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Healthy Ricotta Quick Bread with Creamy Cheese Spread

14/01/2015 14:56 GMT | Updated 15/03/2015 09:59 GMT

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Quick breads are a type of bread made with a leavening agent such as baking powder or baking soda that permits immediate baking of the dough or batter mixture. 

Quick breads are yeast-free and expand during baking, hence the term "quick breads"!

Healthy quick breads are so easy to bake and are crowd-pleasers when you're hosting a last minute social gathering. The batter can also be used for mini or regular muffins and mini loaves, which make wonderful hostess gifts.

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I concocted this quick bread for a group of American Heart Association committee members and everyone asked for the recipe - so here it is!

Ricotta Quick bread 

Ingredients (use organic when available):

  • 1 cup whole-wheat graham flour (Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon apple spice blend (or 1/8th teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8th teaspoon ground cloves)
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup natural applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Creamy Cheese Spread 

  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon apricot fruit spread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 190 degrees Celsius. Spray a shallow 8-inch square baking pan (20 cm x 20 cm x 4 cm) or any size baking pan that holds 6 cups with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first seven ingredients (dry ingredients) and set aside.

In a blender slowly combine ricotta, banana, applesauce and vanilla. Add eggs to ricotta cheese mixture just to combine. Don't over-mix!

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and don't over-mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, checking for doneness. Let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen and un-mold.

This quick bread freezes well. Serves 12.

In the meantime to prepare the creamy cheese spread: Thoroughly clean out the blender bowl, then add the 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and 1 tablespoon fruit spread and blend on low just to whip and combine. Serve with the quick bread.

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Nutrition Facts per serving of ricotta quick bread without cheese spread (79 grams): 153 calories, 3 grams fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 241 mg sodium, 27.5 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 5.5 grams protein.

Nutrition Facts per serving of cheese spread (19 grams): 21 calories, 0.8 grams fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 13 mg sodium, 13 mg potassium, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1.2 grams protein. 

For more healthy recipes and a diet geared towards optimal health and weight loss without deprivation, pick up a copy of Layne's book: Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy. 

Bon Appétit!