Grain-free banana bread that's also paleo, vegan, gluten-free, egg-free, cane sugar-free, and with a nut-free option. Loaded with gooey dates, toasted walnuts, and cinnamon, this healthy banana loaf gets a baklava vibe.
I have a bit of a pet peeve: the other day I came across a gluten-free banana bread recipe that called for "2 bananas." I thought, "how is this recipe supposed to work?" Bananas can vary greatly in size. Two small bananas, mashed, can equal 3/4 cup of puree, while larger bananas could make twice that amount.
In gluten-free and grain-free baking especially, accurate measuring is important since GF flours are less forgiving than all-purpose. The moral of the story is this: mash, then measure your bananas. Or better yet, bust out your food scale and weigh your bananas and other ingredients for the most accurate result.
Now onto banana bread!
Grain-Free Banana Bread with Options
I loved this vegan paleo banana bread with chocolate chips so much that I've been making a different version lately. It's loaded with spicy cinnamon, gooey dates, and toasted walnuts, all of which give it a baklava vibe (the traditional Greek dessert layered with nuts, phyllo, and spiced syrup).
It's so good, I wanted to give it a post of its own!
Topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, this grain-free banana bread makes a satisfying treat that comes together with just a whisk and a bowl. Slather slices with salty plant butter and a drizzle of honey, and enjoy with a cup of tea for an afternoon snack. Or toast slices in a skillet with a little coconut oil or ghee, then top with scoops of vegan vanilla ice cream for a tasty dessert.
Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions
- This recipe starts with ripe bananas. You want them to be yellow with black spots. You can also use frozen ripe bananas – just let them defrost to room temp before you mash them up.
- Nut butter forms of the base of this recipe. I use raw cashew butter, which gives the bread luscious butterscotch notes, but almond butter will also work. Or use tahini for a nut-free base.
- Melted coconut oil or ghee adds richness. I like the toasty notes that ghee adds, but use coconut oil to keep this vegan. Refined coconut oil will have a more neutral flavor. I think any liquid oil, melted butter or plant butter would also work.
- A little maple syrup and coconut sugar gently sweeten the batter. You can just use one or the other, depending on what you've got. Or try another sweetener such as brown sugar or date syrup.
- Vanilla, cinnamon, and salt add loads of flavor.
- Plant milk adds moisture. I used cashew milk, but almond milk, coconut milk beverage, or any plant milk will work.
- Blanched almond flour and cassava flour work together to create a moist, tender crumb. Tapioca flour adds a bit of chew. You can also use hazelnut meal or natural almond flour in place of the blanched almond flour. For nut-free, try tiger nut flour which is made from a tuber vegetable. If you don't have cassava flour on hand and you eat grains, you can try sweet rice flour or Bob's 1 to 1 gluten-free baking flour instead.
- Baking powder and baking soda lift the batter.
- Toasted walnuts and chopped dates give the bread heft while adding a baklava vibe. Feel free to play with other nut / dried fruit combinations. Or leave the nuts off for a nut-free version of course.
How to Make Grain-Free Banana Bread
Banana Bread for Everyone
This grain-free banana bread is moist, tender, sturdy, hearty enough for a snack and sweet enough for dessert. I hope you love it as much as we do.
*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make this grain-free banana bread recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
More Banana Recipes:
- Vegan Paleo Banana Bread with Chocolate Chonks
- Gluten-Free Banana Cake with Chocolate Ganache (dairy-free)
- Banana Cream Tart in a GF Cocoa Crust
- Gluten-Free Banana Muffins
More Almond Flour Recipes:
- Gluten-Free Almond Flour Tart Crust
- Almond Flour Pancakes with Citrus and Honey
- Gluten-Free Olive Oil Cake
More Vegan Paleo Dessert Recipes:
Grain-Free Banana Bread with Cinnamon, Dates, and WalnutsPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (65 g) walnuts (divided use)
- 3 tablespoons (35 g) melted coconut oil, plus a little for the pan (or ghee for non-vegan)
- ½ cup (130 g) room temperature cashew butter (or other nut butter – try tahini for nut-free)
- 3 tablespoons (55 g) maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) coconut sugar (or another tablespoon of maple syrup)
- ½ cup (135 g) mashed very ripe banana (from 1 very large or 2 smaller bananas)
- 3 tablespoons (40 g) plant milk
- ¾ teaspoon GF vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Bob's Red Mill cassava flour (50 g) (or try sweet rice or AP flour for non-paleo)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons (40 g) Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour (or natural almond flour or hazelnut flour)
- ¼ cup (30 g) tapioca flour (or try arrowroot flour)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup pitted chopped dates
- cinnamon sugar for the top (1 teaspoon maple or coconut sugar + 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon)
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Lightly rub an 8x4 or 9x5-inch loaf pan with coconut oil and line with a sling of parchment paper.
- Spread the walnuts on a small baking sheet and toast until golden and fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Let cool, then chop coarsely.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the nut butter, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut oil or ghee, plant milk, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the banana.
- Sift in the cassava flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, adding back anything left in the strainer (the almond flour is fairly coarse so just do your best here!) Stir the batter until smooth and well-combined.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of the walnuts and all of the dates.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining walnuts and the cinnamon sugar.
- Bake until a tester inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs, 40-50 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through for even baking. Let cool to warm or room temperature, remove from the pan, and peel away the parchment.
- Slice and top with plant butter, flaky salt, and honey if you like (honey will make this not technically vegan). Devour with a cold glass of plant milk or a warm cup of tea or coffee.
What could be a substitute for tapioca flour apart from arrowroot flour?
I'm not sure what your dietary restrictions are, but for a non-paleo version you could try sweet rice flour, cornstarch, or potato starch. You could also use more cassava flour. The results might not be as tender as the version made with tapioca starch, since tapioca has a way of making batters more extensible (stretchy) and it helps them bake up fluffy and light. Please let me know what you try!
This is a nice moist bread - the dates are a very nice addition and add a subtle sweetness. I think I would add some more cinnamon and possibly Chinese five spice - I think it would enhance the banana. It doesn’t rise much and is a petite loaf which is probably good, otherwise I would eat too much! I have your pumpkin cranberry nut and seed loaf from Alternative Baker cooling on the counter now and can’t wait to try it tomorrow!
Hi Trish! Thanks for trying my recipe, I'm so glad you liked it! How did the pumpkin bread turn out?
Hi Alanna! The pumpkin bread is terrific!! I love food with a lot of texture and this is loaded with with such good ingredients that make for a great chew. It’s perfect for a charcuterie tray with fig jam. It was fun for me to try a rather different bread recipe, not a typical “quick bread” but one that feels a lot more rewarding to make and worth the wait. Thank you for all of your efforts to develop such excellent recipes. I always look forward to trying another one and love your posts. Two thumbs up!!
I'm so glad you love the pumpkin bread! That must have been such a special charcuterie tray. Yum!!
And thank you for reading along and for saying such nice things. Your note really made my day. <333
Oh Alanna! This is delicious! No rice flour either in one of the versions. I doubt it will make it through the weekend. Even my picky husband is eating it. I think I'm going to try the smaller sized loaf pan next time, just to get a higher banana bread. Thank you so much!
Five stars of course! For some reason they were deleted when I posted my comment. Go figure!
Huh, that's so weird! I'll keep an eye out to see whether that's happening to other folks too. Thank you for letting me know and for coming back to rate the recipe!
This was so good. We enjoyed it twice, once with nut butter and once with tahini. I'm grateful that you are posting more dairy free recipes with all the wonderful flours that are so much more interesting than all purpose.
Yaaayyyy I'm so glad you're loving this recipe! Also happy to be making my recipes more accessible to folks with food sensitivities like myself. Thanks a bunch for trying the recipe and for the kind note!
Shamani Nair says
Hi what can I use instead of cassava flour? Same amount of tapioca flour? Thanks.
If you don't have cassava flour on hand and you eat grains, you can try sweet rice flour or Bob's 1 to 1 gluten-free baking flour instead. Tapioca flour is way more starchy and sticky, so it's not a good sub for cassava on its own.
This was an awesome bake! It was so rich and moist 🤤 thank you for sharing this grain-free banana bread recipe.
Oh Em Gee….so I made this bread as a healthy treat for my hubby and find myself devouring it (me, who doesn’t like bananas)🙆🏽♀️🙈 and oh the hubby too has had 3 slices in 1 day and this is testament to how amazing this bread is coming from someone who is uber strict about not having anything sweet during the week… Thank u for the awesome GF and xantham gum free recipes Alanna. You are my go to blog😍 just can’t get enough!!!!
Just out of curiosity, storage shelf life is usually a consequence of the wet ingredients or so I believe so was wondering why this bread can only stand on the counter for 2 day, the banana ?
I'm so glad this was a hit with you and the hubby! We also can't get enough of it. :D
For shelf life, I live in San Francisco where it can be foggy and humid, and moist baked goods can develop mold at room temperature. It might not be like that where you live, so feel free to experiment with leaving at room temperature longer if you like!
Melissa C Morgan says
So great! The breads texture is excellent. Thoughtful and well-crafted flour blend. Moist, springy, great browning. Not mealy like many other paleo/aip baked goods. The walnut date tahini combo is a lovely flavor profile. Thanks for being a ex-pastry chef who uses weight instead of only volume, made all the difference. Cheers!
Aw I really appreciate it Melissa! I'm so glad you loved it.
I have made this recipe three times in the past couple months and it is AMAZING!!! Thank you so much! All three times I omitted the walnuts/dates and used chocolate chips instead. The first time I followed the directions exactly and it came out perfectly. The second time I halved the recipe (for a mini loaf pan) and used more banana in place of the maple syrup. It turned out delicious and plenty sweet. The third time, I halved the recipe and added molasses in place of the maple syrup and added some gingerbread spices. It was so yummy!! I'm wondering if you think it would work for me to swap out the banana for canned pumpkin or will the pumpkin be too wet? Thank you again for such amazing recipes!
Made the for about the 20th time! Always in the baking rotation. Always comes out as expected. Thank you!
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Woohoo - that makes me so happy!
Hi Alanna, Do you have any thoughts on the best substitute for almond flour?
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
I gave some suggestions in the post above, copied here! :)
You can also use hazelnut meal or natural almond flour. For nut-free, try tiger nut flour which is made from a tuber vegetable.
You could also try any nut or seed you like, ground to a flour. Please let me know what you try!
This...was...the...BEST...banana bread I have ever had!!! Yum, yum and yum. I used the weight measurements, a combo sunflower seed butter and tahini, bananas that were ripe but not very ripe, my homemade plant yogurt for the "milk" and arrowroot flour for the tapioca flour. Otherwise followed recipe as written. It wasn't easy but I restrained myself from adding an egg and cinnamon to the batter. So glad I did. Also, I want to compliment you on your photography which is extraordinary and thank you for spending the time to put together this site. lemon poppy seed cake is next on the agenda.
Alanna Taylor-Tobin says
Aw, thanks for the sweet words and rating. I'm so glad you loved the banana bread! Sunbutter and tahini sound delicious here, and homemade yogurt too - yum!