This easy vegan chocolate and walnut banana bread is oil-free, low in refined sugar, and packed with chocolate chips, walnuts, cherries, and so full of flavour.
It’s a rule in my house that if I have bananas that have gotten super ripe (when they’re at least 50% brown and probably a few days from going ‘bad’) one of two things will happen: they get chopped up and frozen for smoothies, or they get mashed up and turned into banana bread.
As you can tell from the title of the post, this time around, they became banana bread.
I sort of stumbled across this recipe because I just wanted to use up the bananas I had and searched my cupboards for inspiration.
I had apple sauce in the fridge, walnuts, agave syrup, and glace cherries in the cupboard, and (always) cacao powder and chia seeds to hand. So, this amazingly moist, flavourful, oil-free and low in refined sugar vegan banana bread was born.
Making banana bread oil, dairy, and egg-free and low in refined sugar
Describing a banana bread recipe as oil-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and low in refined sugar may lead some people to one conclusion: it tastes gross.
Well, you’d be 100% wrong for thinking that! This recipe uses clever substitutions to make it healthier and actually more delicious than many ‘traditional’ banana bread recipes I’ve made before.
This banana bread is:
- Packed with flavour
- Naturally sweetened with agave syrup, apple sauce, chocolate chips, bananas, and cherries
- Higher in protein with the addition of chia seeds and walnuts
- An amazing treat that’s better for you
The substitution that makes this vegan chocolate and walnut banana bread butter and oil-free is apple sauce, which also naturally sweetens the loaf meaning less brown sugar is required.
This recipe also uses a chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds + 2.5 tbsp water) to bind the ingredients together in place of an egg.
Finally, I added a little agave syrup (you could also use maple syrup) to the recipe so I could use the smallest amount of brown sugar possible. It would be possible to cut out the brown sugar altogether if you don’t mind a less-sweet loaf, although adding more agave syrup might slightly change the texture.
Making this vegan chocolate and walnut banana loaf
To make this banana loaf, you’ll start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees C | 350 degrees F and lining a loaf tin with baking paper.
Then, make your chia egg in a small bowl and set aside so it can thicken. The chia seeds take on an almost ‘gel’ like texture making it the perfect substitution for an egg. I’ve also used flax seeds in the past which work equally well.
Next, add all the dry ingredients (oats, almond flour, plain flour, baking powder, brown sugar, cacao powder) to a mixing bowl and combine. In a separate bowl, you’ll mix the wet ingredients (bananas, apple sauce, vanilla essence, chia egg, agave syrup) and add these to the dry mix.
Once combined, stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts, and cherries if using. If you wanted to add any other nuts, seeds, etc, stir them in now. I like to reserve a few chocolate chips and chopped walnuts to sprinkle over the top.
Sometimes, your mix may require a little more liquid to bring it together. If this is the case, adding a tablespoon of plant-based milk at a time is my recommendation, until the batter comes together. It will be fairly runny but should not be too watery.
Shout out to the Minimalist Baker, who’s simple one-bowl banana bread recipe inspired me to use a mix of oats, almond flour, and plain flour for extra flavour and texture in this loaf!
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup oats
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 20 g cacao powder
- 40 g vegan dark chocolate chips
- 30 g chopped walnuts
- 1 chia egg (1 tbsp chia seeds + 2.5 water)
- 50 g apple sauce
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp agave syrup
- 20g dried cherries (glace or morello are good)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C | 350 degrees F and line a loaf tin
- Make your chia egg and set aside to thicken for 10 minutes
- Add all the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix together
- In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients and combine.
- Add the chocolate chips, walnuts, and anything else you want to add
- If the mix is a little too dry, add a bit of plant-based milk to bring it together.
- Pour the batter into a loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
This recipe is really versatile and easy to adjust according to what you have in the cupboard - if you are adapting the recipe, I recommend eyeballing the mix and adding more plant-based milk if needed to bring the mix together.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 61mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 4gSugar: 15gProtein: 6g