You already eat bananas as a snack and toss them into smoothies, of course—but this potassium-loaded, fiber-rich fruit can do so much more. Here are three creative ideas, straight from our food director's kitchen.

Grain-Free Banana Pancakes

Have you gone gluten-free, or are you reducing the amount of grains in your diet? Doesn’t mean you have to give up enjoying pancakes for breakfast. Try these this weekend (double or triple the recipe if you’re feeding a crowd):

Yield: 4 pancakes

1 ripe banana
1 large egg
Generous pinch of salt
3 Tbsp. almond meal
¼ tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
Coconut oil (for cooking)

In a bowl, mash banana well with a fork. Add egg, salt, almond meal and vanilla, if using and stir with fork until well combined. Melt a generous amount of coconut oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in batter (use about 3 Tbsp. batter for each pancake), spacing well in skillet. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Note: These can be tricky to flip, so resist the urge to try until the pancakes are firm on the bottom.

If cooking in batches, keep cooked pancakes warm on a plate in a 200ºF oven until all pancakes are cooked. Serve hot, with yogurt and berries or a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.

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Chocolate Banana “N’ice Cream”

Photo: Beth Lipton

Dairy- and refined sugar-free! This is a great treat for anyone, but especially if you're lactose-intolerant.

Serves: 1

½ cup dairy free milk of choice (I used homemade cashew milk)
1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen
3 to 4 Tbsp. raw cacao
Generous pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth and very thick. Thin with more nut milk, if needed. Transfer to a bowl and freeze.

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Roasted Bananas

Photo: Beth Lipton

Yep, you can roast bananas. This recipe makes for a sweet, spiced, and wholesome treat for breakfast or dessert.

Serves: 2 to 4

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (preferably grass-fed, such as Kerrygold)
2 bananas, thickly sliced on a bias
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 to 3 tsp. raw honey
1/8 to ¼ tsp. cinnamon
1/8 to ¼ tsp. ground ginger

Preheat oven to 400ºF. While oven is heating, place butter in an 8-inch square pan, place in oven and allow it to melt. (Watch carefully; you don’t want butter to brown.) Remove baking dish from oven. Place bananas in pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with lemon juice, then salt. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon and ginger. Roast until bananas are soft and lightly darkened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a bowl, let cool, then cover and refrigerate. Serve with plain yogurt, over oatmeal or chia pudding, or simply topped with chopped nuts or granola.

Want to know more about bananas? Read up on their surprising history and get more deets about their abundant health benefits.

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