Please note: Feeding Little Tummies is now out of print, libraries around New Zealand still have copies in their catalogue.

Cashew Banana Chew

This is in the 9-12 month section of my book as a wholesome nutrient-packed finger food. Teo, my 10 month old, can't get through a day without a slice or two. He holds it in his hot little hand and sucks, chews, gnaws, basically devours it in a way only a baby can. The recipe contains no sugar, is packed full of fruit, and the cashews provide protein and essential fatty acids for a babies developing brain. These can also be frozen as a welcome treat for a teething baby.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest optional
  • 4 tablespoon neutral oil i.e. grapeseed oil or 50 g melted butter
  • Few drops of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup small rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 small apple grated
  • 1 free-range egg or; 2 teaspoons ground flax seeds mixed with 2 tablespoons water


  • Pre-heat the oven to 180•C. Line a 25 cm square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Place the cashews in a food processor and grind. Add the bananas, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil or butter, and vanilla. Blitz to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse to fold together. Pour into the prepared tin and spread out evenly. Bake for 20 minutes until golden on top and firm to touch. Cool in the tin and cut into squares or fingers. These will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Variation: use other nuts – almond, brazil, macadamia, walnut - in place of cashews.

Anyone who writes a book generally has a reason… a purpose behind the book. This may be to entertain, educate, inspire… In my case it was to write a recipe book that encouraged (and inspired) parents and caregivers to feed their children fresh healthy food right from the start. To create a resource, as such, with delicious recipes and bite-sized morsels of nutrition information.

However, through the journey of writing a book… the purpose can become a little hazy and the process takes over (it is a mammoth task!). Researching and writing; creating, cooking and testing the recipes. Then edit, edit and edit some more to finally end up with a proof to edit again(!).  Finally the book is in your hands and there is the rush of the book release – interviews, radio, even some television – and then this all dies down as fast as it begun and you have a book…


I had a little reminder this week via email which made me sit back and humbly smile to myself. Yes, I have achieved my purpose with writing this book…

“Nicola, I wanted to let you know how wonderful I think your book is!  I got your book out of the library when my son Leo (13 months) was starting solids.  It was far and away the most useful resource I had for so many reasons.  Firstly, I really identified with the healthy food message in the book.  I still follow many of your guides for Leo and know that it has contributed to him being such a healthy, happy and food-loving boy.  Secondly, it was so nice to have a book that was relevant for us here in New Zealand and that loosely followed Plunket guidelines without conflict.  Finally, it’s such an easy to use cookbook that has a great balance of nutritional information and fantastic, healthy, family friendly recipes.  At Leo’s first birthday party most of the food was made from your book and everyone (all 80-odd of them!) loved it.”

Thank-you Serica, your kind words really made my week, my month, possibly my year! Although I do regularly get feedback from others cooking from my book it is always a welcome surprise especially when it comes from someone I have never met.


So this week I am sharing one of our families’ favourite recipes from Feeding Little Tummies. We cook from my book regularly and when we do I ask Mika to go get ‘Mummies’ book and she always opens it to the page of me cuddling her in the foreword. (She must think all her friends have a book with their Mummy in it). This Cashew Banana Chew recipe has been cooked so often the book simply falls open to the page by itself (although I do know the recipe by heart).

UPDATE: Feeding Little Tummies is now out of print (July 2015).





Join the Conversation

  1. Megan Lancaster says:

    I love this banana cashew recipe, it was one of the first finger foods I used to give my son as a treat, and pack for him to dadycare. He loved it!! I love all snack foods which combine nuts, dried fruits and without refined sugar, I usually grind up a mix of dates, almonds, chia, linseeds with a little OJ to make energy balls. Heaps of variety with these. Also organic blueberries……can’t wait till I see some in store!

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Great to here Megan. Yes bring on the blueberries!

      1. Such a great recipe! Yum! We are a household with teenage boys and we all love them – very addictive. I particularly love that there is no added sweetener. Thankyou 🙂 Do you have more recipes like this?

        1. Hi Silvana, my chewy apricot muesli bars are sweetened with dried fruit and no sugar. Here is the link:

  2. Favourite, that is hard. Probably a wee handful of crackers as we fly out the door!!

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Yes, crackers are always in our snack box 🙂

  3. Sheila Johnson says:

    The snacks that I use are a pot of chopped fruits and a packet of raisins. If I have any left then a few home made cheese sticks.

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks Sheila, great to see some protein in there too.

  4. Ours is your chewy apricot Muesli Bars, we keep them in the fridge and are great for on the go (keeps my little one quiet in the car!)

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks Lucy, that is our second favourite after the cashew banana chew. Well actually sometimes our fav depending on the day 🙂

      1. Anna Hotter says:

        Definitely your chocolate fudge truffles best part is they are truly guilt free

        1. Nicola Author says:

          Yum! I haven’t made a batch for awhile but might just have too. Enjoy 🙂

  5. Gillian Rose says:

    When my boys were little I cut up fruit and veges into shapes for them to snack on – sometimes even putting them on toothpicks. More work, but it significantly increased their desirability.

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Thanks Gillian, yes it is so often about the presentation for little ones 🙂 Or location, we are heading out to the garden a lot for a picnic at present.

  6. Yum! Love this cashew chew recipe. We must get your inspiring book out of the library again and try more of your yummy recipes.

    1. Nicola Author says:

      HI Heather, thanks for stopping by. The chewy apricot muesli bars are also a goodie.

  7. At the moment, cherries. I give my 11 month old a bowl of pitted ones today and he ran off and hid with them! Otherwise he can’t go past vintage Mainland cheese and sultanas.

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Mmm, cherries. We have an icecream container of them in the fridge from pick your own in Blenheim (thanks to my Dad). They are sooo good and the kids love them – of-course.

  8. Hi Nicola
    I have to eat FODMAP friendly foods as I have IBS and have developed intolerances to most FODMAPs. Which means I can’t eat the apple in the Cashew Banana Chew recipe. Can you suggest an alternative? I can’t eat any stone fruit or pears/apples or dried fruit (too high in fructose, and polyols for the fresh fruit). Was thinking pineapple instead? or otherwise should I increase the banana content?

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Hi Julie, thanks for the question. I have made this without grated apple when I don’t have them on hand and either increase the banana content or just leave it out altogether if the bananas were big ones and the texture of the mix is wet enough – basically it needs to be spreadable. I think pineapple would be a nice addition too, about 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped nice and small. Let me know how you go.

  9. Muesli bars are our go to for a snack, but I have to admit that these are usually store bought. I’d love to give this recipe a try though. It sounds delicious and something that my nearly three year old can have and my little one is nearly old enough to give these a go too. I will be checking your book out, as it sounds like its full of yummy recipes!

    1. Nicola Author says:

      Hi Janine. I hope you enjoy the chews. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  10. Could I omit or substitute the coconut ?? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Izabella, you could substitute with more oats or ground nuts.

  11. Hi Nicola – here i am about to make a batch up of cashew banana chew and it always makes me giggle as its in the 9-12 month section…. my girls almost fit into that category but in years now… and they still love this recipe as do i – the only problem is that because we all love it really doesn’t last that long before i have to make another lot. This recipe now fits for in the ‘an oldie but a goodie’ category!! thanks for all your inspiration 🙂

  12. Hi, I have a wee boy that can’t eat banana, is there anything else I could substitute them with so that he could enjoy these too?

    1. Hi Tamsyn, yes you can use 1/2 cup pureed apple or pear. Hope that helps 🙂

  13. Hi Nicola, what do you recommend to replace the oats to make it grain free? Maybe more nut meal & additional egg to bind?

    1. Hi Sara, yes if you replace the oats with almond meal and you may need an extra egg but might be OK with one as the banana helps bind too. Enjoy!

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