Vegan Banana Bread Basics, Benefits and Recipes
Banana bread is a perfect comfort food - delicious, easy to make, and even better on the second day. Whether you’re stuck at home and want to whip up something warm, sweet, and satisfying, or just need a way to use up some brown bananas, making banana bread is a simple process with an undeniably tasty result.
Traditional banana bread recipes often include ingredients like eggs, butter, and sometimes even milk or yogurt. If you’re trying to follow a plant-based diet, however, there are plenty of ways to swap out these ingredients for healthy, plant-based alternatives.
Vegan Banana Bread: The Basics
Banana bread typically requires a few simple ingredients:
- Fat or oil
- Eggs or another binding agent
- Baking soda, salt, and spices
- Optional extras
While not all of these are inherently vegan-friendly, banana bread is an incredibly versatile recipe and you can easily substitute other ingredients in place of butter, eggs, and more.
When it comes to banana bread, you want your bananas to be soft and brown, but not spoiled. In general, the softer the better - this means that the bananas will be sweeter and will mix more easily with the other ingredients. If you have green or yellow bananas and are still craving banana bread, don’t worry - ripe bananas will do fine in the recipe, although they may result in a somewhat less sweet, moist loaf. If you’re making vegan banana bread, consider adding an extra banana or two to the mix in place of eggs - they’ll act as a substitute binding ingredient and result in a moist, delicious loaf.
While many standard banana bread recipes call for plain white all-purpose flour, you can feel free to get creative and replace white flour with healthier whole-grain alternatives. Banana bread made with whole wheat flour is somewhat thicker and denser, with a satisfying heft. You can also experiment with flour made from other whole grains, like teff, millet, quinoa, and more.
Banana bread can be made with regular white sugar, but you can also swap that for brown sugar, honey, molasses, other healthier sweeteners, or even dates! Sugar adds sweetness to the banana bread and makes it more cake-like. If you’d like to experiment with a more savory loaf, feel free to halve the sugar required by the recipe.
What to Use Instead of Butter for Vegan Banana Bread
Most traditional recipes for banana bread call for a stick or two of butter. If you’re trying to stick to a plant-based diet, however, there are plenty of healthier alternatives. You can substitute vegetable oil, liquid coconut oil, vegan butter, or even applesauce in place of butter. If the recipe calls for salted butter and you use a plant-based alternative, it’s a good idea to add another pinch of salt to the recipe as well.
What to Use Instead of Eggs for Vegan Banana Bread
Eggs can be one of the trickiest ingredients to replace in vegan-friendly, plant-based recipes. However, unlike some more finicky baked goods, banana bread thrives on creative experimentation. In the place of eggs, you can use an extra banana, a vegan egg substitute, applesauce, or ground flaxseeds.
Baking Soda, Salt, and Spices
Baking soda helps banana bread rise while it’s baking, and salt and spices help to provide flavor. You can use table salt, sea salt, or another other kind of salt you have lying around your kitchen. For spices, you can go the traditional route and include a dash of vanilla extract, or you can add other baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and more.
While banana bread is delicious on its own, feel free to add other things to the recipe that suit your fancy. Many people like to add nuts like walnuts or pecans. You can also add oats to the recipe for a denser, nuttier loaf, or sprinkle oats on top of the loaf for a little decorative crunch. You can even add other ingredients like vegan chocolate chips, cocoa powder, peanut butter, shredded coconut, or citrus zest. Feel free to experiment with different combinations and see which you like best!
Not only are bananas delicious, but they’re also packed full of health benefits! Bananas are a nutritious addition to a plant-based diet, whether you eat them on their own or use them in recipes like banana bread. Some of the many benefits of bananas include:
1. High in Antioxidants
Bananas are high in antioxidants, which can help to promote cellular health and reduce harmful free radicals. Antioxidants can even help to ward off certain types of cancer and other degenerative diseases. In particular, bananas are extremely high in dopamine, which is present in both ripe and unripe bananas.
2. High in Potassium
Bananas are also high in potassium, which can help to reduce blood pressure and even prevent strokes. Because it is an electrolyte, potassium can also help with hydration, help regulate muscle and heart contractions, and improve heart health. Whether you’re an athlete looking to boost your performance, or just want to increase your potassium intake, a banana is a great way to do so!
3. High in Magnesium
Bananas are also high in magnesium, which can help to increase energy, regulate your nervous system, and even fight depression. If you’re an athlete, magnesium can also boost your athletic performance and improve muscle function.
4. May Reduce the Risk of Stroke
In addition to their many other benefits, bananas may help to prevent strokes. This is largely due to their potassium content, since low levels of potassium are associated with higher stroke risks.
The Best Vegan Banana Bread Recipes
Looking for a great banana bread recipe? In most cases, you can use your own or your grandma’s favorite banana bread recipe, swapping out ingredients like butter and eggs for healthy, plant-based alternatives. If you’re looking for a little extra guidance, along with tips and tricks for making vegan-friendly banana bread, we recommend the vegan recipes below:
- The Minimalist Baker - This banana bread recipe is both vegan and gluten-free, without sacrificing an ounce of flavor. It includes flaxseeds, almond butter, avocado oil, and coconut sugar as healthy, plant-based alternatives to traditional banana bread ingredients.
- The Loopy Whisk - This delicious banana bread contains chocolate chips and toasted pecans for a sweet, nutty twist on a classic. The recipe relies on three whole bananas and a little vegetable oil in place of eggs and butter, and includes ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.
- Sweet Simple Vegan - This simple recipe only requires one bowl, and what’s not to love about that! Flaxseed, coconut oil, and coconut sugar are subbed in place of less healthy ingredients.