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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


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.9 from 27 reviews

  • 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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143 Comments

  1. This was really delicious. The banana on top added some gooey sweetness that made this recipe extra special! I was fresh out of baking soda, so I just added a bit of extra baking powder. Turned out just fine.






  2. Tried this recipe over the weekend and loved it. So easy to make and delicious! It’s wonderful to find yummy vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free recipes. Thank you!






  3. Made this last night and it turned out so well! Thank you so much for the recipe, I’ll now try to adapt the recipe slightly for a chocolate version;)!






  4. Can I use date sugar instead of blended dates? Also, can I replace the flax/ chia with something else? Thanks, Jasmine!

    1. Hi Laura! I have not tested these with date sugar, but I have used coconut sugar and when I did, the bread consistency was not the same. It turned out a bit flat and too dense. The flax/chia is used as a binder (instead of an egg) so you can try out another vegan egg substitute! Again I have not tested that out, but I’m sure it will work 🙂

      1. Hi !
        On the nutritional facts for the banana bread it says there is cholesterol and I’m wondering where it is coming from?

        Thanks!

      2. Thank you so much for pointing out that error! It should of course be 0 as this is a vegan recipe, and I went back and realized there was a glitch so I updated it 🙂

    1. Hi Vanessa! I haven’t tested coconut flour in this recipe so I can’t be sure, but I do know that you can’t sub coconut four 1:1 with the oat flour. It will only take about 1/4-1/3 the amount of coconut flour, but since it is extremely absorbent it may react different and need the addition of 1-2 more flax eggs.

  5. HI There! If I wanted to sub out some or all of the dates with honey would you have suggestions? I love dates but some people I’m baking for don’t 🙁 your help would be awesome!! Thank you!

    1. Replacing the solid sweetener with a liquid is going to be tough as the ratios for the dry ingredients will have to change, and I have not tested this with a liquid sweetener so unfortunately I am unsure of how to solve this!

  6. I made this and it was definitely phenomenal! I was hoping to make a lower calorie version though by not using dates (also I feel like the sugar in dates make me crave more sugar)
    Since there is banana I feel like it won’t taste too bad? lol I’m sure the dates add texture and moistness so I was wondering if you think I could replace that with extra banana or applesauce? Thanks!

    1. Hi Bridget! I have not tested this recipe without the dates, but I think that if we swap it out you can add in more bananas to make the consistency and bite similar and if sweetener is needed you can add a touch of coconut sugar. Let me know how it goes!

  7. Hi!
    I just tried making this recipie and followed all of the ingredients and steps.

    Unfortunately, the batter was all clumpy and I didn’t know how the consistency of the batter was supposed to look. I ended up baking it and it came out and completely fell apart. IM not sure where I went wrong. Any thoughts? So sad about this!

    1. Hi Amanda! Oh no, I am so so sorry about this. I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. What I suspect with this is maybe your dates were not moist enough, or maybe the oats were not ground finely? Let me know if it is either of these! I am here to help, I’d love for you to try this out because it’s a favorite of mine.

  8. To make the chia egg, do I need to grind up my chia seeds? And how long to I let it sit for?

  9. I made it a second time and it was perfect! Who knows what happened the first time lol

    Do you happen to know the nutrition facts are for this recipe?

    Thanks!!

    1. Aw yay I’m glad it worked out! Sorry for the delay but I was finally able to get the nutrition info up on the post above <3

  10. Hey girl!

    Love your recipes as I’ve been plant-based for a few years now, and oil-free the last 6ish months(:
    I made this bread tonight, and it looked so awesome and made my house smell even more amazing! Unfortunately, when I cut a slice, it had this strange non-sweet smell mixed in with sweet banana smell. I noticed the same smell in the batter after I added the 2 tsp of vanilla extract (I forgot to add it with the wet ingredients, so I did it after). I’ve never actually used 2 whole tsp of extract. Do you think that could have anything to do with it? My loaf was also not sweet enough ): Should I have packed the dates into the cup? I kind didn’t push them in, so many I didn’t add enough?

    Let me know your thoughts (:

    1. Hi Wendy! Unfortunately it would have been due to a number of things: not packing in the dates, not using ripe bananas, not using real vanilla extract instead of imitation. I don’t want to make assumptions for what you did and didn’t do, these are just my speculations! Yes, pack in the dates, and if you think the vanilla is too much for your taste or if it is an artificial one, use less since those tend to get unappetizing when using too much. Let me know if you try it out again, so sorry for the mess up!

  11. Hi!

    I just baked this and it did not come out. It seemed to never finish baking even after adding an additional half hour and burning the top a bit. I thought I followed yue recipe but maybe I did something wrong. Any suggestions?

      1. I used a metal bread pan, like the one in your pictures.
        I’m just taking this one as a baking fluke and will try it again. 🙂 it is always possible there is something I skipped. Lol

        Another question: would I be able to use almond flour with this recipe? Almond flour is my fave!
        Thank you!

      2. I am so sorry about the mess up, I hope all goes well round 2!! I have actually not tried almond flour yet in this recipe, but from what I understand, almond flour results in very moist baked goods, so you may want to experiment with just replacing a 1/4-1/2 of the oat flour first. Please let me know your results if you do replace the oat flour to any degree, I’d love to know!

  12. I found that adding 1/4 to 1/2 tsp really helped make it more fluffy. Recommend you try that if your finding it a little too dense 🙂

  13. Hi Jasmine, lovely site! Your date-sweetened banana bread recipe looks really great. Have you made it, then froze a whole loaf, or slices of it? I’m curious how well it would freeze (certainly not with the pretty banana strips on top)! Thanks for your reply.

  14. This is a godsend! I used to bake banana bread all the time, but I haven’t made it since I went vegan. I love that this recipe doesn’t use refined sugars, flours, or oils—I never thought banana bread could be so sweet and moist while having the nutritional quality of a bowl of oatmeal. Very happy to find this. Thank you!

  15. Hello! I want to try your recipe, but i am not vegan. Do you know how many eggs i should use to replace the chia seeds?
    Thanks alot!

  16. Hi Jasmine, I just wanted to say that I love you, your vlogs and blog so much!
    Quick question: Does the bread still rise well even though oat flour is being used and what does the texture of the bread turn out like?

    1. Hi Naz! Thank you so so much for the love 🙂 Yes, it actually does rise quite a bit from the baking soda and powder! It is more dense than normal banana bread as it is oil-free and sweetened with fruit, but I promise it is wonderful and a must try <3

  17. This bread is so fab! I have made it twice in the past week 🙂 I used an egg instead of flax seeds. Thanks for the recipe.. so easy to follow.!

  18. Jasmine, does it work the same if i use some sort of sweetener or sugar, and whole wheat flour? I love your vids and recipes btw 🙂 Thanks!