Chocolate-Flecked Banana Bread {grain-free, vegan, naturally sweetened, paleo-friendly}

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!

Loaf of vegan paleo banana bread, sliced

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.

Ingredients for vegan paleo banana bread recipe with chocolate

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.

Wet ingredients for vegan paleo banana bread recipe in a bowl

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.

Whisking the batter for vegan paleo banana bread recipe

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.

Stirring chocolate into the batter for grain-free banana bread

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 vegan banana bread, ready to be baked

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.

Vegan almond flour banana bread, fresh from the oven

Paleo Banana Bread Muffins

To make muffins, bake the batter in individual muffin cups with paper liners filled two-thirds of the way. Decrease the baking time as needed.

Sliced loaf of cassava flour banana bread

Side angle of sliced loaf of paleo chocolate chip banana bread

More recipes for banana lovers:

More recipes with almond flour:

More vegan paleo dessert recipes:

Pieces of vegan paleo banana bread no eggs on a plate

*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.*

5 from 7 votes

Chocolate-Flecked Grain-Free Vegan Banana Bread

Print Recipe  /  Pin Recipe
Super moist, gooey, decadent-tasting, yet deceptively healthy. You can leave the chocolate off if you prefer, or add in chopped toasted pecans.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 slices

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerate for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage. 
Nutrition facts are for 1 of 8 servings.

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

Gluten-free banana bread with almond flour, sliced on a platter

Healthy banana bread with almond flour, sliced, with tea

Sliced vegan almond flour banana bread, side view

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17 thoughts on “Chocolate-Flecked Banana Bread {grain-free, vegan, naturally sweetened, paleo-friendly}”

  1. Looks delicious! I’m so curious why you are trying a grain free diet. I may be next to go down this road because even though I no longer have gluten or dairy in my diet, I still have challenges in feeling my absolute best. You know, in my digestive track 😉

    1. Yes, I feel you. I’m working with Alison (Food by Mars) because I was getting too many colds that were lasting a long time and felt something was off with my immune system. I got a food allergy test and had enough sensitivities that she suspected leaky gut, which can result from gut inflammation, which dairy and grains can cause. My mom has found that she needs to eat dairy free and grain-free in order to be healthy, so when Alison suggested eliminating those foods, it sounded like a good idea.

      If you want to chat more, feel free to email me!

  2. I can’t wait to try this—just too hot here to use the oven right now. :-( Got some cassava flour last week and am dying to use it. Just to verify: is this GF as written?

    Thanks!!!

    1. Aw I feel you! In San Francisco we get our hot summer weather in October haha. It’s perfect baking weather here now! Please let me know if you give this a go (maybe at night when it’s cooler?) Yes it’s GF as written! :)

    2. I’m so excited to try this recipe out! I’ve been in love with your baking, and TBG for about seven years now. In that time, my husband and I have gone through multiple elimination diets to try and figure out what the root cause of his headache/GI unhappiness was. Doctors never found a diagnosis other than dysbiosis (and we suspected leaky gut). Eating mostly grain and and entirely dairy free, and staying that way, has been the most helpful thing. I’ve been experimenting with your recipes for years adapting them to our diet at the time… I’m sorry for the reasons that are behind yo ur dietary shift… but delighted to see paleo/grain free/vegan recipes! It’s all the more exciting because of how you always break down what e different recipe elements do alchemically- which has helped me grow so much as a home-baker. After all that a quick question- I was stoked to see you mention sweet rice flour or an all purpose GF blend as a substitute for the cassava here. My mom just gifted me a copy of “Alternative Baker” (loving it!). But we can’t do rice flour or any kind- and it’s really the backbone of many of the recipes. I’m curious if you think cassava could be a fair stand in most of the time? Maybe with some tapioca or arrowroot or ground chia as an extra binding factor? I would love to see how you would do a paleo/grain free/vegan pie crust for instance. I’m sorry I wrote an essay. I really do adore your work, and really love the artistry of how you both combine flavors and textures, and teach how to think about ingredients! So much love and appreciation your way!
      Best of luck with the elimination diet!

      1. Aw thank you so much for these kind words and for following along all these years! This means so much to me. It’s great to know that a mostly grain-free and dairy-free diet has been helpful for you and your husband, that’s wonderful!

        To answer your question, yes I do think cassava flour could stand in for sweet rice in many of my recipes! I have on my to-do list to try grain-free versions of both my pie crust and tart crust. I’ll be sure to let you know if I do! Please let me know if you test any out as well. Or if you want to be a beta tester, shoot me an email at alanna@bojongourmet.com and I can send ideas your way!

        1. Follow up- made this recipe and loved it! We subbed half tahini/half almond butter, as we didn’t have cashew butter made up. Also subbed half organic turbinado sugar and coconut sugar, as we were out of maple syrup (same measurement). Turned into the best banana bread *ever.* not too sweet, and such lovely flavors, hooray! And of course I’d love to beta-test! That sounds like such fun-I will email you! I really will be experimenting with grain free, vegan pie crusts in the next while. We bought 18 lb of organic cherries, froze them, and I aim to have a cherry pie my husband can eat on my bday in August :). Thanks again!

          1. Let’s make that grain-free vegan cherry pie happen! That sounds absolutely amazing. I’ve been testing paleo vegan cobbler and I hope to have a recipe to share soon. Thanks so much for trying my recipes, it means so much to me!

  3. Mmm can’t stop eating it! I used crunchy peanut butter and whole dairy milk and that worked wonderfully. It’s definitely on the moist gooey side, not as clean and sturdy of a slice as other banana breads that use grains and eggs, but it’s absoluteness delicious. I maybe pulled it out of the oven a touch early so if I make it again I might try to go a bit longer and see if that firms it up. I used all maple syrup, didn’t have coconut sugar on hand. In the past using cassava flour my results have turned out a bit too gummy, but this blend with almond flour did not. Thanks!

    1. Update: keeping it in the fridge gives it a sturdier, drier, more traditional banana bread texture. Also just ate the last piece and tempted to make another one immediately.

      1. Aw I’m so glad you like it! Yes I’ve been storing mine in the fridge too and it does firm up nicely in there! Please let me know if you make it again. You could also try adding another tablespoon of cassava flour. It’s possible that the extra maple syrup adds more moisture than the coconut sugar.

  4. Made this for breakfast this morning and it was so delicious! I absolutely adore your vegan/GF recipes…. please keep them coming! This was my first time working with cassava flour and I really enjoyed the combo with almond flour and tapioca flour.

  5. I love your cookbook and recommend it to people wanting to try gluten- or grain-free baking all the time. I’ve often wondered why you didn’t have a banana bread recipe so I’m looking forward to trying this. I have all recipes on hand -except bananas!

    1. I do wish I’d put in more classic recipes, so I’m making up for it on TBG! Please let me know if you give this one a go. There are also banana muffins on the site, linked in the post. :)

  6. I’m enjoying the fruits of your recent dietary change! =) I hope it continues to go well for you.
    I have admired your blog and recipes for quite some time, but this was the recipe that made me take the plunge and bake. It did not disappoint! I loved the way the flavors came together. It’s a light and flavorful banana bread. I resisted the chocolate temptation since my tastebuds and body don’t agree and added walnuts instead. Absolutely delicious, this recipe is a keeper. Thank you. I’ll be baking it again this week.