Healthy Vegan Banana Nut Bread

Soft, moist, slightly dense, and lightly sweetened, this is the best healthy vegan banana bread! Made with feel-good ingredients like whole wheat flour, maple syrup, and almond butter for a tasty & satiating breakfast.

I’ve posted quite a few banana bread and banana muffin recipes over the months, but I never made a plain old classic banana bread. I figured the internet was already inundated with tons of banana bread recipes, so I purposely stayed away from it. But then I made this banana nut bread last month, based off my friend’s tried-and-true banana bread but with some healthier and vegan swaps. And it was just so good I had to document it and share it with the world! This banana nut bread is made with whole grains, natural sweeteners, and healthy fats, and is 100% plant-based.

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE VEGAN BANANA NUT BREAD

This healthy banana bread is made with 10 pantry-friendly ingredients:

  • Bananas ⟶ They should be soft with lots of brown spots. Since we aren’t using very much sugar, most of the sweetness comes from the bananas. The riper the banana, the sweeter it is!
  • Whole Wheat Flour ⟶ has a more dense, hearty texture than all purpose flour. You can sub all purpose flour, but you will need to add extra flour as whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid.
  • Maple Syrup ⟶ adds moisture and just enough sweetness
  • Almond Butter ⟶ adds moisture and a soft, tender mouthfeel
  • Soy Milk ⟶ just a little bit to add extra moisture so the banana bread doesn’t come out dry and dense
  • Apple Cider Vinegar ⟶ activates the baking soda to create a soft, fluffy loaf
  • Almond Extract ⟶ I love the nutty flavor this adds, but you can also use vanilla extract.
  • Spices ⟶ cinnamon & nutmeg for extra flavor
  • Baking Soda ⟶ gets activated by the vinegar and causes the bread to rise
  • Walnuts ⟶ change it up by adding pecans, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, or any other add-ins you like!

EASY TO PREPARE

This vegan banana bread is quick & easy to prepare. The hardest part is waiting for it to bake and then cool before you can eat a slice!

  1. Prepare your loaf pan by either spraying with oil, or line with parchment paper. (You can find my fuss-free method for lining a pan with parchment paper in this post.)
  2. Mash bananas and mix with the other wet ingredients.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients separately to allow even blending.
  4. Fold dry and wet ingredients together. (Be careful not to overmix!)
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  6. Bake!
  7. And of course, cool the loaf. Leave it in the pan for a few minutes after removing from the oven, then gently take the loaf out of the pan and transfer to a cooling rack (this is easily done if you used parchment paper).
  8. Practice patience. It may take an hour or more for the loaf to cool, but also don’t let it dry out. After an hour, the loaf is still fairly warm but not hot, so I like to place a light towel on top to prevent it from drying out.

BAKING TIPS FOR PERFECT BANANA BREAD EVERY TIME

use a kitchen scale ⟶ This is the most accurate way to measure your ingredients and is how I measure all dry ingredients. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, make sure you are using your measuring cups correctly!

how to accurately measure flour without a scale ⟶ Use a spoon to scoop the flour from the flour container into the measuring cup. Do NOT scoop directly with your measuring cup, this packs in way more flour than you need. Once you’ve filled your measuring cup with flour, take the back of a knife and level the flour across the measuring cup.

don’t overmix! ⟶ With regular flour containing gluten, you need to be mindful of not overmixing, as this causes over-development of gluten, resulting in a dense, gummy bread. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the batter together, just until a uniform batter forms and no flour streaks remain. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl for dry flour. It’s OK if your batter is lumpy.

work quickly ⟶ Baking soda is activated as soon as it hits liquid, so get the batter in the preheated oven as soon as possible.

how do you know if your banana bread is done? ⟶ the toothpick test! Insert a toothpick (or a cake tester, if your toothpick is too short) in the center of the loaf, making sure you poke all the way through. If the toothpick comes back out clean, or with a few cooked crumbs, then your banana bread is done. Otherwise, place it back in the oven for another 5 minutes and check again.

how to quickly ripen bananas ⟶ If you want to make banana bread in a day or two but your bananas don’t look like they’ll be ready in time, place them in a closed paper bag. This will trap the ethylene gas that allows bananas to ripen. If you need your bananas ready that day, place them in an oven preheated to 300°F for 15-20 minutes, until the skins turn completely black (don’t worry, the inside won’t be black).

HELPFUL BAKING TOOLS

  • Loaf Pan
  • Cooling Rack
  • Kitchen Scale ⟶ highly recommended whenever you are baking! A scale is much more accurate than cup and spoon measurements, and accuracy is essential in baking.
  • Rubber Spatula ⟶ better than a spoon for folding the batter, which prevents excess gluten formation, resulting in a softer, fluffy loaf
  • Cake Tester ⟶ because sometimes your toothpicks just aren’t long enough

STILL HUNGRY?

Check out these other banana-infused treats!

I hope I’ve inspired you to bake this healthy vegan banana nut bread! If you do try it out, don’t forget to tag me in your photos on instagram @ellielikes.cooking, leave a comment/rating down below, and let me know how you liked it! I love seeing all of your tasty recreations 🙂 Happy baking ♡

Healthy Vegan Banana Nut Bread

Soft, moist, slightly dense, and lightly sweetened, this is the best healthy vegan banana bread! Made with feel-good ingredients like whole wheat flour, maple syrup, and almond butter for a tasty & satiating breakfast.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 10 slices

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together mashed bananas, maple syrup, almond butter, vinegar, milk, and almond extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Add flour mixture into the banana mixture, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold together. Mix until ingredients are almost incorporated (some dry flour pockets are OK at this point), add walnuts, and gently fold a couple more times to evenly distribute the walnuts. At this point no flour streaks should remain. Be sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl for dry flour.
  • Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the bread cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.

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