Grain-Free Banana Bread

August 26, 2013

Every week, Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef -- and Gluten-Free Girl Everyday -- will be sharing smart tips and smarter recipes that will please even the most devout gluten-eaters among us. Come one, come all -- we're going flourless. 

Today: Shauna shows us that a classic like banana bread can be equally as delicious sans grains.

Grain-Free Banana Bread

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Once you are released from gluten, you find out something you didn't know when you automatically reached for that bag of all-purpose bleached wheat flour: flours have flavors.

Quinoa flour is a little grassy, and very savory. Buckwheat is nutty, and teff flour has a faint chocolate-y, molasses taste. If you choose flours based on their flavors, you might stop thinking about gluten altogether. You'll choose the flours you have for how they can make a banana bread sing, for they how they'll make your children say yum after they take their first bite.

We go through a lot of quick breads at our house. Our 5-year-old runs hard and dances through her day -- she rarely sits down -- and so she has the metabolism of a hummingbird, quick to tire if she doesn't eat. To combat that, I like giving her homemade squash bread, pumpkin bread, and zucchini bread. Her favorite by far is banana bread.

Grain-Free Banana Bread

Recently, I started baking with more almond flour for her sake. High in protein, almond flour has fewer carbohydrates than bleached white flour (or rice flour), is lower on the glycemic index, and has more fiber as well. She doesn't know any of this. She just thinks this banana bread is good.

And that's because I thought about the flavors with these flours: bananas and almonds are complementary flavors, as are maple syrup, cinnamon, buckwheat, and coconut. Throw them all in together and bake them in a loaf pan? You have a warm, nutty banana bread that is ever-so-slightly sweet. Without the refined sugars, this banana bread tastes more of bananas than sweetness. You taste the nuts and their fats. You taste bananas and almonds and maple syrup.

The fact that it's gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free? Well, that's nice for the people who need those things. But for you? This is a darned fine banana bread.

Grain-Free Banana Bread 

Serves 8

100 grams finely ground almond flour
60 grams arrowroot powder
50 grams buckwheat flour (make sure it's gluten-free)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
150 grams maple syrup
2 large eggs
80 grams melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ripe bananas, mashed
75 grams crushed hazelnuts


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


Photos by Shauna Ahern

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Girlfromipanema
  • Tamera
  • DebraCR
  • Tami Brockway Joyce
    Tami Brockway Joyce
  • shauna.ahern
Shauna writes about food. Danny cooks it. We grow excited every Saturday morning to go to the farmers' market. This time of year, a Billy Allstot tomato is enough to make us look like goons at the stand, jumping up and down with excitement. We will eat one slice with sea salt, standing over the sink. Another goes to our baby daughter. The rest might go into the smoker to make smoked tomato salsa, or thrown together with watermelon and good olive oil for a watermelon gazpacho, or stacked with smoked salmon and drizzled with horseradish sour cream. Every day is new. I have no idea what we're having for dinner tonight. But I'm sure interested to find out.


Girlfromipanema October 9, 2016
strange my original comment seems to have gotten erased- I used 3/4 cup olive oil, and it worked like charm. Thank you Shauna!
Tamera August 3, 2015
Where may I find the Imperial/American (non metric) measurements for recipes?
DebraCR September 15, 2013
Is buckwheat flour not a grain flour?
ca412 September 15, 2013
Buckwheat is not a grain; it's not wheat. It's related to such vegetables as sorrel and rhubarb.
Tami B. September 6, 2013
Looks delicious! Will be making this!
shauna.ahern August 28, 2013
Thank you. I like dates, as well as date sugar. But remember when you are subbing dry sweeteners for liquid sweeteners, you have some fiddling to do!
Lenora August 28, 2013
date sugar is an option...but for the arrowroot try tapioca...I've found this to be a better one for one substitution.
gentianviolet August 27, 2013
BTW, the recipe looks good. I'll make it, but grumble to myself over having to waste time weighing liquids........
shauna.ahern August 28, 2013
But if you have the scale out to measure the flours, you're not wasting time at all! In fact, it saves you time.
_alyssa August 28, 2013
And dishes! :)
ATG117 August 26, 2013
Anyway to get the recipe in cups? I know I should use a scale, but I have yet to convert and I'm interested in trying this recipe.
_alyssa August 28, 2013
I would start at about 1/2 cup for each of the flours and the starch, totaling 1-1/2 cups total. At 210 grams, this seems about right since most measurements for AP flours weigh in at 140 grams.
marie August 26, 2013
I agree with Kaye -- what makes maple syrup a better option than refined sugar?
Marine V. August 26, 2013
I love this! Can I switch some ingredients? Like another starch for arrowroot and agave for maple syrup?
CLBME August 26, 2013
how important is the arrowroot in this - its the only thing I don't have in my cupboard!
_alyssa August 27, 2013
I would sub tapioca starch, potato starch, sweet rice flour, or cornstarch for the arrowroot. Hope that helps!
CLBME August 27, 2013
Thank you - I will give it a go :)
shauna.ahern August 28, 2013
This is why I love baking by weight. As long as you sub in the same amount of grams, you can use whatever starch or flour you want!
Kaye August 26, 2013
But maple syrup isn't really that much different than refined white sugar. It has a few more minerals but it's still a simple carbohydrate and we all know complex carbs are far more healthy for us. I just don't think it should be presented as a healthy atlernative to white sugar when it's not significantly different nutritionally. (Nor is honey or most of the other common white sugar alternatives.)
Edie August 26, 2013
Can't wait to try it!!! Thanks!
Carla August 26, 2013
Could one add zucchini to this? I am looking for a great gf/gf zucchini recipe. Thoughts?
_alyssa August 26, 2013
Medjool dates are another great sub for sugar, and they play well with quick breads. Love that you're baking without refined sugars. Thanks for the recipe!