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. It’s dairy and egg-free so it’s a good pantry recipe.
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 and the ingredients in this recipe are easy to find.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Spelt flour: as always, wheat flour, either all-purpose white 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.
- Tahini: any type of tahini will work, as long as you like the way it tastes. And although the recipe is for tahini banana bread, you could sub another nut or seed butter for the tahini, like peanut butter or sunbutter.
- Add-ins: 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 mix in a little dark chocolate to the batter. You can also use a different dried fruit instead of dates, like blueberries or cherries.
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.)
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.
How to Store
Storage: in a cool home, the bread will last for a few days, either well wrapped in beeswax wrap or in a sealed container, at room temperature. For a warmer space, store it in the refrigerator.
Freezing: freeze the whole loaf or individual slices in an airtight container for up to three months.
- Don’t over-mix: spelt flour contains less gluten than plain wheat flour, and if over-mixed, it becomes tough. Mix until just combined and no further.
- Grease the dish: if your bread tin is in good condition, grease it with coconut oil rather than lining with paper. The resulting loaf will have a nice outer crust and good flavour.
- Add milk: it’s best to use runny tahini, but if yours is a bit hard or stiff, add a tablespoon or two more milk to make up for that loss of moisture.
More Banana Recipes
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Cozy Sunflower Seed Banana Bread
- 300 grams whole-grain spelt flour
- 80 grams raw sunflower seeds plus extra for topping
- 40 grams cup pepitas
- 50 grams chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fresh-ground nutmeg*
- 60 grams semi-dried dates chopped
- 400 grams overripe bananas, mashed weighed without skin
- 120 ml non-dairy milk
- 60 grams runny tahini
- 60 ml olive oil
- 60 ml maple syrup or honey if not vegan
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and line or 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.300 grams whole-grain spelt flour, 80 grams raw sunflower seeds, 40 grams cup pepitas, 50 grams chia seeds, 60 grams semi-dried dates, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground nutmeg*
- 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.400 grams overripe bananas, mashed, 120 ml non-dairy milk, 60 grams runny tahini, 60 ml olive oil, 60 ml maple syrup, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 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.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was originally shared in December 2017. It has been updated with improvements to the text and recipe as of April 2020.