Healthy Carrot Bread with Dates and Olive Oil

April 09, 2018
Fruit-sweetened whole grain carrot bread flavoured with dates, banana, and ginger makes for a healthy, delicious breakfast or snack. Vegan and sugar-free.

Mondays need snacks, right? Grab and go breakfasts, too, because everyone runs a little behind at the start of the week. Even though I work from home and don't usually end up taking weekends off, I feel like I'm a little slower on a Monday too. Usually I try to make some easy snack/breakfast foods to have around for that pre-lunch slump and this carrot bread is a treat. Even though it's totally whole grain, made with spelt flour, and sugar free, it feels a bit like carrot cake. Especially with the coconut yogurt glaze on top (with just three ingredients) although it's best served right away if you do glaze it.

This is adapted from my morning glory carrot muffins, but a little more cake-like even though the ingredients are wholesome. Leaving the seeds out and tossing a banana in for sweetness adds a little bit of a dessert feeling. Most of all, I can't get over how amazing the texture of this bread is. I don't know why I still expect gumminess when I do fruit sweetened recipes, since I've been experimenting with it so much lately with awesome results. 

The original plan here was to go with very classic carrot cake flavours, cinnamon and maybe a little nutmeg. Ginger and carrots are best buds, though, and adding a little fresh ginger gives it a bit of spice and makes everything more exciting in the carrot bread department. Stick with fresh unless you absolutely have to use dried - it really makes a difference. I'm a big fan of olive oil in quick breads like this, because I think the flavour combines well with the other fruits/veggies, but I have made it with other oils if you're worried it'll be bitter. Olive oil was by far my favourite so it's what's listed in the instructions.

The first iteration of this carrot loaf was terrible. Soggy, dense, and all-around awful. I think we only got through half of it and ended up composting the rest, which hardly ever happens. A few tweaks and tests later, it's well worth trying and right up there with banana bread in my books - tied with my sunflower seed banana bread. If you're looking for something a little different but still well within the comfort-food snack zone, this recipe has you covered. 

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Healthy Carrot Bread with Dates and Olive Oil
Makes one loaf

280 grams / 2 cups whole grain spelt flour*
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 medium overripe banana
120 grams / 1/2 cup soft dates*
60 ml / 1/4 cup olive oil
250 ml / 1 cup nondairy milk (oat, almond)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
200 grams / 1 cup packed shredded carrots

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and grease a standard loaf tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using a food processor, blend the banana, dates, and olive oil until smooth. Add the milk and ginger, then pulse to combine. Alternatively, you can blend them all in a high-powered blender together if you have one. Stir in the shredded carrots.

Add the date mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Place the batter into the prepared baking tin, and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing the bread from the tin and cooling completely on a rack. Store in a sealed container at room temperature for 3-5 days.

Coconut Yogurt Glaze

60 ml / 1/4 cup thick coconut yogurt
Juice of a lemon (~3 tablespoons)
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (to taste)

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk with a fork until combined. Drizzle over the cooled loaf and serve immediately. The glaze will soak in after about an hour, so if you're going to save it for later, just add it to individual slices straight from the refrigerator.

• Coconut oil is a good option for greasing tins, and I think using a little oil makes it taste better in the end, but you can also line your tin with parchment paper.

1. It's great with whole grain flour, and the spelt lends a nice nutty flavour. I have tried this with light spelt flour with good results and I'm sure other types of flour would work as well (I beg you, don't try subbing in coconut flour. Ever). 

1 comment on "Healthy Carrot Bread with Dates and Olive Oil"
  1. This bread looks so scrumptious! I love the addition of dates for sweetness!!