My sister-in-law once 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.
Why Banana Bread with No Sugar?
Shortly after my husband’s cancer diagnosis, we started cutting out sugar for a variety of reasons. Like many families in that situation, we wanted to be proactive about our health.
But I don’t want to spend my life eating food that tastes like cardboard, either. So, I bought three dozen bananas and set out to create a recipe for a refined sugar free banana bread.
The Sugar Swap that Works
I tried many things to replace sugar in banana bread. I tried making banana bread with stevia in a 1:1 swap for sugar but found it bitter. On the other hand, using maple syrup 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!
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.
Need to ripen bananas quickly? Pop them 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—the same that happens when they naturally ripen.
As soon as this loaf was cool enough to eat, we could see and smell that I’d succeeded in
This one’s a winner. Enjoy!
- 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.
Now try my high protein, three ingredient homemade cottage cheese recipe!