Does anything say comfort food quite like banana bread? I love it, the hubby loves it, the kids love it. It’s a full-on lovefest for vegan banana bread over at my house. I won’t lie though, my first few attempts at an oil-free banana bread were not so great. Substituting apple sauce in place of the oil did not result in the loaf of my dreams, that’s for sure. Thankfully, I’m not so easily dissuaded. So, I tinkered here and experimented there. In fact, there were quite a few versions before I landed on this one.
This banana bread was so worth the effort though. It’s soft and moist like you would expect from a typical loaf, but so much healthier. This banana bread is WFPB, vegan, oil-free and refined sugar-free. A quick swap of the flour will make this recipe gluten-free as well.
Full disclosure here, I love and have loved banana bread since I was a kid. So, all it takes are some spotty bananas on my counter and I’m ready to do some baking. Maybe it’s just my house, but we’ve always got multiple bunches of bananas on the counter in various stages of ripeness. The kids love to eat them when they are nice and yellow. Once they get some spots, I like adding them to my smoothie for a little sweetness. But when they get extra ripe, that’s when the magic happens. That’s when the girls start asking what I’m planning to bake with them. They know that ripe bananas mean yummy baked goods are in their future. That’s something we can all enjoy from time to time.
I didn’t plan for this batch of banana bread, even though I’d been working on a number of variations. I had kind of put it on the back burner to come back to another time. Then, one morning, I noticed some very ripe bananas on the counter and knew I had to whip up a batch from whatever I had on hand. As a result, this recipe is made from pretty standard ingredients that you may already have hanging around in your pantry.
Ripe bananas – the spottier the better
Whole wheat flour – or gluten-free blend if you prefer
Coconut sugar – or date sugar
Flax meal – or chia seeds
Almond butter – or nut butter of choice
Maple syrup – or date syrup
Dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)
To make this recipe gluten-free, simply swap in your favourite gluten-free flour blend in place of the whole wheat flour.
To make this banana bread nut-free, you can substitute tahini or sunflower seed butter in place of the almond butter. Please note that sunflower seed butter can make the bread take on a greenish hue when baked. This is a reaction between the chlorophyll in the sunflower seeds and the baking soda/powder. It’s not harmful to eat, just a little more ‘festive’ than you may be expecting. If you want to avoid the festive hue, tahini works really well in this recipe.
My girls like dairy-free chocolate chips in their banana bread, but this is optional. You can substitute chopped walnuts if you prefer. Even dried fruit would make a nice addition.
Making Vegan Banana Bread
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small prep bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of flax meal with 5 tablespoons of water and set aside to thicken. If using chia seeds, mix 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 6 tablespoons of water and set aside to thicken.
Measure out the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl and set aside.
Next, mash the bananas well and add to a small bowl. Add the almond butter, vanilla, maple/date syrup, coconut/date sugar and flax/chia eggs. Mix until well blended.
This recipe was developed with runny almond butter. If your nut butter is dry and thick, you should thin it a little with a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk.
Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix. Then fold in the chocolate chips if you choose to use them.
Pour the mixture into a silicone loaf pan or a regular loaf pan lined with parchment paper. The batter will seem thick, but don’t sweat it.
Pop that pan into the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes. Or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. If you are using chia eggs instead of flax eggs, it may require an extra 10 minutes in the oven. Be sure to test with a toothpick to ensure it’s cooked through.
Next time you’re in the mood for a sweet treat or have some extra-ripe bananas on your hands, try this delicious banana bread.
Vegan Banana Bread
This delicious banana bread is the perfect healthy snack. It's WFPB, vegan, oil-free and refined sugar-free. Substitution suggestions are offered to make it gluten-free and nut-free if needed.
- 3 large ripe bananas
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, or gluten-free flour of choice
- 1/3 cup almond butter, or tahini for nut-free option
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar, or date sugar
- 2 tbsp flax meal, or chia seeds
- 5 tbsp water, 6 tbsp if using chia seeds
- 2 tbsp maple syrup, or date syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- In a small prep bowl, mix flax seeds and water and set aside to thicken.
- In a large bowl, measure out flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork
- Add the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut sugar and flax seed mixture to the bowl with the banana and mix well.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Don't worry if the batter seems thick.
- Fold in the chocolate chips (if using).
- Pour batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment (or a silicone loaf pan if you prefer).
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
If using chia seeds, increase the water to 6 tablespoons. It may need an extra 5-10 minutes in the oven.
This recipe was developed with runny nut butter. If your nut butter is thick or dry, you may need to thin it with a tablespoon or two of non-dairy milk.
If you make this recipe and post to Instagram, be sure to tag me (@mentalforlentils) and use #mentalforlentils. I love to see what you’re cooking up in your kitchen.
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4 Replies to “The Best Vegan Banana Bread”
Oh yum, that sounds so good. Love the adding of cinnamon in it. 🙂
Thanks so much! What can I say? I love cinnamon. 😉
May I ask if salt serves a purpose other than flavor, in other words, can I omit it to avoid salt, or is it necessary for leavening or some other reason?
Salt does serve a purpose (other than flavour) in baked goods. It adds some strength to the dough, which allows it to rise nicely. It also helps with browning and allowing the finished product to last longer before spoiling.
Unfortunately, I haven’t tried this recipe without the salt so I cannot guarantee the results. In searching around though, it’s probably safe to cut the amount down to 1/4 tsp and have it still turn out well.
I hope this helps!