A Plate Full of Veggies: Baked Bananas with Garlic Citrus Caramel Sauce

Light spring meals deserve light desserts and this dish fits the bill nicely. Watch the bananas carefully so that they are tender yet not soggy. SERVES 4

• 2 bananas
• 4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
• 1/4 cup Garlic Citrus Caramel Sauce (below)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Peel and slice bananas lengthwise and arrange, cut sides up, in oiled dish. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Bake 15 minutes or until bananas are soft.

3. Place bananas on dessert plates and drizzle with Garlic Citrus Caramel Sauce.

Garlic Citrus Caramel Sauce

Lightly spiked with orange, this sauce is actually mild-tasting, virtually odorless and surprisingly versatile. Because it isn’t overpoweringly sweet, it can be used as a glaze for poached fish or chicken. In desserts, drizzle it over yogurt or ice cream or to add a finishing touch to pies and cakes. A small amount goes a long way, but for more of a good thing, double all of the ingredients except the garlic. MAKES 1/4 CUP

• 6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 
• 1/4 cup sugar 
• 2 tablespoons water 
• 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 
• 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine garlic, sugar and water. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust the heat to keep the mixture boiling and boil for 7 minutes, without stirring. Swirl the pan occasionally to move the garlic pieces around, but otherwise do not disturb the boiling sauce. Sauce should be light amber color.

2. Remove pan from heat and gradually stir in orange juice. Return to medium heat, mash the garlic bits with the back of a wooden spoon and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thick and syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup. Strain sauce or serve with the bits of caramelized garlic. Stir in zest.

Author of 12 cookbooks including her latest, Everyday Flexitarian (Whitecap Books, 2011), Pat Crocker is a culinary herbalist and green cook.

Click here for the main article, A Plate Full of Veggies.

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