Nov 28, 2014

Nonna’s Banana Bread

Simple. Homey. Cozy. Love. That’s what a good banana bread says to me. My earliest memories of baking involve banana bread. My mom, a.k.a. Nonna, taught me how to make banana bread. It was the first thing I ever baked on my own… after school and before she came home from work. I was so proud to fill the house with that amazing aroma. Of course, her version was not vegan and had white sugar and white flour. But, hey, just a few minor adjustments and it’s still a simple endeavor with a wonderful, whole-food, plant-based result.

Anyway, I wanted to create this down-home loaf to invoke all those warm fuzzies that multi-generational, passed-down recipes do… I have lots of baked goodies on this site but so many of them involve gluten-free flours and other ingredients that may or may not be easily accessible to many. This plump, moist, perfectly-risen bread uses easy-to-find ingredients; things you probably already have in your kitchen cupboard. Well, maybe not everyone has flax meal, but it’s easy to make—just grind some flax seeds in a nut/seed grinder. So… let’s get baking!

Makes one yummy loaf. Enjoy!

Healthy trails,

Nonna's Banana Bread

Simple, breezy recipe with minimal everyday ingredients. A multi-generational family favorite!


  • 2 cups + 3 TBS whole wheat, whole wheat pastry or whole spelt flour (see notes)
  • ½ cup coconut sugar, or other minimally processed, granulated sweetener
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt (optional)
  • wet
  • 1 cup ripe, mashed banana (about 2 large bananas)… leave it a bit chunky!
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 TBS flax meal + 3 TBS water
  • ¼ cup applesauce OR ¼ cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Lightly grease a standard sized loaf pan.
  3. Combine flax meal with water and set aside.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients together, reserving 3 TBS of flour.
  5. Mix all wet ingredients together.
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir well to combine.
  7. Add the final 3 TBS flour and mix well.
  8. Spoon batter into loaf pan, smooth the top and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


You could probably use a gluten-free flour for this, though I haven't tried it. I've also used regular old unbleached flour, though I prefer a more whole grain. Keep in mind, all flours are a little different and it's important to add those last three tablespoons at the end for a good texture. You may need to experiment a bit to find the perfect texture for you. The batter should be pretty thick but still spoonable and spreadable.

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10 responses to “Nonna’s Banana Bread”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This was such a great recipe! The bread was so nice and moist! I have baked my second one already because my family ate the first one so quickly and I wanted a second slice. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  2. Helyn says:

    Oh, yay! I'm so happy that you and your family loved it. You're so welcome!!

  3. This banana bread sounds absolutely delicious! I love that it's oil free 😀

  4. Helyn says:

    Thanks, Ceara! I hope you'll try it 🙂

  5. Cathy Schulz says:

    This sounds delicious, and I'm thinking that it might also work well with pumpkin instead of mashed bananas.

  6. Cathy Schulz says:

    Helyn, have you ever baked this banana bread as muffins?

  7. Helyn says:

    I haven't tried that but I'm sure it would work!

  8. Helyn says:

    Yes! The recipe works great for muffins. Fill the cups almost to the top and bake 350. Not sure of the time… just keep an eye on them, I'm thinking about 30-35 minutes. Enjoy! 🙂

  9. Lauryn says:

    I was really excited to try this recipe, however I could not for the life of me get it to cook through. I ended up taking it out of the loaf pan and put it upside down on a cookie sheet, but still no luck. It stayed in my oven for probably almost 2 hours.
    I didn’t know if you had any advice? It was pretty liquidy going into the pan, is that normal? Should I do less of the milk?

    • helynskitchen says:

      Oh gosh, I’m so sorry you had such trouble with the recipe, Lauryn! I’ve made this so many times with no issues… hmmm. I’m stumped. What kind of flour did you use? No, it shouldn’t be too liquidy as a batter. It should be like a very thick pancake batter. Hope you will try it again. It’s been a staple in our house for years. xx

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