(Mass Appeal) – Now that Spring has sprung, you can take fresh vegetables and create the perfect treat! Ashley Tresoline, the owner of Bella Foodie, shares her recipe for carrot cake banana bread.

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 medium very ripe bananas, mashed (¾ cup mashed banana)
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted and cooled coconut oil (any oil or melted butter/vegan butter will work)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 heaping cup of shredded carrots (about 2 large carrots)
1/3 cup almond or coconut milk
1/3 cup chopped almonds or pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons for topping
Optional add-ins:1/2 cup raisins,1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (reduced fat if you’d like)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together flour, quick oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together mashed banana, coconut sugar, egg, and vanilla until well combined and creamy. Add in applesauce and almond milk, then fold in carrots. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined — DO NOT OVERMIX. Gently fold in melted coconut oil and 1/4 cup of chopped almonds or pistachios, plus the raisins and coconut (if using).

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs attached. Mine took about 55 minutes in an 8×4-inch loaf pan. If you use a 9×5 inch pan, you may need to check the bread at 40 minutes.

Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and place it on a wire rack to finish cooling completely. To make cinnamon cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon together on medium speed for a minute or until smooth. Spread over cooled bread. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped nuts of choice.