Healthy, Gluten-Free, Paleo Banana Almond Bread Recipe
Banana Bread That's Delicious, Nutritious, Moist and Healthy
Gluten-Free, Clean Eating, Wheat Belly, and Caveman / Paleo Diet Friendly
Many of us love eating really delicious food but have been moving toward healthier eating habits, limiting refined sugar, flour and other "empty" carbs to a minimum and substituting more nutritious raw, unrefined or minimally processed foods. That's how this delicious healthy banana almond bread recipe came about.
My version is adapted from the Almond Banana Bread recipe from Rachel at Bakerita, she says it itself "heavily adapted" from another recipe. I doubled the ingredients to produce a nice, tall loaf in a 9" x 5" loaf pan (Rachel's recipe calls for a 7" x 5" pan). To enhance the flavor, sweetness and moistness, I used very ripe, organic bananas, added an extra banana after doubling the ingredients, and increased the minimal amount of honey in the original recipe. For the crunchy topping, I added organic unsweetened shredded coconut and ground cinnamon to amp up the flavor, substituted unrefined coconut sugar for the optional turbinado sugar (personal preference), and pulsed the whole raw almonds together with the other topping ingredients in a food processor, which was quicker and easier than the previous method. Although the small amount of unrefined sugar is optional, if you aren't following the Wheat Belly or a strict Paleo diet, using it really adds a lot to the topping!
I also boosted the nutritional value and focused on minimally processed or refined ingredients, including raw organic honey, cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil, organic coconut flour, organic unblanched almond flour, and raw organic almonds.
Pan Toasting in Coconut Oil or Grass-Fed Butter Really Enhances the Flavor
My husband, who isn't fond of baked goods made with unrefined or minimally processed ingredients, enjoys a slice of this nutritious, gluten-free banana almond bread lightly pan toasted in a little melted coconut oil; use grass-fed butter for pan toasting, if you prefer. My new favorite brand is , which is cold pressed, unrefined, delicious, fresh, and as good as my other favorite, Nutiva organic, but much less expensive ounce for ounce. Island Fresh organic virgin coconut oil
Turn This Banana Bread Into a Delicious, "Clean Eating" Dessert
Buy an extra bunch of organic bananas on your next shopping trip and allow them to get very ripe so you can make this recipe, Better yet, buy two bunches and also make my creamy, decadent Vegan Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream recipe. A slice of this healthy banana almond bread topped with a scoop of vegan banana walnut chocolate chunk ice cream makes a wonderful dessert!
Secrets to Making This Paleo Banana Bread Moist
Bake this bread a few days in advance. If you slice it the same day you bake it, it's likely to be too dry. So wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for a day or two (or three) before cutting it. It will became moist and even more flavorful as it "ripens" inside that wrap. (If you can find a loaf-shaped food storage container with a snug lid, that should be fine, too, and more environmentally friendly than using plastic wrap.)
Honey is a natural humectant that attracts and retains moisture, so that's probably one of the reasons for the increase in moisture. My favorite honey to use for this (and everything else) is unfiltered, unheated, unprocessed from Y.S. Eco Bee Farms. It's also creamy and spreadable, and tastes great smeared on top of a slice of this bread. organic raw honey
Variations: Add Chopped Dates and/or Chopped Toasted Almonds to the Batter
Add Chopped Pitted Dates
The second time I made this banana bread, I decided to try adding 1/2 cup of chopped pitted dates to this bread batter to add moistness and natural sweetness. It was so yummy that I updated my recipe to make the chopped dates a permanent addition!
Add Chopped Almonds For Even More Flavor and Crunch
Adding some chopped, toasted almonds to the batter really enhances the taste and texture.
Tip: If you're not avoiding sugar altogether, make a batch of lightly candied almonds following the directions in my Healthier Candied Pecans or Candied Walnuts Recipe (but substituting the almonds for the other nuts). Then chop them somewhat coarsely (to avoid breaking off the coating) and add them to the them banana bread batter before baking. Awesome!
Healthy, Gluten-Free, Paleo Banana Almond Bread
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 1 hour
Serves: Approximately 12 to 16 slices
- Coconut oil for greasing loaf pan and silicone spatula
- FOR THE BANANA BREAD BATTER:
- 5 extremely ripe, medium bananas, preferably organic, peeled and mashed
- 4 Tbsp. cold-pressed organic virgin coconut oil, melted
- 3 to 4 Tbsp. raw honey
- 2 Tbsp. (yes, two tablespoons) pure vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups (8 oz. by weight) unblanched almond flour
- 1 cup (4 oz. by weight) organic coconut flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (Penzey's Cinnamon is the best I've ever tasted)
- 1/2 cup chopped dates (optional but highly recommended)
- FOR THE CRUNCHY ALMOND-COCONUT-CINNAMON TOPPING:
- 1/2 c. shelled organic raw almonds, unblanched / with skins
- 1 1/2 tsp. organic unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Optional: 1 1/2 tsp. raw / unrefined coconut sugar
- Start at least 3 days before you want to eat the banana bread. Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9" x 5" x 2¾" loaf pan with coconut oil.
- Place the peeled bananas into a large mixing bowl and either mash them well with a potato masher or fork or beat them at medium speed with an electric mixer until fairly smooth.
- Add the melted coconut oil, raw honey, vanilla extract and eggs to the mashed bananas and stir until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt and 2 teaspoons cinnamon, then stir (do not beat) the dry mixture gradually into the wet banana mixture until combined. Stir in the chopped dates. The batter will be very thick.
- Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan. Grease a silicone spatula with coconut oil and use it to smooth out the top of the batter.
- To prepare the crunchy almond-coconut-cinnamon topping, place the almonds, shredded coconut, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and the optional coconut sugar, if using, into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are coarsely chopped and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the loaf. Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pan and press the topping very firmly into the top of the batter; any topping that does not stick to the raw batter will not stick to the baked banana bread.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Insert a long toothpick, cake tester or thin, sharp knife blade into the center of the loaf. It if comes out pretty clean with barely any moist crumbs attached, remove the bread from the oven. If not, bake 5-10 minutes longer and test again (do not reinsert the tester into the previous hole). IMPORTANT: DO NOT OVERBAKE!
- Set the loaf pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the banana bread from the pan and place directly on the wire rack to finish cooling completely.
- Wrap the cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap and leave it on the counter at room temperature to "ripen" for three days (or up to five days) before slicing into the loaf.
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© 2014 Margaret Schindel