Recipe Project #165: Okara Banana Bread

Some time last year, Mr. Husband started making homemade tofu. One of the byproducts is okara, which Wikipedia describes thusly:

Okara or Soy Pulp is a pulp consisting of insoluble parts of the soybean which remains after pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk and tofu. It is generally white or yellowish in color. It is part of the traditional cuisines of Japan, Korea, and China, and since the 20th century has also been used in the vegetarian cuisines of Western nations.

Okara is the oldest of three basic types of soy fiber. The other two are soy bran (finely ground soybean hulls), and soy cotyledon/isolate fiber (the fiber that remains after making isolated soy protein, also called “soy protein isolate”).

It’s very tasty when it’s simply toasted until it’s dark brown and sprinkled on while rice, but okara tends to pile up when you’re making tofu every week or two. I was too buried in my book manuscript to do much research on what to do with it and was consequently tempted to just haul it out to the compost, but Mr. Husband poked around on the Internet until he found quite a few interesting things to do with it. One of them is this banana bread from The 350 Degree Oven. It’s an astounding banana bread that has replaced the Prudhomme recipe I’ve been making for about 25 years. (The post I linked also includes a recipe for okara meatloaf that is mighty fine. See the post for visual instructions.)

2 c. mashed banana (about 4 bananas)
2/3 c. okara (wet)
2 c. sugar
1 c. canola oil
4 eggs
6 T. sour cream (or plain yogurt)
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray 2 large loaf pans (or 6 small ones) with nonstick spray. Mash the bananas and mix in the okara. (Your okara should be wet – but not overly wet – basically the same moistness that you have once the soy mixture is squeezed to release the milk in soy milk making.)
  2. Add the sugar, oil, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla to the banana mixture and mix well.
  3. Sift the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until just combined – do not over-mix.
  5. Pour into the prepared pans and bake 1 hour for the large loaves, 30 minutes for the small loaves. Cool in the loaf pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
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