there are times that i just get obsessed with a certain food. recently, i have been obsessed with these outshine fruit bars. they are so good! my favorite flavors are strawberry and peach. but i’ve had everything from mango to pineapple and more. i eat at least one every day either as a snack or for dessert. especially with the warm weather we’ve been having they are perfectly refreshing with real fruit pieces and juice in every bite.
anyway, i could go on and on about how much i love these fruit bars but i love outshine fruit bars just about as much as i love this banana pudding. chris and i both love this stuff. the first time i made it we went through the whole pan in about a week. then the week after, i made another one! it took us only about a week and a half to get through the second pan. that’s a lot of banana pudding in a short amount of time. i just love the combination of nilla wafers, bananas, and vanilla pudding/cool whip.
fortunately, this banana pudding isn’t terribly unhealthy or else we would be in a lot of trouble eating sooo much of it. other banana pudding recipes that i’ve tried before call for sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and even cream cheese. i found it to be way too heavy and sweet.
instead, i keep it simple and relatively healthy using just sugar free vanilla pudding, light cool whip, and skim milk. although you can find reduced fat nilla wafers, i prefer the regular ones. the reduced fat ones are just a bit too cardboard-y for my liking. if this is the only indulgence in this recipe, i think it’s okay.
i also love that banana pudding is super duper easy to make and you don’t need to turn on the oven. on the hot summer days, no-bake desserts are the best!
just start by making the pudding and cool whip mixture – combine 2 boxes of instant vanilla pudding with 3 cups of milk.
after mixing thoroughly, allow the pudding to sit for 5 minutes. once the pudding is set, add 1 tub of light cool whip.
gently fold the cool whip into the pudding mixture until they are combined. (don’t mind the lumps in the pudding. i didn’t mix the pudding long enough to get them all out. oops! so be sure to mix your pudding real good so that it’s nice and smooth. oh but if you do end up with lumps like i did, it’s okay because i didn’t notice them once the banana pudding was ready to eat.)
next slice up a few bananas.
now set aside a handful of nilla wafers. you’re going to use these to garnish the top of the pudding.
now it’s time to assemble the banana pudding. start by arranging 1/2 the box of nilla wafers in an even layer on the bottom of a baking pan or dish.
next layer half of the banana slices goes over the nilla wafers.
pour 1/2 of the pudding and cool whip mixture over the bananas. spread into an even layer.
repeat these three layers with the remaining wafers, bananas, and pudding mixture. nilla wafers…
and the pudding and cool whip mixture.
now crumble up your reserved nilla wafers and sprinkle them on top of the pudding.
cover the pudding with plastic wrap and now this is the hard part, the waiting part – you need to allow the banana pudding to chill at least overnight.
finally, all of the flavors have had time to meld together and the wafers are nice and soft. it’s time to eat!