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Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread – Gluten-free and Vegan

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Double chocolate banana bread is an easy bake full of rich and dense chocolate flavor from cocoa and chocolate chips. This chocolate banana bread is gluten-free, vegan, and has no added sugar.

On overhead shot of banana bread and it's ingredients.

Banana bread is an excellent pastry for many occasions. It tastes terrific at breakfast or brunch and is a great healthy snack. It’s also so quick and easy to bake that it has made its way into my heart as one of my all-time favorite baked goods. 

Chocolate banana bread is an absolute classic in a wide range of banana bread flavors.

Sometimes, I feel this is necessary to point out for my international readers: banana bread is no bread, but a sweet cake baked in a loaf of bread, a kind of bundt cake. But wonderfully soft and moist.

Three slices of banana bread.

Notes on ingredients

Bananas

Use very ripe bananas. Even bananas that have already turned all brown are suitable for banana bread.

The riper the banana, the sweeter it is. You can’t bake with green(ish) bananas. Spots at least are required on the peel.

Chocolate

This banana bread is a double chocolate banana bread. Both cocoa powder and chocolate chips are added to the dough.

I usually use raw cacao powder but alkalized cocoa powder for baking works just as well. Dutch-processed cocoa powder gives banana bread a very dark color.

What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa, you might be wondering. Well, not much. The raw, unroasted cacao beans and products are usually referred to as cacao, and the processed and roasted products are cocoa.

Another chocolate in double chocolate bread is chocolate chips. If you manage to get sugar-free chips in your hands, use them. Otherwise, just plain, dark chocolate chips go well.

On overhead shot of five slices of banana bread on a plate.

Sweetening

Banana bread doesn’t need extra sweetening of any kind, but I’ve added a bit of date to this bread, which is very sugary.

Use fresh dates. Remove the stones before pureeing the dates.

You can replace the dates with coconut sugar; 1/3 cup is enough.

Or you can leave them out altogether. In either case, reduce the amount of flour by 30 grams.

Yogurt

Keep the bread vegan and use plant-based yogurt.

Yogurt adds nice moisture and a little acidity that helps the raising ingredient work its magic while the cake is in the oven. Yogurt also replaces the oil often added to banana bread to add moisture.

Banana bread and it's ingredients.

Pecans

Pecans added to the dough make the bread luxurious.

The nuts can be replaced with hazelnuts or walnuts or just left out, and nothing needs to be added to replace them.

Flour

The light or dark flour mixes work both well. Choose a 1:1 gluten-free flour to avoid any disasters.

Or try gluten-free oat flour alone. Oats make this cake even healthier and help keep your blood sugar under better control.

If you can eat gluten, you can also try whole wheat flour or spelt wheat.

Spice

A loaf of good banana bread always needs some spice, at least a little cinnamon and vanilla.

I love cardamom, so I used it too. Cardamom is not for everyone and can very well be left out.

Five slices of vegan chocolate banana bread on a pale grey ceramic plate. Lot of negative space.

Baking tips

Easy to make

Banana bread is easy to make without any electric equipment using just a fork and two bowls, but bananas and dates are most easily mixed in a food processor that you can use to make the whole batter.

First, puree the bananas and dates in the food processor and add the rest of the wet ingredients. Then weigh in the dry ingredients and pulse until combined.

Make ahead

Banana bread keeps moist and delicious on a countertop for a couple of days wrapped in plastic. 

You can keep the loaf in a fridge for about a week, wrapped in plastic.

Cut the cake in slices, freeze them separated, and put them in a freezer bag once frozen. Thaw the slices in the fridge. That way, you can thaw just the amount you need. You can conserve banana bread in the freezer for up to three months.

See also these nice banana bread recipes:

An action shot of cutting banana bread.

Nordic notes on this recipe

I feel banana bread is a pure American bake, but we have baked it for as long as I remember. So I could say a good loaf of banana bread has definitely made its way into the Nordic kitchens and to be a baking norm also taught in schools here.

Bananas don’t obviously grow here in Scandinavia, but I don’t think they grow in Northern America either, so we are even, haha.

Healthy Double Chocolate Banana Bread

Vegan and gluten-free banana bread
Prep time10 mins
Cooking time50 mins
Total time1 hr
Category: Baking
American
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 105.36kcal

Ingredients

  • 450 g ripe bananas
  • 100 g fresh dates
  • 100 ml plan-based yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 150 g gluten-free flour blend
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoons cardamom

Instructions

  • Preheat ovet to 185 C / 350 F.
  • Peel the bananas and pit the dates.
  • Put the bananas and dates into a food processor and pulse until pureed.
  • Add the yogurt and vanilla paste into puree and use the processor until mixed well.
  • Measure all the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and combine together with a whisk.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the food processor and churn until the ingredients are well mixed into a dough.
  • Line a loaf tin or oil a non-stick tin.
  • Pour the dough into the tin and spread with a spatula if necessary.
  • Bake for about 40-50 minutes.

Tips

You can add the pecans and chocolate chips in the dough with other dry ingredients and mix with a food processor. Some of the chips and pecans will be cut.
Or you can add these to in the dough the last. In that case, pour the dough into a bowl and add the chips and pecans into the bowl and mix.
The baking time is only an estimate, every oven is different.
The nutrition values are only an estimate for one slice of banana bread when cut into 12 slices.

Nutrition

Calories: 105.36kcal (5%) | Carbohydrates: 25.24g (8%) | Protein: 2.25g (5%) | Fat: 0.9g (1%) | Saturated Fat: 0.2g (1%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.15g | Sodium: 55.7mg (2%) | Potassium: 219.79mg (6%) | Fiber: 3.4g (14%) | Sugar: 11.23g (12%) | Vitamin A: 37.16IU (1%) | Vitamin C: 4.39mg (5%) | Calcium: 60.36mg (6%) | Iron: 0.89mg (5%)

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