Toasted-Oat Banana Bread

Toasting heart-healthy oats brings out their nutty flavor, underscoring the flavor of the walnuts.

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup walnuts
1 pound very ripe bananas (about 3)
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2 In a small baking pan, toast the oats, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. In another baking pan, toast the walnuts until crisp and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. When the walnuts are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Leave the oven on.
3 In a medium bowl, with a potato masher or fork, mash the bananas. Add the buttermilk, oil, egg whites, vanilla, and brown sugar. Mix well.
4 In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the toasted oats and walnuts. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the banana mixture. Do not overmix.
5 Spoon the batter into the loaf pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out of the pan onto the rack to cool completely.

Makes 10 servings.
Per serving: 276 calories, 6g total fat (0.9g saturated), .9mg cholesterol, 3.3g dietary fiber, 51g carbohydrate, 6g protein, 281mg sodium.