Making really good baked goods without dairy and eggs can be a challenge, but we've cracked the code with our vegan banana bread recipe, and we're sharing our secrets! It all starts with some clever swaps for the dairy and egg in traditional banana bread. We also have several tips for making vegan banana bread moist and tender, as well as advice on making the bread more nutritious.
Watch our IGTV series, Veganize It, to see how to make this recipe and more vegan versions of your favorite dishes.
Tips for Making Vegan Banana Bread
1. Swap Out the Egg
Our vegan banana bread recipe starts with creating a simple egg substitute from flaxseed meal stirred together with water. Once the mixtures stands for a few minutes, it gets a consistency that's remarkably similar to egg—and flaxseeds are a good source of omega-3s, so there's a nutritional bonus too! While this recipe calls for a flaxseed meal "egg," there are many other substitutions you can use for egg, including applesauce and mashed banana. If you try using applesauce, you'll need 1/4 cup to replace one egg; if you're using a banana, you'll need about half of a medium banana. And if you want to replace egg whites, try using aquafaba (the liquid from canned chickpeas), like we do in this Aquafaba Gin Fizz.
Related: Vegan Substitutes for Baking
2. Replace the Dairy
Cow's milk and butter are two other common ingredients in baked goods that need to be replaced to make them vegan. In the case of our banana bread, we're using almond milk in place of cow's milk, and canola oil instead of butter. The healthy fats in the flaxseed meal also help add back some richness that's lost by cutting out dairy.
Related: Vegan Bread Recipes
3. Go Bananas
Just like with traditional banana bread, overripe bananas work best for vegan banana bread. You can peel and freeze your bananas when they reach this point so you're ready to make banana bread anytime. Simply thaw them in the fridge before using in your bread.Once mashed, bananas begin to brown very quickly, so wait to mash them until you're ready to make the batter.
4. Build a Better Batter
For a healthier banana bread, we call for white whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour. White whole-wheat flour is milder in flavor than regular whole-wheat flour but still has all the fiber benefits, so it's ideal for healthier baked goods. For a lump-free banana bread, stir the wet ingredients together with a spatula and then switch to a whisk. When you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, be sure not to overmix the batter—overmixing can make for tough baked goods.
And perhaps the most important batter tip: Add some chocolate chips or coconut flakes for a more decadent treat! Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
Check Your Wallet: Traditional Banana Bread vs. Vegan Banana Bread
For a look at the difference in price between traditional banana bread and vegan banana bread, we turned to vegan chef Jenné Claiborne (@sweetpotatosoul). Claiborne explains that while vegan banana bread costs slightly more to make than traditional banana bread, it's still relatively inexpensive, clocking in at just 32 cents per slice.
Environmental Impact: Traditional Banana Bread vs. Vegan Banana Bread
Claiborne also weighed in on the environmental impact of swapping a traditional banana bread recipe for a vegan version. "Egg production requires a lot of land and resources, so cutting back on egg consumption is beneficial to the environment," says Claiborne, so there's one point for the vegan recipe's flaxseed egg. "Plus, the dairy in traditional banana bread actually has a bigger environmental impact than poultry or pork, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions per gram of protein," she adds, giving a point to that almond milk that replaces traditional dairy in the vegan recipe.
Nutritional Comparison: Traditional Banana Bread vs. Vegan Banana Bread
In terms of nutrition, our healthy vegan banana bread clocks in with 25 percent fewer calories compared to a traditional slice. You'll also get a little bit more heart-healthy fiber.
Pictured recipe: Vegan Banana Bread
Veganize It in Your Kitchen Today!
Vegan banana bread is delicious with a glass of nondairy milk, spread with peanut butter or other nut butters—or eaten straight out of the pan. Check back in with Veganize It soon—we'll be rolling out a new vegan version of a favorite dish every week on IGTV.
Culinary nutritionist and EatingWell Test Kitchen manager Breana Killeen is a Le Cordon Bleu–trained cook, dietitian and sommelier who loves dogs, classic cars and a cool glass of rosé.