A Vegan Quickbread with Dates and Walnuts

April 17, 2014

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Forget what you think you know about vegan baked goods -- this quickbread is a game-changer.

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The first time you taste this bread -- the first time you experience its moist, fluffy texture, or bite into a cluster of pitted and soaked medjool dates, which form ribbons of caramel-like sweetness throughout the loaf -- you’ll take back any doubts you might ever have harbored about vegan baked goods. 

Dates and walnuts are a classic pairing, and rightly so: The earthy crunch of walnuts contrasts beautifully with soft, sugary dates. I like to soak the dates in boiling water before I make this bread; it adds moisture and ensures that the dates become a little melty as the bread bakes (a very, very good thing). To provide that characteristic buttery taste that we all know and love in traditional quickbreads, I use coconut oil; and to create some binding without eggs, I grind and soak flax meal, a handy and versatile tool in vegan baking. 

More: Not quite convinced? Try this decadent Vegan Chocolate Cake.

The result is this delightful loaf, which is great for teatime, dessert, breakfast, or, well, whenever. Consider it for your Easter table, or make your mother very pleased when you present it to her on May 11th.  

Vegan Date Nut Bread

Serves 8 to 10

1 1/2 heaping cups pitted medjool dates, chopped into small pieces 
2 cups boiling water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup almond or soy milk
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon flax meal, mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water and allowed to thicken for a few minutes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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The Food52 Vegan Cookbook is here! With this book from Gena Hamshaw, anyone can learn how to eat more plants (and along the way, how to cook with and love cashew cheese, tofu, and nutritional yeast).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Kristi Dentler
    Kristi Dentler
  • Kristen
  • Fanodanes
  • Yasmeen
  • Karen
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Kristi D. December 22, 2020
This is terrible! I think the problem is the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Seemed like a lot but I went with it. What a waste of ingredients! The loaf went right into the bin!
Kristen December 1, 2015
Hey Gena! I just bought your Food 52 Vegan cookbook (so beautiful, so wonderful!) and this was the first recipe I made from it. It came out a little raw in the middle after about 40 minutes of baking, so I put it back in for 5, then again for 5, then 5 more....I think I baked it close to an hour. Thoughts? Maybe reduce the liquid or add more flour? The batter seemed like normal quick bread batter. Maybe I didn't drain the dates well enough? Just thought I'd see if you'd ever had the same issue.
Fanodanes April 25, 2014
Hi, could I substitute honey or agave nectar in place of the 2/3 c. organic cane sugar? If so, do you know if I would have to adjust the measurement? Thanks!
Yasmeen April 22, 2014
Hi is there a version that's vegan and gluten free? Would love to make this for my brother.
Gena H. April 24, 2014
Yasmeen, you can try it with any gluten free, AP flour blend (so long as it's vegan -- some of them do have milk in them).
Karen April 22, 2014
Could you use soaked raisins instead do chopped dates for this recipe?
Gena H. April 24, 2014
Karen, sure!
Karen April 25, 2014
Thanks, will be making it this weekend.
glenfrank April 21, 2014
This bread is fantastic! I just made a loaf this afternoon and used fresh toasted pecans instead of walnuts -- really delicious!
Gena H. April 24, 2014
So glad you liked it!
BARBARA W. April 21, 2014
It is saturated fat,but it is the best oil to use, even Dr OZ recommeds it. If you goggle it you will see how good this is for us to use. I know it got a bad rap in the past, but that is history. I only use coconut oil and olive oil for all my dishes, and i do not think olive oil will work. Also the coconut oil will give the bread a lovely taste.I do not use butter, i use the coconut oil as butter on bread when is not in a liquid form. It is also fantastic for your skin. Try it, you will like it
Fdomeniconi April 21, 2014
I try to stay away from saturated fat, so is there another oil I can use instead of coconut oil?
Gena H. April 24, 2014
Fdomeniconi, you can use olive or canola oil, no problem.
Arthur I. April 21, 2014
BARBARA W. April 20, 2014
instead of maple syrup you can use coconut palm sugar. You would use as regular sugar and it is very low glycemic and more nutritious, also monkin the raw sugar is very good. 0 calorie and you use one cup for one cup sugar. I am going to make this and use oat flour instead
Julie S. April 20, 2014
How do you think this recipe would work with almond flour instead of wheat?
Gena H. April 24, 2014
Julie, almond flour baked goods are *really* tough without the use of egg as binding. I wouldn't recommend.
Jo-Lynne April 20, 2014
I didn't know that all purpose flour was vegan. I thought it would have to be almond or rice flour. I'd like to know. It really looks good.
Gena H. April 24, 2014
Jo-Lynne, AP flour isn't gluten free, but it's definitely vegan!
shofielen April 18, 2014
I baked this bread this morning and it is a winner!!! I modified a wee bit and did 1 cup spelt flour, 1 c white and it worked fine. Next time I will try using maple syrup instead of the sugar suggested. Have you tried it with maple syrup? Thank you for a delicious recipe
Gena H. April 24, 2014
ATG117 April 17, 2014
How would you sub the flax meal for eggs if vegan isn't a concern? Or would you suggest against it?
petitbleu April 17, 2014
Looks like the recipe is calling for one "flax egg"=the rough equivalent of one egg.
Gena H. April 18, 2014
Petitbleu, that's correct! One egg.