just Google “calorie calculator” and you should get many results.

  6. Such a sweet story. It’s nice to know there are people in the world who are compassionate. I’ll be looking forward to trying your recipe. Could you substitute vanilla Greek yogurt for a sweeter taste?

  7. I can’t wait to get some unsweetened applesauce, cos I’ve tried so many banana recipes & I’m always trying for a better one! This one I hope will stop my looking! Sure looks & sounds yummy!

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing your story Tori. It must have felt so gratifying to watch the dove fly away.

    I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it. I have a great banana bread recipe with no added sugar, instead it uses rehydrated dates chopped small and the bananas to sweeten the bread. The recipe comes to me from Israel too, I would be happy to share it with you if you would like to see it.

    1. It’s my pleasure, here it is:

      No Sugar Banana Bread
      4 Bananas peeled and mashed
      Heaping 1/2 cup of pitted dates
      1/4 cup melted coconut or canola oil
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/2 tsp cinnamon
      1/4 tsp baking soda
      2 tsp baking powder
      1 3/4 cups flour (Whole wheat, spelt or white)
      Optional extra chopped dates and/or chocolate chips to mix into the batter before baking.

      Directions: Soak the dates in water for at least 4 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Chop the dates and blend with the mashed bananas, vanilla and oil. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Mix in wet (don’t overmix) Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf tin and bake 50-60 minutes.

      This recipe was given to me by Chaya Fish last November in Jerusalem. Enjoy.

  9. thank you for the beautiful story about a beautiful creature…I think he did come back to say thank you and let you know he was ok….you are a very special person…love your receipes as well…must try the banana bread….will be including you in my prayers…

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Thank you for a deliciously moist banana cake – I have been searching high and low for a banana cake that highlights the banana! I just made this today and I haven’t stopped eating it! I did tweak it a little for my likings but nothing major – used all brown sugar, no white. Thank you for sharing and giving me the inspiration to bake a cake.

  11. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Recent retiree. New mission in life: don’t throw good food out. That is not easy to do when you live alone and fresh food expires faster than your single serving appetite. I had a half container of Greek yogurt and two over ripe bananas, both destined to wind up in the garbage. “Borrowed” the third from my neighbor and was happy to give her six big slices, confident she would enjoy this delicious bread as much as I did. My grandmother would approve. She never threw anything out.

  12. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Just made this recipe into muffins- turned out great, baked them for 20 minutes. They are delicious. Thank you:)

  13. To make the recipe more heart healthy, I substituted coconut oil for the butter. Coconut oil is comprised of short and medium chain fats, which are easier for the body to break down. In addition, it adds a bit of tropical flair to the banana bread!

  14. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Nice recipe. I was out of sugar so i used maple syrup instead and added some chocolate chips. Turned out really yummy and super fluffy :) thanks

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This was so delicious– I made it and took it to work to share and I was everyone’s favorite person for the day. :)
    I might have missed it, but is there somewhere I could find the nutritional facts for this?

    1. I’ve never subbed all whole wheat flour here. You might try a 50-50 sub with white and wheat to avoid making the texture overly grainy.

  16. I’m hoping to make this today! Can it be made in a 13×9 pan? If so should I up the temp to 350° ? I know I need to decrease the cook time. Thanks!

  17. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I have been making banana bread for three decades and this is by far the best. Easy to prepare, moist and tasty….I added three tablespoons of olive oil and a half cup of sliced almonds….The loaf was supposed to last through the weekend but never made it past Friday Night…..ummm good

  18. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    We loved this at out house! We made one with a handful of chocolate chips instead of walnuts and it didn’t even last past the morning.

  19. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    If could give it more stars I would, I have to diet and I love baked goods like a junkie likes crack, this is so fantastic, I baked mine for 45 minutes it was spongy &bouncy,super moist.
    Thank you ,thank you.

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