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This Healthy Banana Bread is sweetened with medjool dates and ripe bananas (no added sugar!), and made without oil, flour, or cholesterol. It’s the best lightened up banana bread that’s still perfectly sweet, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth moist! All you need is 10 simple ingredients and 1 hour to bake.

3/4 angle photo of sliced banana bread styled with fruits

Since originally publishing this healthy banana bread almost a decade ago, it has become one of the most popular vegan breakfast recipes on our site (check out the 25+ 5-star reviews!). And while most of us can’t resist a slice of regular ol’ banana bread made with brown sugar and white flour, life is even better when we can indulge in an equally delicious breakfast or dessert made without added sugar, gluten, eggs, and dairy! It’s seriously SO DANG GOOD. 

Instead, this banana bread is loaded with wholesome ingredients like oats, flaxseed, ripe and spotty bananas, medjool dates, and homemade almond milk. It’s truly the best, moist banana bread that makes the perfect breakfast, healthy dessert, or wholesome afternoon snack to hold you over at work or school. But don’t take our word for it – just read this review from Teresa: 

“I’ve made this so many times I’ve lost count. It’s sooo good. I love that it doesn’t use any wheat/white flour or sugar and it turns out so moist!! I usually top mine with walnuts and chocolate chips for some added crunch and sweetness. Thanks so much!!” – Teresa

Ingredients You’ll Need 

  • Flax eggs: Ground flaxseed meal mixed with water is our go-to egg replacer in many of our vegan dessert recipes, including this banana bread! If necessary or preferred, you can also substitute whole chia seeds (no need to grind them before hand!). 
  • Oat flour: Use either store-bought or homemade oat flour. If making your own from scratch, simply place 2 cups of oats in a high speed blender and blend until a powder forms, about 20-30 seconds. Avoid using alternative gluten-free flour such as almond flour or coconut flour as these flours absorb moisture differently and would require additional testing. 
  • Nuts: Adding nuts is optional, but we love the added crunch and healthy fats. Chopped pecans, walnuts, or even almonds would be delicious in this banana bread. Or, opt for chocolate chips and make a healthy chocolate chip banana bread!  
  • Cinnamon and vanilla: Ground cinnamon and pure vanilla extract adds warmth and compliments the flavors in the sweet banana and medjool dates. 
  • Baking powder + baking soda: Both baking powder and baking soda are needed to rise the banana bread and make it surprisingly tall and fluffy. We wouldn’t recommend swapping one for the other – both are needed! 
  • Banana: For the best, no added sugar banana bread, use overripe bananas with lots of brown spots. You can even use frozen bananas that are thawed to room temperature. 
  • Medjool dates: Fresh medjool dates add additional sweetness while keeping this banana bread free from added sugars. When shopping in stores, medjool dates are typically stored near the fresh produce or can often be found in the bulk section with other dried fruits. 
  • Non-dairy milk: We typically opt for our Homemade Almond Milk, but any non-dairy milk of choice will work and keep this healthy banana bread both dairy-free and vegan! 
  • Apple cider vinegar: Adds necessary acidity that helps to balance the sweetness and activate the leavening agents. If you’re out of apple cider vinegar, try an equal amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Equipment Needed

overhead image of banana bread in a pan styled with fruit and towel

How to Make Healthy Banana Bread

  1. Prepare the flax egg. In a small mixing bowl, combine the ground flaxseed meal and water until well combined. Set aside for 15 minutes to thicken. 
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, add the oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nuts, if using. Combine until well combined and uniform and set aside. 
  3. Puree the medjool dates. In a large cup food processor, add the medjool dates, almond milk, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar. Process until the dates are completely smooth.
  4. Add the banana. Once the dates are pureed into a smooth, uniform texture, add the mashed banana and thickened flax egg and mix to combine using a spoon or spatula.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the dry mixture and stir until a uniform batter forms.
  6. Bake. Transfer the healthy banana bread into a greased loaf pan or a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and if desired, top with the additional banana, cut side facing up. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean with just a few crumbs.
  7. Cool, then serve. Remove the baked bread from the oven and let cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy! 

How to Make Healthy Banana Muffins

Not only does this healthy banana bread recipe make a delicious sliceable bread, but makes delicious banana muffins, too! 

To make, simply prepare the banana bread batter as usual, then divide between a 12-cup muffin tin (use muffin liners or grease the muffin tin to prevent sticking!). Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the largest muffin comes out clean with just a few crumbs. Let cool, then enjoy as usual! 

Serving Suggestions 

We love serving a slice of banana bread just as we would any classic banana bread recipe. Serve as the perfect companion for your morning cup of coffee or matcha latte and a side of fresh fruit, or turn it into an indulgent vegan dessert with a scoop of your favorite non-dairy ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce or vegan caramel sauce, and a generous dollop of Coconut Whipped Cream!

image of banana bread on plate with chocolate sauce and strawberries

Recipe FAQs

Can I add zucchini to this healthy banana bread?

Zucchini tends to add quite a bit of moisture to any banana bread or quick bread recipe. If you are going to add shredded zucchini (something we have not tested ourselves!), we’d recommend squeezing out as much of the excess moisture as possible before folding it in to the batter.

Additionally, reduce the non-dairy milk to 1/4 cup to compensate for the added moisture content. 

Do I need to soak the dates first?

If your medjool dates are fresh and easy to squeeze between your fingers, no soaking will be required. If you dates are very dry (or have previously been refrigerated), soaking would be ideal. Simply place the pitted dates in a large heat-proof bowl and pour boiling hot water over top. Let the dates set aside to soak and soften for about 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry. 

What can I replace the Medjool dates with?

Medjool dates are, unfortunately, a key ingredient in this healthy banana bread. I have tested this recipe using coconut sugar, and it did not turn out. The banana bread was too dense, and the loaf was very flat.

For this reason, we do not recommend replacing the Medjool dates with sweeteners such as coconut sugar, date sugar, pure maple syrup, or agave. If you are looking for a banana bread recipe that works with coconut sugar, I highly recommend this Vegan Banana Bread recipe

Can I replace the oat flour with white flour?

We have only tested this banana bread using finely milled oat flour and, unfortunately, cannot recommend a swap that will work well. If you only have classic all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour on hand, such as whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, or regular whole wheat flour, try our Traditional Banana Bread Recipe!

My banana nut bread is browning too quickly. How do I fix it?

Depending on your climate and/or oven, the bread can begin to brown too quickly on the top. If you find this to be the case, lightly vent the bread with a piece of aluminum foil. This will help shield the top of the bread from burning and keep it as moist as possible.

Storage Instructions

This banana bread usually disappears in less than 24 hours in our house, but leftovers will be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. For longer-term storage, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap, then place them in a large freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. 

When ready to eat, set the frozen bread slices on the kitchen counter at room temperature until defrosted and soft again. 

Quick Baking Tips

  • Bake in the correct sized pan. For best results, we recommend using a 9×5″ or 8.5×4.5″ loaf pan. Or, if making muffins, divide the batter between 12 muffin cups. Changing the size of pan or amount of muffins will require an altered bake time. 
  • Avoid baking in glass. Although glass pans are a popular choice for baking casseroles, they’re actually not the best choice when it comes to making consistent baked goods. This is because glass conducts heat differently than metal pans and heats up far slower than metal or aluminum. This can result in uneven baking (over cooked edges with uncooked centers) and limit the browning. For best results, we always recommend swapping glass bakeware for metal!
  • Use a just ripened banana on top. Unlike in the batter where overripe bananas are welcome, it’s best to use a just ripened banana (without brown spots) on top of the bread. This helps prevent the top of the bread from being overly moist and allows the sliced banana to keep its shape through baking and slicing. 
overhead image of banana bread sliced and styled with fruit.

More Quick Bread Recipes You May Enjoy:

Make sure you tag us on Instagram @sweetsimplevegan and @consciouschris and hashtag #sweetsimplevegan if you make this recipe. We love to see your photos! 

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Healthy & Guilt-Free Banana Bread! This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, refined-sugar free and SO DANG GOOD! #vegan #glutenfree #refinedsugarfree #oilfree #datesweetened #guiltfree #bananabread #vegan

Healthy Banana Bread with Oats and Medjool Dates Recipe


  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8

Description

This Healthy Banana Bread is sweetened with medjool dates and ripe bananas (no added sugar!), and made without oil, flour, or cholesterol. It’s the best lightened up banana bread that’s still perfectly sweet, fluffy, and melt-in-your-mouth moist! All you need is 10 simple ingredients and 1 hour to bake.


Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 6 tablespoons water)*
  • 2 cups gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/2 cup crushed nuts (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large ripe & spotty bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • + 1 banana to top, sliced it in half lengthwise (optional)
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates, packed
  • ½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/22 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used 2)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×5″ bread pan with parchment paper or lightly coat it with oil. Mix the flaxseed meal with the water and stir well. Set aside to thicken, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nuts if using. Mix well until uniform and set aside.
  3. In a food processor, add the dates, almond milk, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar. Process until smooth, and then mix in the mashed banana and flax egg with a spoon until combined. Add the date and banana mixture to the dry mixture and stir until a batter forms.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and if desired top with the optional banana, cut side facing up (refer to photos in post).
  5. Place into the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick runs clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting.*

Notes

  • Chia seeds work well in place of flaxseed meal — use 2 tablespoons in its place.
  • We recommend cutting the bread with a serrated knife or a very sharp knife — we use this one.
  • Nutrition facts do not take into account the addition of nuts.
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Bread
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. However, this page may contain affiliate links, thank you for supporting Sweet Simple Vegan!

Meet The Bloggers

hey there! we’re jasmine & chris.

Hi, we’re Jasmine and Chris! We share fresh and fun recipes to show you that vegan cooking is easy, approachable and delicious. When we’re not blogging, you will probably find us enjoying live music, tending to our backyard garden or playing with our dogs Berry and Louie

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142 Comments

  1. This was honestly one the easiest & BEST banana bread recipes I’ve ever tried!! I will purposely buy extra bananas to keep this in stock 🙂 Any idea what the nutrition facts would be?
    Thank you for sharing!!!

    1. Aw yay I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I actually do not have the nutritional data for this recipe, sorry for that!

  2. I love your blog! I have a question.. How many dates is one cup? Is that one cup before or after they are chopped?

    Thanks! Sorry if this is a silly question!

    1. Pit the dates and shove them whole into 1 cup 🙂 I can’t really say how many, they vary in size!

  3. I tried this recipe this morning and I love it!!! I added orange zest and dark choc chunks… amazing!

  4. Just tried this recipe for my husband today and he loved it!!! He ate half of it as soon as he got home from work. 🙂 I can’t eat bananas so I couldn’t try it but it smelled and looked amazing! 🙂 Is there anyway I could make this into a pumpkin bread by just replacing the banana with pumpkin, if so how much do you think I would need? Or some other kind of flavor? Thanks so much. I am making another batch of the banana bread tonight. 🙂

    1. Hi Ashley! Haha, that sounds like something Chris would do. I am not a hundred percent certain as I have not tried that out, but I have in fact read from other blogs of different substitutions and pumpkin and banana mashes are often used for the same purposes so I think it will work!! Play around with it, and let me know if you ever get around to making it because that sounds AMAZING!!

  5. Hey, love your blog! Do you think it would turn out ok if I just added a zucchini too or would i need to change any of the ingredients? x

    1. Aw thank you Angie! Zucchini would add a bit of moisture into it so I suggest before adding in the shredded zucchini, squeeze out the moisture with a paper towel or towel 🙂

    1. Aw thank you so much!! I just put the amount I need into a high speed blender and run it until a powder is formed 🙂

      1. Hi! Excited to try this recipe!
        To the previous commenter: I would recommend toasting the oats first – it really adds to the flavor!

    1. YAY!! I hope you get to trying it 🙂 If your dates are fresh, no soaking will be required. If your dates are very dry, however, soaking would be ideal for blending!

      1. the dates i used were a bit dry but they blended just fine without soaking them:) this was the best vegan banana bread i have ever tried and i will definitely make this again!! thanks for sharing this amazing receipt.