Sugar-Free Banana Bread (Vegan, Gluten Free)

by Alena
Jun 18, 2019
vegan sugar free raspberry banana bread under a towel on a chopping board next to a knife and jam

It’s moist, flavorful, dense, eggless, healthy and even low in fat! Our sugar-free banana bread ticks all the boxes. If you’ve ever wanted to bake an easy and healthy dessert that’ll smell like heaven, you’ve come to the right place.

In this household, we take delicious treats very seriously. Eating your veggies is one part of a healthy diet, yes – but please, no need to skip dessert! 

What we’d like to do here is remind you that comfort foods don’t have to leave a guilty taste in your mouth.

You can indulge while making sure your health stays on track by making banana bread that’s not just vegan (of course!), but also oil-free, gluten-free and sugar-free!

And when we say sugar-free, we don’t mean the typical definition of just “no refined, white sugar”.

Since other, “more natural” sweeteners like coconut sugar or maple sugar are often used in place of plain white sugar and touted as (somehow) much healthier, we want to take a moment and add our two cents.

Rasberry Banana Bread Vegan

Sweeteners like these, including honey and maple, agave, and brown rice syrups, don’t offer much nutritionally.

They make things taste sweet.

They make your blood sugar rise and fall quickly. 

They might have trace amounts of minerals, but you’d have to gulp down a whole bottle of them to even come close to meeting your needs of those minerals through sweeteners! 

So, please – no more claiming a recipe containing agave or maple syrup is sugar-free. It’s just word games at this point.

What Does Sugar-Free Really Mean?

In our baking, we do sometimes use a bit of sugar or maple syrup (our vegan carrot cake is a good example), but we’re well aware that there’s no difference between these types of sweeteners. Admittedly, it does somehow feel better to add some dark syrup compared to white granules.

Did we just food shame anyone here? Hopefully not.

We’re all about real-talk, though, and getting out helpful health advice can actually save and improve lives! So we’re not shy about it.

Slices of  Vegan Banana Bread

How To Make a Tasty Vegan Banana Bread

If you’re still with us at this point – thank you! Seems like the pictures look too enticing and you want to learn more. And don’t worry – that’s why we’re here.

You may not believe it given the obviously pretty pictures, but this banana bread somehow tastes even better than it looks. No kidding. Remember the smell of freshly baked sweet gooey carbs? That’s what is awaiting you.

A great way to make this wholesome treat gluten-free is by simply using oat flour. You can create oat flour at home by blending up some rolled oats for a couple of seconds until they are finely ground.

Using this instead of whole wheat flour, for example, offers a different consistency and texture due to the oats’ higher fat content.

No worries – we skipped the oftentimes added oil to keep this afternoon treat waistline- and artery-friendly.

Delicious Banana Bread in Baking Dish

Ingredients For Our Sugar-Free Banana Bread

  • Oats – make it chewy, whole grain and gluten-free all in one step
  • Ripe bananas – that hopefully didn’t come as a surprise
  • Dates – our favorite actually healthy and natural sweetener!
  • Soy milk and lemon juice – quick and healthy vegan buttermilk substitute
  • Cinnamon – to add to that divine, homey baking smell
  • Crushed walnuts – yessss, please!
  • Raspberry jam swirl – just raspberries, chia seeds and water here

As you can see, when we write “healthy”, we mean it! Using bananas in baking is a great way not only to replace sugar but also to replace oil due to the gooey and moist texture they create.

For a little twist, we decided to go with a homemade raspberry jam swirl. If you’re fancy like us, just follow the easy recipe for this 3-ingredient sugar-free jam – but it can also be skipped to get a good old plain vegan banana bread.

Raspberry Jam Swirl in Banana Bread

Why Our Vegan Raspberry Banana Bread Is So Awesome

  • Naturally sugar-free and gluten-free
  • Low in fat and without added oil
  • Kids and adults alike love it
  • Very simple to follow
  • Moist, sweet and satisfying
  • Spotted with crunchy walnuts
  • Fruity, sourish raspberry touch

Everyone we’ve served this banana bread to so far has loved it – nobody has missed the eggs or butter or sugar. In fact, friends and family are often surprised by how tasty vegan recipes can be!

So, if you have a skeptical or picky eater around you, try serving them this banana bread. Kids especially will be quick to devour this sweet goodness!

Sugar Free Banana Raspberry Bread

Delicious Vegan Banana Bread Variations

Should you have an extraordinarily spoiled sweet tooth, you might not appreciate the natural sweetness of this recipe. “Sugar-free” doesn’t mean “fruit sugar-free” and, of course, this banana bread comes out sweet.

But if you’d like to add a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup to make sure it’ll push your sweetness buttons – we won’t judge. You do you – overall, it will still be a wholesome treat. We’d rather have you eat a vegan oil-free dessert with sugar than any of the way junkier alternatives.

No pressure on the dates having to be the Medjool type, either. We know they are more expensive and probably harder to come by. Use any type of dates and consider soaking them in water before blending them up for the batter.

Not digging the soy milk? That’s too bad, but feel free to just use any other plant-based milk. It won’t make much of a difference in this case.

Ready More About Why We Love Soy
Sugar Free Banana Bread With Raspberry Jam

If you’re uncertain about the raspberry swirl, go for plain banana bread sans jam. It’s just as satisfying and might convince you to take things a step further next time.

Finally, coconut water does add a nice touch, but if it’s hard to come by, just use regular water for the raspberry jam. Removing these small roadblocks will make it much more likely that you will actually try this recipe!

For some more inspiration, we found these delicious variations of oil-free vegan banana bread on the blogosphere, such as the Healthy Banana Bread by Veggiekins, the Fluffy Vegan Banana Bread by From My Bowl, or this Healthy Banana Bread by The Hungry Warrior.

More Healthy Vegan Baking Recipes

But now, let’s get to our own healthy banana bread recipe! Feel free to rate, Pin for later, and tag us when you make it – we’d love to see your creations.

banana bread with raspberry swirl and shredded coconut placed on wooden cutting board

Vegan Sugar-Free Banana Bread

Yield: 12 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This healthy sugar-free banana bread is fully vegan and naturally gluten-free. Incredibly chewy and delicious, it's the perfect healthy treat for kids and adults alike. Just a few simple ingredients are needed for the basis - homemade raspberry jam swirl is totally optional! An easy whole food plant-based baking recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat flour (200 g)
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted (160 g)
  • 1 cup soy milk (240 ml)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed (60 g)

Raspberry Jam

  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen and defrosted (125 g)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut water (or water)

Instructions

  1. If you don’t have any oat flour on hand, just get 7 oz (200 g) of rolled oats and process them into flour with a blender or food processor.
  2. Place the soy milk, pitted dates, bananas and lemon juice in a blender jar and blend until smooth.
  3. In a big bowl, mix the flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add in the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Let the batter sit for half an hour so the flour can soak up all the liquid.
  4. In the meantime, let’s make the simple raspberry jam! Add the fresh or defrosted raspberries along with the chia seeds and (coconut) water to a bowl and mix with a spoon. Let it rest for 15 minutes or until the batter is done.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C) and get out a loaf pan.
  6. Get your banana bread batter and gently fold in the crushed walnuts, then pour the mixture into your prepared loaf pan. Finally, add the raspberry jam and swirl it into the batter so it doesn’t get fully mixed.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into slices and serving. We added some desiccated coconut for a pretty and delicious topping!

Notes

  • You can replace the dates with applesauce plus some liquid sweetener like maple syrup.
  • Instead of soy milk, you can use any other plant-based milk like almond or oat.
  • Oat flour can easily be made at home by blending some rolled oats.
  • If you don't have any walnuts, replace them with other nuts or choice or simply omit.
  • No need to add the raspberry swirl if it's too fancy, the recipe tastes delicious without it.
  • Awesome twists and add-ons include cocoa powder, chocolate chips, dried fruit, blueberries, lemon glaze, peanut butter and a shot of espresso.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 201Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 299mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 5gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist (CPD) who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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65 thoughts on “Sugar-Free Banana Bread (Vegan, Gluten Free)”

    • thanks for your question! I never tried this sub but I’d use applesauce for the texture (not a whole cup, though) plus any other vegan sweetener like maple syrup or brown sugar to replace the dates. It’s not easy to mess up this recipe :) Please let us know what you use and how it turns out!

      Reply
        • Hey Noemi,
          I actually haven’t tried making this version but I’d go for half a cup unsweetened applesauce and 2 tbsp maple syrup instead of the dates. This recipe is hard to mess up, you just need to create a batter that it’s very dry or very liquid and adjust the sweetness to your taste :)
          Let us know what you end up doing and how it turns out!!
          Warmly,
          Alena

          Reply
  1. My son recently went on a gluten-free vegan diet for health issues. He has been craving sweets and bread and this totally satisfied him. It is fabulous – and so easy to make. Instead of bread, I made muffins and put a spoonful of the “jam” on top of each before baking for 25 minutes. I tried putting a spoonful of homemade applesauce on a couple of them (prior to baking) and they were also fabulous.

    Reply
  2. I baked this last night and it was amazing! Thank you for this recipe.

    Just as an FYI re: people asking about substitutes for the dates – I only used half a cup of dates. Same measurements for everything else.

    Reply
  3. Hey Alena, I made this Banana Bread today (without the jam and I used cashew nuts instead) and it is absolutely fantastic! Very moist on the inside with a crust on the outside.
    For extra flavour I put some Peanut Butter on top as well.
    I love it; thanks for the recipe xxx

    Reply
  4. Hi!
    I just made this today and it taste amazing! But mine didn’t rise and are only half the size of yours and therefor very dense. Do you think i should’ve used more baking powder?

    Elin

    Reply
    • Hi Elin,
      thanks so much for your comment! Sorry to hear that your banana bread didn’t turn out so great – it sometimes to happen to me as well when I use rather old baking powder. Could this have been a reason? Did you use the right measurements?
      Hope it’ll rise nicely the next time – keep us updated!
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  5. Can’t wait to make this recipe! I really like the look of it. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but did you just put 2 slices of banana on top? :-)

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey Evelien,
      not a stupid question at all! Should have totally mentioned this – yes, those are two slices of banana on top. You can just half one banana or cut it even thinner and top the batter with it before baking.
      Thanks for your comment and I’m eager to read about your creation!
      Best wishes,
      Alena

      Reply
  6. Hi, I made this wonderful bread yesterday, and it’s half gone already. Very juicy, but rose so well that it is not dense. I didn’t have dates, so substituted them with (soaked) figs, which works great but came out too sweet. I’ll take half of the amount next time.. and there will be a next time!

    Reply
    • thanks so much for the feedback! Need to try the banana bread with figs sometime, sounds like a delicious combination :)

      Reply
    • the swirl on top of the bread is the homemade raspberry jam and yes, it can totally be swapped for blueberry! I’m sure peanut butter swirl is soooo delicious, too. Cannot go wrong with pb ;)

      Reply
  7. This looks so yummy – planning to make tomorrow! I’m trying to reduce my sugar intake, so would the apple sauce/honey substitute combo be a better option? :)

    Reply
    • happy that you like the recipe! Are you concerned about the sugar in whole dates? Because that’s the only “sugar” that’s in the recipe — you can just use fewer dates if you like and replace some of it with unsweetened applesauce. This would be healthier than adding honey imo :)

      Reply
    • yes, since it’s lower in fat, your banana bread will have a slightly different texture but it’ll still be awesome ;) great swap!

      Reply
  8. Hi Alena! I baked this banana bread today and it tasted fantastic. Followed your recipe to the ‘T’. But the problem was, the bread rose beautifully in the oven, but once I removed it out of the oven it started sinking. The resulting bread was very fudgey, gooey and dense. Do you know where I could have gone wrong?

    I used rolled oats and ground to a fine powder. I have tried some other healthy vegan bread recipes with oat flour and all those breads have ended up collapsing once baked.

    Please help!

    Thank you,
    Prajakti

    Reply
    • hmmm this never happened to me but if it’s a common thing for you when using oat flour, perhaps the baking soda or oven you’re using could be the culprit? Sorry I cannot be of much help here! I assume it was still tasty, though ;)

      Reply
  9. Hi Alena,
    I love your website and the recipes you post. I have turned vegan since Jan 2020 and am constantly looking for healthy recipes that are sugar-free, dairy-free, and oil-free. I loved this recipe too and will soon try the same. But the challenge I face is whenever I replace all-purpose flour with other flours, my bakes turn dense. Does that happen with oats flour or it gives a good fluffy texture? Have you used steel cut oats or rolled oats? I can’t wait any longer to try this recipe. Do share your inputs. Thanks

    Reply
    • thanks so much for your comment! Oat flour is a bit higher in fat than other whole grain flour so it offers a different texture for sure — use fresh baking soda or powder and not old packages to ensure a fluffy texture :) Just read the other comments to see what everyone’s experiences have been making this oat banana bread!

      Reply
  10. Planning on making this! I’m just wondering do I have to include the lemon juice? Also can I use gluten free flour instead of oat flour. Thank you I’m advance you and your recipe are amazing!!

    Reply
    • Hi Tracy,
      thanks for your questions. You can skip the lemon juice and if you want to use a gluten-free flour blend, I recommend you add some ground almonds or almond butter because you want to achieve a similar fat percentage as the oat flour :)
      Let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  11. I made this last weekend exactly as the recipe it turned out so yummy, very moist and tasted amazing. It lasted all week (not sure how!) one slice in the afternoons when I get that craving for something sweet was all I needed.

    Today I am making the same but with blueberries :)

    Thanks for the recipe x

    Reply

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