I absolutely LOVE banana bread, but so often it’s as sweet as a cake and too oily. That’s good for special occasions, but for weekday mornings, I want a slice that feels mostly wholesome. While coming up with a loaf that had classic banana bread flavor for my cookbook, Healthyish, I settled on a balance of less sugar than normal whole-wheat flour, and two kinds of seeds for more fiber, and a pretty seeded crust.
Oil and flour a 8 1⁄2 by 4 1⁄2-inch (22 by 12-cm) baking pan and set aside.
Mix together 2 teaspoons each of the poppy and sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1⁄4 cup each of the poppy and sesame seeds, the baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the banana, eggs, oil, the remaining 2⁄3 cup (135 g) sugar, and the vanilla. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the pecans or walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the reserved poppy-sesame-sugar mixture evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn onto a rack to cool completely. If you feel comfortable, carefully invert the loaf over the sink to catch any loose seeds and sugar.
The loaf will keep at room temperature, well wrapped, for 3 days. To freeze the loaf, cut it into 3⁄4-inch-thick (2 cm) slices. Put in a zip-top bag with a piece of parchment paper between each slice.