This vegan paleo banana bread gets its tender crumb from almond flour and cassava flour, sweetness from maple syrup and coconut sugar, and moist texture from nut butter, all studded with bittersweet chocolate flecks. Super moist, gooey, decadent-tasting, yet deceptively healthy. Thanks to Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post! Updated 11/17/2020.
I've made a lot of banana desserts in my time, but for some reason, this is the first banana bread recipe I've ever shared on TBG! It helps that it's the best banana bread I've ever had, and I've had many. It's super moist and tender, full of butterscotchy banana notes, and studded with loads of dark chocolate. It just happens to be free of grains, dairy, eggs, and refined sugar which makes it friendly to many diets. Most importantly for me, the elimination diet I've been on for months! I've made it 8 times in the last few weeks. They're short little loaves, but still – Jay and I can't stop.
Oddly enough, I actually adapted this recipe from this vegan paleo chocolate chip cookie formula. I had some overripe bananas and wondered whether adding in banana, plant milk, and extra leavening would make a tasty banana bread. I was blown over by the results! If you give this recipe a try, I hope you are too.
This grain-free banana bread recipe is part of a year-long partnership with Bob's Red Mill. Since I was a youngster in my mom's kitchen poking my nose into bags of buckwheat and rye, I've loved experimenting with their abundance of alternative flours. I even wrote a whole cookbook about Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flours (plus a few other flours too). Lately I've been exploring new-to-me cassava flour since going on a grain-free elimination diet, and I'm loving it! Stay tuned for more cassava recipes on TBG.
Vegan Paleo Banana Bread Ingredients & Substitution Suggestions
- Naturally, this recipe starts with bananas! Make sure they're nice and ripe – yellow with black spots. I've also used frozen overripe bananas, defrosted and mashed, and they work like a charm! One time I even used a very ripe (read: black) plantain and it was delicious, with a slightly milder flavor. You can also swap the banana for canned pumpkin and have paleo vegan chocolate chip pumpkin bread! Yum.
- Nut butter forms of the base of this recipe. I use cashew butter, which gives the bread luscious caramel notes, but almond butter works wonderfully too. I'm guessing you could make a nut-free version by using tahini or another seed butter (be warned: sunbutter may turn the batter green!)
- Melted coconut oil adds richness. You can also use ghee for a non-vegan option.
- Maple syrup and coconut sugar sweeten and moisten the batter, adding rich toffee notes.
- Vanilla perfumes the batter and salt sharpens the flavors.
- Plant milk adds moisture. I've been making my own nut milks at home, but anything will work – almond, coconut, oat, or even water.
- Blanched almond flour and cassava flour work together to create a moist, tender crumb. Tapioca flour adds a bit of chew. I use Bob's Red Mill for all three, which can be ordered online or found in your local healthy foodie store. You can use Bob's hazelnut meal or natural almond flour in place of the blanched almond flour, or try tiger nut flour for a nut-free option. 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.
- Bittersweet chocolate studs the dough. I use Hu Kitchen chocolate here, which is sweetened with coconut sugar. If you prefer to leave it out you can, or swap in some toasted pecans or other nuts instead.
Cassava Flour Banana Bread
Cassava comes from the root of the yuca plant which has been used traditionally in cuisines of South America, Asia, and Africa. It's recently gained popularity throughout the West in grain-free diets. Cassava is also prebiotic, meaning that it helps to create a happy home for good bacteria in your gut.
The fine, starchy flour is a joy to bake with. I've found that it blends well with a coarser flour, such as almond flour, coconut flour, or tiger nut flour in baking recipes. Here, it helps the banana bread hold together and gives it a smooth, moist, springy crumb.
How to Make Paleo Banana Bread
This recipe could not get any easier. Simply whisk together the wet ingredients, sift in the dry ingredients, and stir in the chocolate. I like to bake my banana bread in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper for easy removal. Bake until a tester comes out with moist crumbs. Let the bread cool until warm – it's still baking from residual heat – then cut into thick slices and enjoy.
How to Store Banana Bread
This vegan paleo banana bread stores beautifully:
- at room temperature for up to 2 days
- refrigerated for up to 1 week (bring to room temperature or warm in a toaster oven for best results)
- frozen for up to several months (but...why? How?)
Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread... or not!
In my opinion, banana bread is just a vessel for chocolate. But if you prefer your vegan paleo banana bread chocolate-free, you can leave it off and just enjoy the light, butterscotchy notes of this bread without the earthy flavor of chocolate getting in the way.
Paleo Banana Bread Muffins
To make muffins, divide the batter between 9 or 10 individual muffin cups with paper liners, filling them about two-thirds full. Decrease the baking time as needed; begin testing for doneness at 25 minutes.
More recipes for banana lovers:
- Grain-Free Banana Bread with Cinnamon & Nuts
- Gluten-Free Banana Cake with Ganache
- Banana Cream Tart in a GF Cocoa Crust
- Gluten-Free Buckwheat Banana Muffins
More recipes with almond flour:
- Gluten-Free Almond Flour Tart Crust
- Almond Flour Pancakes with Citrus and Honey
- Gluten-Free Olive Oil Cake
More vegan paleo dessert recipes:
- Vegan Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Tart
- No-Bake Vegan Lemon Tart with Berries
- No-Bake Vegan Brownies with Hazelnuts & Ganache
- Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
*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 vegan paleo banana bread recipe, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet.*
Chocolate-Flecked Grain-Free Vegan Banana BreadPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 3 tablespoons (35 g) melted coconut oil (or ghee for non-vegan)
- ½ cup (130 g) room temperature cashew butter (or try tahini for nut-free, or almond or peanut butter)
- ¼ cup (80 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)
- 2 tablespoons (27 g) plant milk
- ½ teaspoon GF vanilla extract
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill cassava flour (55 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)
- 2 tablespoons (15 g) tapioca flour (or more cassava flour)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 ounces (85 g) coarsely chopped vegan bittersweet chocolate (preferably 65-75% cacao mass), plus some extra chunks for the top
- 1 banana quartered lengthwise, for the top
- 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.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the nut butter, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and coconut oil until smooth. Whisk in the banana, plant milk, and vanilla until smooth.
- 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, then stir in the chocolate.
- Scrape the batter into the pan. Top with two of the banana quarters and sprinkle with a few chunks of chocolate.
- Bake until a tester inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs, 40-50 minutes. Let cool to warm or room temperature, remove from the pan, and peel away the parchment.
- Slice and devour with a cold glass of plant milk.