gluten-free, date-sweetened banana bread

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We have a customer at my store named Jim.

Jim comes in every morning for his coffee.

He helps us put the patio furniture out each day because it’s heavy.

He keeps us entertained during slow periods by reading us news items from his tablet.

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He complains about the music because he only likes old classics like Neil Young.

He gives you a ride home on his delivery route so you don’t have to take a cab.

He eats his oatmeal, not because he likes it but because he’s trying to be healthy.

He brings you gigantic boxes full of bananas (76 to be exact) so that you can freeze them and have smoothies every morning (okay, he only did this once).

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And since I’m doing this sugar-free challenge, it seemed like the perfect time to make up some healthy, sugar-free banana bread to show him my thanks!

So Jim, this banana bread is for you!

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Gluten-Free, Date-Sweetened Banana Bread (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

This banana bread is wonderfully sweet despite there being no added sweeteners! The teff flour adds a nutty sweetness and the walnuts give it great crunch. This is packed with fibre from the whole-grain flours and the dates, heart healthy fats from the walnuts and coconut oil and lots of spicy goodness from the cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve warm with a pat of coconut oil or a vegan butter alternative for an afternoon treat or a delicious addition to breakfast!

Make 1 loaf or 12 slices.

  • 2/3 cup teff flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seen + 3 tbsp water
  • 3 bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup dates (I used California dates)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) walnuts, chopped

Soak the dates in the almond milk overnight. In the morning blend them together along with the bananas and cider vinegar until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf tin.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the banana mixture, chia and coconut oil into the dry and mix until completely combined. Don’t worry about over mixing the batter- those are wheat’s issues ;)

Fold the walnuts into the batter. Pour into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour 15 min or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Flip the loaf onto a cooling tray and let cool a few minutes. Serve warm.

I found that when served at room temperature there was a slight graininess detectable, probably from the teff flour. It didn’t bother me at all, but just in case, I thought I’d mention it. This completely goes away when heated.

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I forgot how good Earth Balance is…nice for a treat :)

And in case you are all wondering, Jim loved this bread :) And he’s a self-proclaimed lover of all things unhealthy and hater of healthy foods. So it’s gotta be good!

I am submitting this post to Allergy Free Wednesdays!

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59 thoughts on “gluten-free, date-sweetened banana bread

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  7. Aww! I like Jim! He sounds like the perfect regular (I know sometimes you can get some interesting ones), and how sweet are you for baking him this awesome bread? I love the date aspect of it too- dates and bananas would be a great combo! :-)

    • Haha thanks he is one of the goods ones! He can be cranky and grumpy but it’s kind of endearing lol.

      You’re right some of the regulars are definitely different lol. It’s nice to have good ones to balance them out ;)

      It is a fantastic combo- their flavours really go well together making it seem super-banana-y!

  8. Jim sounds like a dude! Any one that likes Neil Young is OK with me :) This looks fab, Gabby, I’ve never tried Teff flour before, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. YUM, walnuts are SO good in banana bread :) Hey, are you feeling any better?

    • Jim is a solid guy that’s for sure, and ya totally with Neil Young. Turns out me an him went to the same Neil Young concert a while back which I thought was hilarious lol.

      I love teff flour- gives a great colour and flavour to baked goods! I have only ever seen it at health foods stores here, but that’s not really saying anything, that’s where most things are here ;)

      Still around the same. I got myself some omega 3 and B12 supplements that I just starting to see if they help. Working with the doctor has been slow and frustrating so we’ll see how this goes! Thanks hun :)

  9. I love the idea of using dates instead of sugar or stevia. I will have to try this out since dates are my new sweetener of choice!
    Have you tried the Earth Balance coconut spread? It is so good and so much better than their butter alternative. I don’t use it all that often but always have it on hand…just in case ;-)

    • I love that with dates you get fiber and some nutrients. Plus they have an awesome earthy sweetness that you can’t get anywhere else!

      I haven’t tried that spread, although I’ve wanted to since it came out! I’ve seen it but have had a tub of regular earth balance in my fridge for a while which needs to go first. I will definitely pick some up now :)

  10. Wow – lucky Jim! Both for getting to hang out at your shop every morning AND for getting this amazing looking treat baked just for him! I bet you made his day with this one…it looks delicious! :)

  11. Wow, this bread looks AMAZING. Gooey and fudgy and delicious. Jim needs to hook me up with a boxful of bananas. ha 76? That’s insane! Awesome though, because frozen bananas taste better in my opinion.

  12. Hi Gabby! This looks so tasty and I was just looking for a way to use up bananas. Curious about the flours though… would this work by substituting whole wheat flour for the entire amount of flour or are the special flours a necessity?

    Hope all is well!

    • Hey Mandy! Thanks for the lovely comment!

      I definitely think you could sub whole wheat- it will probably rise more, which is awesome! You might need to adjust the amounts a bit to get the right consistency. Should be about the thickness of muffin batter.

      Let me know how it works out!

    • Thanks Kibby! You have no idea how excited I was when he brought me these. He had 2 more crates that I could have taken but I wouldn’t have had the room. It hurt me a little to have to turn more down!

      Hope you like the bread :)

  13. Jim sounds pretty awesome and sweet! I remember when you posted about the big box of bananas and I though- how is incredible is that :), I love how this bread relies on natural sweeteners – it looks amazing!

    Okay question – what exactly is teff flour?

    • Thanks Heather! Teff is just another gluten-free grain- it looks kind of like amaranth but darker. I found it in my health food store- it’s got a great sweet nuttiness to it :) It’s also a pretty awesome grain from a nutritional standpoint. I’ve seen packs of the grain itself for sale at health stores and always mean to pick some up and give it a try. I expect it makes a good porridge.

      Hope you’re having a good day :)

  14. I’m a little confused by your challenge… dates have around 27g of sugar in 3-4 dates, and bananas are around 30g per banana! This bread is loaded with sugar. It’s definitely healthier in the long run to use natural sugars, but sugar is sugar is sugar. If you’re eating all the fruit and dates you want, you won’t see any changes or health benefits from a “sugar-free” challenge. The challenge would be to cut it all out except for liquid stevia. Your body with definitely go through some withdrawal and do some serious cleansing that way!

    • Hi Kim! I can definitely understand your confusion there. This sugar-free challenge is about processed sweeteners such as agave, maple syrup and stevia and of course sugar. While I definitely agree that bananas and dates are high in sugar, this sugar is natural and unrefined and accompanied but vitamins , minerals and fiber as opposed to other sweeteners. While I definitely would not recommend eating this bread all the time, because as you said, the natural sugars are still high and would still create a spike in blood sugar, this challenge is about finding whole alternatives for sweetness.

      I have done a challenge more in line with what you describe where I even took out fruits. While I do see the benefits to living this way, I didn’t find it completely sustainable for me. Yes, I could consume less and have discussed this on the blog before. I don’t eat things like this all the time (I only had 1 slice of this) and do try and keep even my natural sugars down. This recipe isn’t indicative of everything I eat throughout this challenge or in the rest of my life. It’s a treat. But this is a recipe I developed that fit the criteria of the challenge (we were challenged to rely on fruits for sweetness and to even exclude stevia) and I wanted to share it!

      I agree that stevia is awesome, but it also creates an appetite for sweet foods. So I guess my view is all about moderation. I will return to using stevia when I finished this challenge. I think it’s cool because it challenged me to stop adding stevia to things I normally would like tea and I’m finding I don’t really need it as much. Same as other sweeteners!

      Thanks for your comment and advice!

      • I see! I’m not saying people shouldn’t eat fruit or that you should always be sugar-free! I think fruit is one of the healthiest foods around for our bodies. What you’re saying makes sense, but I think the challenge should be called “natural sugars only challenge” as this isn’t sugar-free. :) I kinda disagree about stevia though, the more I switched over the last 2 years, the less I’ve wanted sweets. I never crave dessert anymore. I stick with fruit and stevia and am pretty happy with the balance. Everyone’s different though! Thanks for clarifying!

      • Oh, and I can definitely see the benefit in getting back to the basics! Makes sense! Sorry to need clarification- I’m new to your blog, so I’ll have to back read some more! Thanks again!

      • Aww no worries! I didn’t explain what I was doing too well. It’s the sugar-free challenge by Alex @ Spoonful of Sugar Free if you want to check it out!

        You’re right it’s not sugar free- that would be so hard to be completely- even tomatoes and carrots have a bunch of sugar!

        Ya stevia for me is funny- the more I use it, the more I start adding to things because I want it sweeter and sweeter. Not a huge deal, but I find the need to quit it for a few days every once in a while to reset my taste buds lol.

        So funny how things affect people differently eh?

        Anyway, thanks for your comments and stopping by my blog :)

      • I love your blouse more than anngtiyh! If you ever tire of it send it my way. I'll pay 5x what you bought it for. You give me hope for my non existent sewing career. thank you.

  15. Aww Jim sounds awesome! I’ve had many jobs over the years and my favorite one was the job I had right out of grad school working out a coffee shop/cafe type place. The regular customers are great and it was such a nice vibe. I won’t lie, I kind of miss those days but it’s nice to be reminded of them after reading stories like these! Jim sounds like a great customer and anyone that will bring you 76 bananas is awesome in my book ;)

    That banana bread sounds so yummy! I’ll have to make some banana muffins after I finish my carrot muffins. Yum! It must be good if it’s Jim approved ;)

    Have a great day Gabby! I’ll be wishing I was back in that coffee shop :)

    • I think that’s why I always seem to end up working in cafes, the people are just the best and you get to know some awesome people! I worked at a cafe when I was going to school and I still see some of my old regulars and we get to chat. It’s like having old friends :) And Jim is definitely one of the best ones!

      I’d been craving banana bread for a while so this tastes especially good. I’m starting to crave carrot flavoured things though so I think that will be my next one :)

      You have a great day too!

  16. Mm this looks delicious. Never heard of teff flour before, going to have to keep an eye out for that one so I can give it a go!

  17. Hi Gabby….I love banana bread. I try to stay as gluten free as possible and avoid breads. Love the recipe. Will have to try it. ….another Jim.

  18. Wow! 76 bananas! I don’t know if I could even fit them all in my freezer! I actually went to Chinatown yesterday looking for cheap bananas. Last week I found some for 29 c/lb. Sadly, no dice this week. :( 59c/lb it is.

    • Haha luckily once I cut them up and froze them, they were surprisingly compact :) It’s scary how fast I’m going through them…

      I find it so hard to buy cheap bananas where I live…I must try one of the Asian markets! I never even think to look for bananas there.

      • I know, I bought 2 bunches last week and they are all gone. I dont usually eat bananas but planning a brunch, so I was experimenting with some raw crepes and raw pancakes, both of which had banana in it. I actually want to make your chocolate cherry granola when I finally get a mushy banana.
        Where abouts do you live in Toronto? I thought I was living in suburbia here, but there is an ethnic grocer just around the corner. Not the best but when the produce is good, it is nice. ;)

      • Oh, I hope you’re planning on posting recipes for those crepes and pancakes- I love raw breakfasts.

        Hope you like the granola when you make it! You’ll have to let me know!

        I don’t actually live in Toronto, not yet anyway. I’m moving there in September to go to the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and I’m so excited! Right now I live in Kingston and while I love it, it’s small and I’m ready for a change!

      • Ah… when you get here I can show the ropes! :) I grew up in Ottawa and moved all around Southwestern Ontario for school (not Kingston though) and never thought I would love Toronto as much as I do. I don’t want to leave! I am sure you will live it. :)

      • I have a feeling I will be overwhelmed so I might just take you up on that offer ;)

        I visit Toronto a lot, I have a few friends that live there right now and I love visiting so I can’t wait to make it my home base!

      • Ah… when you get here I can show the ropes! :) I grew up in Ottawa and moved all around Southwestern Ontario for school (not Kingston though) and never thought I would love Toronto as much as I do. I don’t want to leave! I am sure you will live it. :)

        And the raw brunch recipes will definitely be shared.. although I had yet to photograph them because I haven’t yet figured out what to stuff my crepes with… and top the pancakes… I am debating between a grasshopper crepe (chocolate crepe with a mint filling) vs something easier like a raw whipped cream and berries… I know it sounds more like dessert than brunch, but what can I say… ;) I am actually going raw because I can make it all in advance, making the actual brunch stress free, but I think we might also whip out these (made-for-order, wheat germ version) for those who don’t want raw: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/banana-peanut-butter-chia-super-pancake/
        (so good!)

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