This post was originally shared in December 2017. It has been updated with improvements to the text and recipe as of April 2020.
Tahini Banana Bread
This is a recipe for chillier days, something to bake on a rainy day. It’ll heat your home as it bakes and give it a cozy scent of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you need comfort food but don’t want to go too far right into cake, this is a good one.
I make this type of whole grain, higher protein tahini banana bread about once a week during autumn and winter and leave a loaf on the counter for quick breakfasts or snacks. Top it with extra nut or seed butter to make it even more filling, and add a little honey or maple syrup if you like a touch more sweetness.
Don’t be turned off by the long ingredient list, it’s mostly seeds and spices. You can use the seeds you have in your pantry, but the ingredients in this recipe are easy to find.
Make sure to wait until your bananas are turning brown and spotty before using them as you need the natural sweetness from the overripe fruit. (This is key. If you write me that the loaf wasn’t sweet enough, I will blame your bananas.)
I’ve gifted this vegan banana bread to several people here in Germany and they always go nuts for it, because banana bread is a bit of a rarity over here. We like to have it around for snacking and it’s a nice healthier option if you’re craving something sweet.
What’s in this loaf?
- Spelt flour
- Sunflower seeds
- Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Overripe bananas (you’ll need three – the spottier the better)
- Non-dairy milk
- Olive oil
- Maple syrup or honey
Although the title says tahini banana bread, it can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. Try using a mix of chopped nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews) instead of the seeds, sub sesame or hemp for the seeds that are used, or switch out the tahini for another nut/seed spread, or mix in a little dark chocolate to the batter. You can also use a different dried fruit instead of dates, like blueberries or cherries.
That being said, I really love the combination of the seeds, dates, and slightly bitter olive oil and tahini. It’s a bit of an adult, luxury banana bread and perfectly suitable to eat throughout the day.
The loaf itself isn’t very sweet but the dates add little bites of sweetness – don’t leave them out. You could use other dried fruit like raisins or cranberries if you prefer. Topping with the sunflower seeds adds visual interest and a nice flavour and texture. If you don’t like tahini you can try substituting sunflower seed butter in its place.
Changing flours and a gluten-free option
As always, wheat flour, either all-purpose or whole wheat, can be substituted in place of spelt if you don’t have any on hand. The recipe calls for whole-grain spelt but light works just as well.
Several readers have emailed me saying that they’ve made this recipe successfully with buckwheat flour in place of spelt. Please note that if you would like to make it gluten-free, buckwheat flour is an excellent substitution and a 1:1 gluten-free blend should be pretty much foolproof.
If you want a GF loaf that’s been tested, I can recommend this gluten free banana bread recipe. It’s not vegan but can easily be made dairy free.
More Banana Recipes
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Cozy Sunflower Seed Banana Bread
- 300 grams whole spelt flour
- 80 grams raw sunflower seeds plus extra for topping
- 40 grams cup pepitas
- 50 grams chia seeds
- 60 grams semi-dried dates chopped
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground nutmeg*
- 400 grams / 3 medium sized overripe bananas, mashed
- 125 ml non-dairy milk oat or nut
- 60 grams runny tahini
- 60 ml olive oil
- 60 ml maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease a standard loaf tin (I use coconut oil).
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the chopped dates and stir to coat them in the flour mixture. Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients.
- In a shallow bowl, mash the bananas. Add the milk, tahini, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. Use a fork to gently mix the wet ingredients together until incorporated.
- Add the banana mixture to the large bowl and use a wooden spoon to stir until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and gently tap the tin on the counter to settle it. Leave the centre higher than the edges. Top the batter with another handful of sunflower seeds.
- Place in on the middle rack in your oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If your oven runs a little hot then make sure to check the bread at about the 40 minute mark.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin on a cooling rack for ten minutes, then gently remove it and let it cool completely before storing. Eat at least one slice warm if you can. It keeps for 3-5 days on the counter, wrapped well, and may be frozen.