I know, I know, my blog doesn’t need another banana bread recipe, but what can I say? I just love banana bread and it’s such a versatile cake. Every banana bread recipe I have ever made is different. This recipe, in particular, is a healthy take on the classic fruit bread. If you have any dietary requirements, you’ll be pleased to know this banana bread is gluten free and it can easily be made dairy free and paleo.
The recipe is adapted from Henrietta Inman‘s The Natural Baker, a new cookbook by the talented British pastry chef (and follow up to her debut book Clean Cakes), which celebrates ancient grains, natural sweeteners and whole, nutritious ingredients.
I received a copy of The Natural Baker to review and I immediately loved it as soon as I started looking through its pages. Usually when I read a new cookbook, I’m drawn towards one or two dishes I want to make, but with Henrietta’s book it was more like all of them!
From halloumi-stuffed bread to chocolate glazed tart and everything in between, all The Natural Baker’s recipes look fantastic. I love how Henrietta re-invented some of the more traditional British recipes, bringing in heritage flours and intriguing combinations of fruits, herbs and spices.
This cookbook is definitely a keeper!
I wanted to bake one of the most unusual recipes first, but in the end it was a classic banana bread I chose (although there is nothing “classic” about this recipe). I had almost all the ingredients ready at home (what I didn’t have, I swapped for a similar one). Most importantly, I had a bowl filled with ripened bananas: the universal sign for “bake banana bread today”.
While the cookbook celebrates real food and unrefined ingredients, this is not another “clean eating” recipe book. The banana bread recipe called for coconut oil, which I love using in baking, however in this case I decided to replace it with salted butter (a deliciously creamy Cornish butter I had in the fridge). And that’s fine. Real food is amazing, delicious, and heathy!
Other changes to the original recipes are pecans (instead of walnuts), chia seeds (instead of flax seed) and the addition of dates (just another ingredient I had in my fridge which needed to be consumed).
I call this “healthy” banana bread: the nut and spice flavours are strong here, while the consistency is dense and wet from the fruits. It is not a dessert cake, such as this Pecan and Dark Chocolate Banana Bread. The texture and taste is very similar to this paleo cake I baked a few years ago (while I was on the Whole30 diet).
This gluten free Almond, Pecan, Date and Chia Seed Banana Bread doesn’t have chocolate or sugar to satisfy sweet cravings, but one slice in the morning with a cup of coffee makes for the perfect breakfast (or afternoon break).
- 100g salted butter, melted, plus more for the tin (optional: replace with coconut oil)
- 100g pecans, plus a handful more for decoration
- 100g ground almonds
- pinch of salt
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100g oats
- 100g chia seeds
- 100g runny honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 450g ripe bananas
- 80g dates, chopped
Pre-heat the oven at 180°C. Grease a loaf bread tin (I used a 900g/2lb) and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Grind the pecan nuts until fine. Combine the ground pecan, ground almonds, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add oats and chia seeds. Process to combine, using a spatula to scrape the ingredients off the bottom of the bowl.
Add the melted butter, honey, vanilla extract and dates. Process to combine. Mash the bananas using a fork, then add to the mix. Process until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin, adding a handful of pecans on the top for decoration. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C, rotate the tin and bake for a further 30-35 minutes (check the bread regularly in the last 10 minutes). The bread is ready when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Leave the bread to cool in the tin, then transfer onto a wire rack.
Keep in airtight container for a few days, up to a week. You can also keep it in the fridge and warm it in the oven before serving.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book to review. All opinions are my own.