Recently, my sister-in-law asked if I had a recipe for healthy banana bread without refined sugar. I didn’t, but since I’m the kind of person who loves a good cooking challenge, I decided to give it a try — make that several tries — until I came up with a winner.
Healthy Banana Bread Recipe with No Refined Sugars
Why Avoid Sugar?
Shortly after my husband’s cancer diagnosis, I began doing research into dietary and lifestyle changes we could make that would complement his medical treatments. Dr. Patrick Quillin’s book, Beating Cancer with Nutrition is one I turn to time and again. (Others include The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen and Anticancer: A New Way of Life.)
My husband and his sisters have a history of cancer on both sides of their family tree. I’m adopted, so I don’t know my inherited medical stuff. As a result, we’re all trying to be proactive with nutrition changes to counteract whatever hand genetics dealt us.
I don’t want to spend my life eating food that tastes like cardboard, either. So, last week I bought three dozen bananas and set out to create a recipe for a refined sugar free banana bread.
Swap This for Sugar
I tried many things to replace sugar in banana bread. Both honey and agave are on the no-no list according to Dr. Quillan, so I tried making banana bread with stevia in a 1:1 swap for sugar (awful!) and making banana bread using maple syrup (which changed the flavor too much). What I needed was something unrefined yet sweet.
Then I remembered having breakfast at a vegan friend’s home one morning. She served toast with raisin puree in place of butter, and it was delicious. Incredibly sweet, but delicious. How would that work in bread? Turns out: brilliantly!
No Added Sugar Does NOT Mean Sugar-Free
If you have diabetes or another health concern leading you to limit sugar, please check with your doctor before making this. I am neither a nutritionist nor a doctor. This recipe is offered as a delicious way to make banana bread without adding refined white sugar.
As the nutritional notes below indicate, there are fruit sugars in this recipe. While it is lower-carb banana bread, it is not a completely sugar-free banana bread recipe and may not fit into your particular dietary needs. Please consult a professional.
Healthy Banana Bread Without Sugar Recipe
You’d think that people who’d tried four unsuccessful banana bread recipes in two days wouldn’t have been all that interested in eating more, but you’d be wrong.
As soon as this loaf was cool enough to eat, we could see and smell that I’d succeeded in
How to Ripen Bananas Quickly
Don’t worry if your bananas aren’t ripe yet. Wash and dry each one, then put them on a cookie sheet and pop it into a 300°F/149°C oven for an hour. The skins will turn black as the heat converts the fruit’s starches to sugar, which is exactly what happens in the ripening process.
This one’s a winner. Enjoy!
Banana Bread Without Sugar
- 1 oz. raisins or sultanas
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 5 large bananas - very ripe (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour - or 1 cup (120g) whole wheat and 1 cup (120g) all-purpose
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup butter - softened
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp stevia - optional
Soak the raisins
- Soak the raisins in the warm water until they swell. (At least 10 minutes or up to overnight.)
Make the bread
- Preheat the oven to 350F / 180 C / gas mark 4. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
- Drain the raisins and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the bananas and blend until they’re pureed.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. These are your dry ingredients.
- In the bowl of stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter and eggs well. Add vanilla to the mixer bowl and continue beating. Add banana/raisin mixture and continue mixing until well-combined. Taste, and add stevia if desired. These are your wet ingredients.
- Stir the dry ingredients by hand into the wet ingredients. Do NOT over-mix. (Batter will be very thick.) Scoop batter into loaf pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Bake in preheated oven 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Remove loaf from oven, let cool 10 minutes, then tip the loaf out to continue cooling on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, with or without butter.
Want to try more quick breads? Check out these recipes: