My Chiquita Contest Entry: Open-Faced Toasted Banana Walnut Bread With Pear And Gruyere Cheese

At this point, I’m well aware that I’m somewhat hooked on recipe contests. (Remember that time I tried to enter the Truvia Baking Star contest? And then when I entered the Kellogg’s “Eggo Your Way” recipe contest for a first, second, and third time?) Like I said: I’m hooked.

So it’s no surprise that when I bought Chiquita bananas last week and noticed a promo for a Chiquita recipe contest on that little blue oval sticker that always comes on their bananas, I was immediately intrigued. I went to the contest’s site, and it’s a fun concept. Through November 24, Chiquita is running a weekly contest where they reveal three ingredients each week that entrants must use in the recipe they submit. Each week, those three ingredients change, so it keeps you coming back. The grand prize? $4,000! Not too shabby.

This week’s three ingredients included: Chiquita banana (I have a sneaking suspicion that this ingredient makes the list every week), pear, and cinnamon.

Hmmm…

I thought about different options, including pear crumbles subbing mashed banana for the butter or oil in the recipe, but wanted to try something a bit more out of the box. Obviously pears and cheese work great together, and I’ve had some delicious grilled cheese with pear sandwiches before, but what if you replaced the bread with banana bread?

I wasn’t sure quite how these flavors would work together, but I became so intrigued I just had to give it a try.

Guess what? This sandwich is AMAZING. The flavors complement each other perfectly, the texture works (with the soft bread, melty cheese, and slightly crisp pear), and it’s different enough to be really interesting.

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Are you sold? Give it a try!:

Open-Faced Toasted Banana Walnut Bread With Pear And Gruyere Cheese

Ingredients (for banana bread)

  • 3 ripe Chiquita bananas
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup walnut pieces

Ingredients (for sandwich topping)

Note: These ingredients make a single sandwich. If you’re making multiple sandwiches, adjust accordingly:

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 ripe pear, sliced thinly
  • 1 ounce gruyere cheese, sliced thinly

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Directions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Place peeled bananas in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and mix until bananas are mashed. Mix in sugar and let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Add the applesauce and eggs, and beat well.
  • Beat in the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
  • Gradually beat in flour, mixing thoroughly.
  • Stir in walnut pieces.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  • Let bread cool completely.

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  • Once bread is completely cool, cut into 1.5-inch thick slices.
  • Top bread with slices of cheese.
  • Toss sliced pears in lemon juice, then add pears on top of the cheese.
  • Place sandwich in toaster oven or regular oven and broil until cheese is slightly melted.
  • Enjoy!

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