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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.
Table of Contents
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.
How to Make Healthy Banana Bread
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the dry mixture and stir until a uniform batter forms.
- 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.
- 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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