Vegan Banana Bread
The best simple one bowl vegan banana bread recipe! This healthier vegan banana bread is oil-free when made with applesauce, and studded with walnuts and chocolate chips.
One of my friends recently mentioned that her mom makes the banana nut bread from my cookbook nearly every weekend. I’m so glad she mentioned it, because it had been way too long since my last loaf of banana bread. I wanted to share the cookbook recipe with you, because it’s a favorite, but also wanted to make it egg-free, dairy-free, and vegan, since many of my friends here are plant-based eaters. Making this classic banana bread vegan was easy, and the only other change I made was to omit the whole flax seeds. I’ve since learned that whole flax aren’t really digestible. If you’d like to add flax, I’d go with a tablespoon or two of flax meal.
This vegan banana nut bread is loaded with walnuts and dark chocolate. It has that classic shiny outer crust and soft interior. A slice is perfect for breakfast, brunch or an after-school snack. I love it with a spread of vegan cream cheese. Like my Classic Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies, I wanted this recipe to taste like the classic recipe. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, check out my Gluten Free Banana Blueberry Muffins or Chocolate Banana Muffins. If you’re not feeling the banana, head to my Gluten Free Vegan Carrot Muffins or Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Muffins. Let’s check out how to make this simple vegan banana bread!
Mash the Bananas
The first step in making this vegan banana nut bread is patiently waiting for your bananas to get just overripe. Those brown speckled bananas you don’t really want to eat anymore are perfect for banana bread. Quick tip: you can speed up the ripening process by storing your bananas in a paper bag for a day or two.
Peel the bananas, add them to a bowl and give them a good smash. This is a great step for kids to help with. I’ve used 3-4 bananas with good results. You’ll want about 1 1/2 cups of mashed bananas.
Make the Vegan Banana Bread Batter
Next, add the milk (soy, almond, etc.), sugar, oil, and apple cider vinegar. A note about sugar: I’ve made this banana bread with organic unbleached cane sugar, raw turbinado sugar, and with coconut sugar. While I like that coconut sugar is probably less processed and lower glycemic, the cane sugar resulted in a moister banana bread with a lighter color. I’ve also tested this recipe with maple syrup, and the bread was just too mushy. I’d love to try this recipe with other alternative sugars such as monkfruit, dates, or date sugar, but haven’t done so yet. The thing is, the sugar isn’t just a sweetener, it also provides structure.
How to Make Oil-Free Vegan Banana Bread
I’ve tested this recipe both with coconut oil and with applesauce for an oil-free version. Technically it’s still not completely oil-free, since nuts and chocolate both contain oil, but you know what I mean. The difference was barely discernible, with the oil version just a little moister on the second day. I’ve written the recipe with applesauce and no oil, but if you’d prefer to use oil or you’re out of applesauce, subbing is a 1:1 ratio.
Stir all the wet ingredients together and set aside. To be honest, I usually dump the dry ingredients right into this same bowl after mixing the wet.
The proper way, however, is to mix all the dry ingredients together first. That way the baking soda is even distributed throughout the batter. Let’s talk about flours. While I usually go for less refined flours like homemade gluten-free oat flour, I stuck with traditional organic all-purpose and whole wheat flours here. My first attempt making this recipe with oat and almond flours resulted in a mushy bread, so I’ll keep working on a gluten-free version.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir together with a spatula to combine.
Fold in the Walnuts and Chocolate
The thing that everyone loves about this banana bread is that it doesn’t skimp on nuts. There are crunchy walnuts in every bite, which are delicious, but also add nutrition to this banana bread. Those melty dark chocolate chips or chunks? They have antioxidants. Or something.
Bake the Banana Bread
Despite its moniker, quick bread isn’t all that quick. While muffins are done in about 15 minutes, banana bread needs a solid hour.
This vegan banana bread is a bit denser than recipes with eggs, but I don’t think anyone would ever guess that it is egg and dairy free. Since traditional banana breads often have a full stick of butter, I think this a great improvement. If you love banana, check out these Vegan Banana Chia Pancakes or this Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie and Peanut Butter Banana Nice Cream! Want even more vegan breakfast ideas? Head to this post next: 35 Amazing Vegan Breakfast Ideas.
- 3 large ripe bananas
- 3/4 cup organic cane or turbinado sugar
- ¼ cup applesauce (or 1/2 cup melted coconut oil) *see notes
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves
- 1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chunks or chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the bottom of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Peel the bananas and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a fork or a mixer. Add the sugar, oil or applesauce, almond milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
- Add the flours, baking soda and salt and stir just until combined. Fold in the walnuts and chocolate.
- Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 60-70 minutes.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and setting on a cooling rack. Let rest for an hour before slicing.
*For extra moisture, use 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegan butter. Applesauce works well for an oil-free version but isn't quite as moist.
I like to serve this banana bread with cream cheese or a light spread of vegan butter such as Miyoko's.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 258 Total Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 167mg Carbohydrates: 40g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 21g Protein: 4g