This delicious, low carb banana bread is only sweetened with a few ripe bananas and it’s so delicious, super satisfying and perfectly subtle. Grain-free, dairy-free, paleo and keto-friendly.
I don’t exactly love straight-up bananas, personally, but Mark often requests having a bunch on hand. I will occasionally add them to our organic CSA box (community supported agriculture) that gets delivered to the house each week. But, often, he won’t eat all of them and then they get a bit over ripe. YUCK! Literally one of my least favorite things, in the entire world. Usually I just peel them and freeze for smoothies, but this most recent time, it felt like a perfect reason to make banana bread, a treat I haven’t made in maybe nearly a decade. (not joking)
For my low key sweet taste buds, the ripe bananas are the perfect sweetener – nothing extra needed. I find for my palate, the subtle sweetness from a ripe, in-season fruit, some coconut cream, super dark chocolate or even just caramelized, roasted veggies – these are often plenty sweet for me to satisfy that important taste. I absolutely don’t believe sweet is a taste that needs to be avoided but redefining the relationship that we have with sweet is the ultimate goal. These beautiful, nuanced, naturally sweet flavors from real whole foods can easily get missed when we flood our taste buds constantly with sugar or sugar alternatives. This is what leads to the constant sugar cravings and needing more and more sweet stuff. Imagine if a piece of fruit were enough!! Talk about taking away the power a food has over us (ahem, this is what sugar is best at) and experiencing true food freedom.
If reducing your sugar intake is still fairly new for yo and you are worried bananas as a sweetener might not cut it for you, I challenge you to give it a try and then you can always consider a light drizzle of honey over your warm, toasted banana bread. Or you can always add a tablespoon or two of coconut sugar or date sugar to the batter. Some dark chocolate chips might also be a nice addition to the bread, too, if that’s your thing. Mmmmmm.
How to Make Low Carb Banana Bread:
The most important step is the super ripe bananas, they bring the flavor and the sweetness here. Regular ripe bananas will be far less sweet. If your bananas have green tips, that’s awesome for a lower sugar fruit option, but they tend to be more starchy and less sweet and you definitely won’t be able to mash them up.
Flour Options for Low Carb Banana Bread:
Next, the almond flour is the star here!! This recipe was developed and tested with blanched almond flour. Be sure to go with a blanched fine almond flour, an almond meal with the skins included in the flour will likely results in a slightly different texture. If you can’t have almond flour, you can experiment with another nut flour, like cashew flour, macadamia flour or hazelnut flour. Sunflower seed flour may work, but be aware that the baking soda combined with sunflower seed flour can result in a green color due to chlorophyll present in the seeds, half the baking soda and add 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. You might also try oat flour or an all-purpose gluten-free flour, while not grain-free or low carb, these might work for some of you, they *should* substitute 1:1. Please note – I have not tested ANY of these, so experiment at your own risk and please report back if you do. You CANNOT swap coconut flour for almond flour as a 1:1, they are totally different flours and they behave and react completely different. Coconut flour is more absorbent. A good starting point if opting for coconut flour would be to use 1 cup of tapioca flour and 1 cup of coconut flour in place of the 2 cups of almond flour and add two additional eggs. Again, these are educated guesses, this HAS NOT been tested on my end.
Optional Add-ins for Low Carb Banana Bread:
Add in your favorite nut or seed, walnuts, pecans or hemp seeds are really great options. You can also add in dark chocolate chips or chunks, cacao nibs, cranberries, raisins or other dried fruit. You can also add cut up bananas to the top of your loaf just before baking.
- 2 cups blanched superfine almond flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot starch, tapioca starch would also work*
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder, use or make a paleo baking power, if necessary
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- generous pinch ground nutmeg, optional
- 4 small-medium very ripe bananas, or 3 large, mashed well (measures to a bit over 1 cup)
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup ghee, melted (melted coconut oil, avocado oil or melted butter would also work)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a small loaf pan (my pan was 7.5 X 3.5 inches) with parchment paper strips, leaving two inches of overhang on the sides of the pan. Lightly brush or spray the lined pan with oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour breaking up any big clumps, arrowroot starch, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the mashed banana, eggs, vanilla and ghee (or coconut oil) until well combined.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the dry, slowly. Stir by hand until it is smooth and no clumps of flour remains.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Gently tap the pan on the counter top to distribute the batter and eliminate any air pockets.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes until it's a nice deep golden brown color on top and set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (if the top of the loaf starts to brown too quickly, tent it with foil).
- Using the parchment paper strips that overhang, carefully lift up and remove the banana bread from the pan and transfer it to a wire rack to cool. Carefully remove the parchment paper so the bread can cool.
- Allow to cool at least 30 minutes. Cut into 10-12 slices, serve and enjoy.