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Banana Date Bread – Healthy & Sugar Free

March 16, 2020

A healthy spin on the classic, this super moist Banana Date Bread uses only natural sweeteners and is made with healthier spelt flour. A dairy-free version is also available. Healthy, sugar-free, and crazy delicious!

Sugar-free banana date bread overhead shot

I think we all know by now that I really like my fruit breads. They are always perfect for breakfast, a midday snack, or a light dessert. And it seems that you like fruit breads too! My moist banana bread is the most popular recipe on this site. It has over 100,000 repins on Pinterest alone!

Because that banana bread was so popular, I decided to give you (and me) a slightly healthier version. No plain flour or sugar here, just spelt flour and dates to keep things yummy for my sweet tooth. All the healthy ingredients make it even easier to justify a big slice for breakfast!

Using Dates as a Sugar Alternative

Dates are a wonderful healthy sweet. All those natural sugars from the date fruit are concentrated in the drying process. At my house, we always have a box in the fridge for when the urge to snack on something sweet takes us. Frequently I will blend them with yogurt or milk to add to pancakes and other foods. It makes it that much easier to get the kids to eat healthy foods.

Freshly baked and sliced banana date loaf

Dates are also great for energy balls like my chocolate energy bites. Instead of using honey as the recipe calls for, you could blend dates with just a bit of water to create a paste. Energy balls are perfect for school lunches or gym snacks. You can just grab a couple on the go.

Because I wanted to avoid processed sugar for this recipe, I didn’t want to top the bread with streusel or frosting as I have done before. Instead, I topped it with date pieces! You don’t have to do so on your loaf, but I really recommend it – everyone wants a slice with some dates in my house. Like any fruit, the exposed dates caramelize just a little bit in the oven making the flavor even more amazing.

What is Spelt Flour?

Spelt is frequently considered an “ancient grain” because it is a crop that can occur naturally without human crossbreeding. It is a variety of wheat that is more nutrient-dense than standard mass-produced red wheat. Spelt has a deeper flavor than standard wheat and is great for use in muffins or healthy cakes.

Healthy banana date bread sliced on the table

Just like wheat flour, spelt comes in two varieties: whole and white. Whole spelt four is ground with the bran (outer coating of the grain) and contains extra nutrients and fiber. White spelt flour, on the other hand, has the bran removed. BUT. The good news is, nutrients are spread out throughout all the layers of the spelt grain, so they remain even in finely ground white spelt flour. There is also a third variety – light spelt flour, which is a mixture of whole and white ones.

I usually use the white variety because it’s a perfect substitute for all-purpose flour. In most recipes, white spelt flour can replace all-purpose in a 1:1 ratio.

Slices of banana date nut bread on the plate

Spelt is not gluten-free, but it has different gluten proteins and fewer of them than standard wheat. While not a good substitute for those looking to avoid gluten completely, some people with mild gluten sensitivity find spelt an acceptable alternative. I like using it because of the high nutrient content and unique flavor. As you know, I will always choose something flavorful and healthy!

And spelt is the perfect flour for a banana bread. Nutty, nutrient-dense, and low gluten for a wonderfully crumbly, naturally sweetened fruit loaf. I bet it will barely last two days in your house!

Sliced banana date loaf

Banana Date Bread

This Banana Date Bread is a healthy twist on a classic. No added sugar and spelt flour instead of wheat flour. Dairy-free option is also available!
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 451kcal
Author: Jovita | Yummy Addiction

Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 6 oz. (170g) pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups (250g) white spelt flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 3 very ripe bananas , mashed with a fork or potato masher
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts , toasted and chopped
  • 8 dates , pitted and halved, for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a small food processor, blend the dates and buttermilk until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter with a hand mixer in another bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs. Mix in the date and buttermilk mixture, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract.
  • Slowly stir in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Do not over stir. Gently stir in the walnuts. The batter will be thick.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top. Gently press the date halves into the batter. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan.

Notes

Dairy-free option: You can use almond milk or any other nut or seed milk instead of buttermilk. Butter can be substituted with coconut oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 68.3g | Protein: 7.8g | Fat: 18.6g | Cholesterol: 78.7mg | Sodium: 340.9mg | Sugar: 34.5g | Vitamin A: 9IU | Vitamin C: 7mg
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: banana date nut bread, healthy, sugar free
Nutrition Facts
Banana Date Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 451 Calories from Fat 167
% Daily Value*
Fat 18.6g29%
Cholesterol 78.7mg26%
Sodium 340.9mg15%
Carbohydrates 68.3g23%
Sugar 34.5g38%
Protein 7.8g16%
Vitamin A 9IU0%
Vitamin C 7mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Charla @ That Girl Cooks Healthy
    March 25, 2020 at 7:19 am

    You can’t go wrong with banana bread made with dates and I’m also impressed that you didn’t have to resort to using any additional sugar.5 stars

    • Reply
      Jovita
      March 27, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Sometimes even I am surprised how well bananas and dates sweeten things 🙂

  • Reply
    Adrianne
    March 25, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Oh yum!! I think these looks like it would taste amazing. Bet it smells great too. Love the spelt flour. Cheers5 stars

    • Reply
      Jovita
      March 27, 2020 at 10:18 am

      Lately, I use exclusively spelt flour for all my recipes. It’s great that white spelt flour can substitute all-purpose in 1:1 ratio. No need to redo the recipe!

  • Reply
    thisiswholesome
    March 25, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I love that you chose to sweeten it naturally. This bread is all I need for a filling healthy breakfast. I’d pair it with some almond butter…yum!5 stars

    • Reply
      Jovita
      March 27, 2020 at 10:19 am

      Almond butter is a great idea! And yes, it’s really great for a quick breakfast 🙂

  • Reply
    Alison
    March 25, 2020 at 11:43 am

    I love a good banana bread but never used dates before. It really added something special.5 stars

    • Reply
      Jovita
      March 27, 2020 at 10:20 am

      I am sure you would love it, Alison 😉

  • Reply
    kim
    March 25, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Yum! I’m a huge fan of dates and I love the flavor that they add to this banana bread. Such a delicious recipe that I’ll make again and again!5 stars

    • Reply
      Jovita
      March 27, 2020 at 10:21 am

      High five from another date lover! The recipe is really good, I can vouch for it 🙂

  • Reply
    Haley
    May 7, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    Can you use another flour? Because of this quarantine I cannot find spelt flour anywhere. Can I use all purpose?

    • Reply
      Jovita
      May 11, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      Yes, absolutely. As I mentioned in the blog post: “white spelt flour can replace all-purpose in a 1:1 ratio.” 🙂

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