Grain-Free Vegan Banana Bread
For anyone trying to cut back on grains, or eliminate them entirely, the idea of a quick-to-make, toothsome bread sounds too good to be true.
However, a quick google search in fact reveals multiple options made with nuts, vegetables and seeds in place of flour, or coconut flour breads made with half a dozen eggs.
Yes, they are grain-free. But I have a quibble with the “bread” description, which is (far too) often loosely applied to a squidgy, squishy, or gooey lump of ingredients baked in the form of a loaf or muffin.
Until now. Introducing my not-so-humbly named perfect vegan grain-free banana bread. It lives up to its bread moniker.
Many bananas were sacrificed in pursuit of perfecting this recipe. Many.
I wanted to veganize the Chickpea Flour Banana Bread I posted more than a year ago (apologies for the wait!), but it would not work with a straightforward substitution of flax eggs, chia eggs or psyllium eggs, or simply no eggs.
Hence, our garbage is, sadly, full of multiple test loaves (“loaves” may be too kind; banana blobs is more accurate).
But all of that testing has led to a recipe that I know you will want to try, and, better yet, will love to eat!
Ingredients for the Banana Bread
Here are the primary ingredients for the recipe:
I made several loaves with a small amount of coconut flour mixed in with the chickpea flour, but, regardless of the egg replacer (chia, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk) combinations and proportions I tried, the end results had gooey centers, or gooey everything (they rose, they fell).
The Winning Combination: Chickpea Flour + Chia + Flax
So I stuck with chickpea flour alone. I already knew that chickpea flour can produce a remarkably grain flour-like crumb in breads when made with eggs, but without eggs? I suspected it was possible, but had my doubts.
Psyllium husk was an utter failure. Psyllium is wonderful when it works, but I could not get at to work here, at all.
Chia seeds worked pretty well on it’s own. The finished loaf looked and smelled great (no post-bake sinking), but sadly, had a gummy texture.
Flaxseed meal was promising, too: the finished loaf looked sad (a droopy center after 5 minutes of cooling), but the texture was better (more grain bread-like) than chia alone.
So, I made chickpea flour + chia + flax my working combination. And after 5 or 6 more tries, I produce the perfect loaf. Lovely rise, golden brown, moist and tender crumb texture (hallelujah!), great banana flavor, no deflating, and it is undeniably bread
No Oil Required
I used maple syrup (1/3 cup total), which gives the bread a gently sweetness without going anywhere near “cake” territory. You could add a little bit more sweetener (e.g., coconut sugar) if you like, but less than 1/3 cup (I tried it) was definitely not as good.
This recipe works best if you use 3 small loaf pans as opposed to one large 9×5 pan. The smaller loaf size helps the loaves reach their height during baking and maintain it during cooling.
For the record, I tried the same proportion using bananas alone with stevia (no maple syrup), adding a few tablespoons milk to make up the volume. In a word, EWWW. RIP, sad loaf. I have tweaked and tweaked this recipe, so I would not recommend any substitutions for any of the ingredients unless you are prepared to make a dozen test loaves. This recipe works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 🙂
If you are new to chickpea flour, this bread will convince you to use it in all kinds of recipes! It is far more than a grain-free flour, it is a nutrient rich food all around. High in protein, it is also a high-fiber carbohydrate, which means that the starch in chickpea flour will not spike blood sugar levels. This kind of resistant starch is beneficial to overall digestive health. Win, win, win!
Do give this bread a try, and let me know what you think! I’ve definitely got the baking bug (hello, fall) so expect more unexpected breads, bars, and more, all designed for healthy living, in the weeks and months to come!
More Vegan & Grain Free Chickpea Flour Recipes to Try: