Bananas and coffee for dinner? Oh my!

The Chubby Vegan Clan has returned from their fabulous beachy vacation. Don't tell anyone but we're actually still trying to catch up on all the sleep we lost during our 5 p.m.-5 a.m. commute. Trust me, with an incredibly busy and bounce 17-month-old we didn't want to risk driving during too much daylight, it would be a recipe for disaster.

What wasn't a recipe for disaster, however, was our attempt at tackling the second VeganMofo Iron Chef Challenge. While I was busy dreaming up heavenly desserts and scrumptious breakfast ideas, my bubble was quickly burst when I realized this is Week 3 of VeganMofo, which means I'm featuring dinner (aka NOT dessert and NOT breakfast). 

How the heck could you eat bananas and coffee for dinner?
Thank Heavens for that 12-hour drive to figure it out and my husbands idea for a killer coffee barbecue sauce! 

Coffee BBQ baked banana polenta with carrot mash
(Serves 6)
Polenta ingredients: 
2 cups water
1 cup almond milk
1/2 stick vegan butter
1 ripe banana
1 cup corn grits
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt

Carrot mash ingredients:
1/2 pound baby carrots (we used fresh but frozen would work)
8-10 large yukon gold potatoes 
1 sweet onion
1/2 stick butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 TBS minced garlic

Coffee barbecue sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup spicy brown mustard
1 TBS vegan steak sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp blackened seasoning
1/4 tsp hot sauce (we used chipotle Tabasco)
1 TBS coffee extract

Dice carrots and potatoes and boil (together) in a large pot for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, either use a hand masher to mash them together (if you like them chunky) or throw them in your favorite food processor to form an even blend. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel one ripe banana and smash with a hand masher until gooey and chunk-free.
In a medium saucepan, boil two cups water, one cup almond milk and 1/2 stick butter. Add mashed banana, corn grits, corn meal and salt. Reduce heat to low and stir for five minutes. Let sit for five minutes. 
Grease a casserole dish (I used a glass 9x9) and spread polenta mix evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm on the outside. Cut into six slices. 
In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce (in no particular order). 
To plate, spoon a layer of carrot mash, followed by a slice of baked banana polenta. Drizzle or (pour) coffee barbecue sauce on top.

Side note: If you've been buying barbecue sauce, stop, now. It's SO easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, PLUS you can make your own variation by swapping out steak sauce for other sauces, like teriyaki or buffalo). If you don't have molasses on hand, buy some to keep in your pantry, it's not just great for sauces, but pies and cookies.


  1. I'm really curious about this one. I'm also really happy to see a savory recipe for this challenge. I'm putting it on my "must-make" list.

  2. We were a bit nervous, but it was surprisingly good. Plus the corn grits are kind of sweet anyway, so the banana kind of complimented it. The barbecue sauce was a TOTAL win though! We're going to make our own from now on!

  3. Kudos to you for a successful savory dish! My brain just wasn't going there, despite me telling it to. I'm going to give it a shot, because it looks like fun!

  4. You are an inspiration to us all! Bananas and coffee for dinner, wow...this is one of the most creative and original recipes I've seen this MoFo. Way to go!