The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Almond orchard in blossom

I decided to take the long way home yesterday, after a cancelled appointment left a large window of free time between my weekend snowshoeing in Lassen and my return to the city. I never regret taking the long way if it involves driving through National Forests, along river roads and migratory bird flyways and grand swaths of California orchards in full bursts of bright white blossom.


It was almost heartbreaking in its calm evening perfection: the sky a wash of deep pinks and soft blues, reflected like liquid rosy gold in the meandering Sacramento river, a huge, soft spring moon coming up over the hills, and the washed-out colors of valley agriculture, of grains and fields, glowing at dusk. It just makes my heart swell. Makes me have so much love for this crazy, glorious, bountiful, complex state.

Orchard at dusk

I find that I need these moments so much more now than ever before – they’re an antidote to the mental focus required in the making of this cookbook. But let me make clear: I am really and truly and deeply loving the work of the cookbook. It’s just that I don’t think that I have ever taken on something that requires so much strategizing and orchestration, so much mental acuity. It is daunting, sometimes overwhelming. So I go to the woods and do things that force all of my focus very intensely into the present: snowshoeing, rock climbing. Or I go to the yoga mat. Or I drive along empty farm roads at dusk. These things fill me up and have never felt more necessary or dear.

Roasted Bananas with Cacao Nibs + Pistachios


A couple weeks ago I started to crave this funny roasted banana dish that I remembered from childhood. It’s comforting, perhaps because of the memory of it coming out of the broiler as a kid, though my dad has no recollection of it, and I don’t know where it came from or why we ended up roasting bananas at all. I think that our dad was trying to cleverly trick us into eating a healthy dessert. No matter, really. I fancied it up with cocoa nibs and pistachios, giving it just the right balance of rich, creamy banana flavor and sharp, bittersweet crunch. Perhaps it’s a little like a deconstructed sundae?


Serves 2

2 ripe, firm bananas
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
Generous pinch cardamom
Generous pinch cinnamon
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lightly grease a baking pan. Slice bananas in half lengthwise.

When the oven is hot, roast the bananas for about 12-15 minutes.

While the bananas roast, whisk together the yogurt, honey, cardamom and cinnamon with a fork until blended.

To serve, divide half the yogurt between two plates, dolloping in the middle of the plate. Place two banana halves over the yogurt, and sprinkle with half the pistachios and half the cacao nibs over each. Sprinkle with a little coarse salt if desired.

  • Heather - Simple and perfect dessert.ReplyCancel

  • Kristen - Beautiful photos! I love grilled bananas as well.ReplyCancel

  • ileana - Never thought to roast a banana, but this looks like a great idea. :)ReplyCancel

  • Mimi - This looks absolutely wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - Bananas have never looked so good. Seriously, this is perfect, in so many ways.ReplyCancel

  • sara - I am not much for bananas on their own, but I do like them in baked things or warm desserts of sorts. This looks like a perfectly virtuous treat – the kind I am needing lately. Proud of you for recognizing that you need time outside and away, and giving that to yourself. Hope there is lots more of it. hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi - beautiful!! i love the idea of cacao nibs with the banana and yogurt and nuts :)ReplyCancel

  • Sonja - This looks gorgeous! We just did something similar, but cut the bananas into pieces and topped with toasted coconut. I love the look of the whole bananas though! We’ll have to try your take!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - I love this post. I almost feel the lush fields and clear California sunlight from here. I used to make an Indian-inspired roasted banana dish, but I remember it being complicated. Your simple take seems just right, and really delicious.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - I’m totally captivated by the light in these pictures; simply stunning.ReplyCancel

  • Deb - This is about to be my breakfast, with a Turkish coffee for more of a cardamom (and caffeine) kick. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey - beautiful photos. i love how everything about this is so simple, photos included. love it.ReplyCancel

  • Sasha - I’m eating this right now (minus the pistachios as my pantry doesn’t have any at this moment): brilliant. Already I know that I’m hooked.

    I think that Marion Cunningham was right when she said that bananas taste even more like bananas when they are roasted.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - Love the photos from your long way home. They remind me that spring is indeed just around the corner, but they also remind me to take the long way home every once and a while. I’ve been craving roasted bananas lately too so I will have to try this soon :)ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I love how simple this is! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - I love the idea of combining crunchy pistachios and cacao nibs with melting-crispy-caramelized banana. I might even try it for breakfast!ReplyCancel

  • Milli @Milliskitchen - Such a pretty dessert! I miss bbq bananas but have never thought to just pop them in the oven to roast, must do this, looks delish.ReplyCancel

  • shelley - totally doing this!

    + totally down with the breakfast-as-dessert / dessert-as-breakfast vibe going on in the comments! bessert will duly be added to my regular breakfast hybrid meal roster, which already includes bupper + bunch (aka brunch — it’s just funnier without the r).

    p.s., were it not for Greek yogurt, i could go paleo.
    but there IS GY. therefore, i will NEVER be paleo.
    thank you for expanding my GY repertoire!ReplyCancel

  • SG - K! You inspire me so much! Your way with words, images and food are extraordinary!

  • Shannon McGrail - LOVED this dessert and plan to make it often. I added a little curry and harissa which was tasty and exchanged the yogurt for sour cream. So worth eating!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - That evening light is so beautiful, Kimberley. So much calm and awe in those photos. California seriously! My envy is strong on that one, even with all of its complexity. Glad that you’re finding some still moments (with roasted bananas yes!) to re-gather while you’re working on the book, lady. So very excited for it.ReplyCancel

  • Lynn - This might also be tasty with very ripe plantains.ReplyCancel

  • lately | punctuated with food - […] Roasted bananas with cacao nibs and pistachios from The Year in Food. This sounds like an easy way to quench a sweet tooth without feeling weighed down. […]ReplyCancel

  • alyssa @ cogs and cupcakes - The contrasting textures of this dessert are just fantastic! Beautiful and so unique!ReplyCancel

  • Sally - I’ve recently been obsessed with Greek yogurt and this recipe is perfect. Would you recommend whole Greek yogurt for this recipe? Or will low-fat Greek yogurt work the same? The cocoa nibs are an interesting addition. Yummy!ReplyCancel

  • Lovefoodies - This is such a lovely, simple dessert. I love bananas, love pistachios, love yoghurt! I’ve never come across cacao nibs before, just had a quick look on google. Do you think I could swap those for something else? Or may be I have to settle for a sprinkling of cocoa powder instead of the nibs? I’m guessing the texture won’t be completely lost as long as there are pistachios in there.
    Lovely recipe and I love your photos of the blossoms too!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie Webb - Oh my goodness, that looks delicious. Our Baby Bear would love it so much. Even though she’s only 4, she can eat a whole banana in about 3 bites, that little chipmunk.

    On the cookbook note, first, congratulations! Such a big undertaking, but I know it will be worth it. Funny timing, reading this post, because just this morning I started to strategize on how to put together a book of my own. Such a big job, and it’s already stressing me out even though I have only started to put together an outline, but I am also so excited. Let’s hope the inspiration keeps up!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryne - This post is just lovely all around, Kimberley. I’d like to take a long drive through California someday, along the ocean and through some back roads. So glad to hear that you’re enjoying the cookbook process—I can only imagine how much organization and focus that would require. Can’t wait to see the finished product.ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ - I could have this whole day — for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks! Yummmmmm!!!ReplyCancel

  • erin @ yummy supper - Kimberley,
    I’m with you.. nature is such a salve. Especially our wonderful varied California landscapes – they always work wonders for me. And yes the book focus is intense, isn’t it? I realize I’m always mulling it over. Cannot wait to see your creation in print!

  • Rachel @foodrefuge - This looks so simple and delicious. Love the photos too (…all your photos!). So pretty.ReplyCancel

  • Juliann DOwns - Put that on top of french toast!ReplyCancel

  • Edward - I know what you mean. It is hard for me to take the long way home since I work till late at night. Sometimes on a day of I just take my car and start driving on roads I have never been. I love doing this. Here we have a lot of Amish farms and seeing them with horses working in the field make me feel so humble.
    I like the pics you take.
    What camera and lenses do you use?
    I am a Nikon fan.

  • Hayley Humphrey - Hi. This is similar to a brekky I’ve been enjoying recently. I add an organic nut paste of almond, brazil and cashew prior to dolloping the organic Swiss yogurt and top with goji berries…. Just for some more ideas. Cheers.ReplyCancel

  • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats - In Brazil as a dessert bananas are often served roasted in a caramel-y cinnamon-y glaze. This reminds me of a more sophisticated version of that.ReplyCancel

  • Anika - I’ve tried roasted bananas on a BBQ with chocolate flakes which I loved, so will give this one a go. Any ideas on using pistachios in other dishes? Pistachios are my favourite nuts but I use them in cooking, only to snack onReplyCancel

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