Baking, like cooking, is a skill that must be honed. I prefer savoury endeavours in my kitchen: moving onions around in a pan, stirring soups, etc. Except for baking banana bread–banana bread I’ve got down. I also find the task a touch therapeutic, allowing me to both chill and reminisce. The first banana bread (it was in muffin form, but same batter) I made was my grade 2 librarian’s banana muffin recipe; a recipe that can still be found in my mom’s old timey recipe box that I keep in my kitchen. It has those well-loved batter splatters, torn edges, and notations that say a lot about how it’s going to taste.
But, my mom’s old recipe box doesn’t just have this primary school banana muffin recipe, oh no. It also includes such hits as, “Boiled Dressing,” and, “Brad’s Bean Soup” (I have no idea who “Brad” is, but apparently he made a killer bean soup). And, my personal favourite, the unironically named, “Wacky Cake.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this banana bread is much better than my old librarian’s banana muffins. It has a nicer texture. It’s sweetened with maple syrup (in season now, get it while it’s hot) which lends a lovely, rich flavour. It’s made gluten-free with millet and rice flour, but doesn’t crumble or taste like cardboard. It’s safer for those with celiac disease as there’s no oat flour. It’s vegan, with chia seeds in lieu of eggs. And it’s got a hint of something special thanks to floral coconut. You could jazz up your banana loaf and add chocolate chips or chopped walnuts, however, I really don’t think it needs a single extra thing.
Vegan and Gluten-Free Banana Bread with Coconut Recipe
This easy, moist, vegan, and gluten-free banana bread is as good as it gets. Its tender crumb is thanks to millet flour and rice flour, while its gentle sweetness comes naturally from maple syrup, bananas, and floral coconut.
Makes 2 loaves
8 very ripe bananas, divided
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted or extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup millet flour (buy or grind 1 cup whole millet in blender until very fine flour forms) or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 cup white rice flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (skip if using gluten-free all-purpose flour with added xanthan gum)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line 2 standard loaf pans with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal.
- Wet: In a large bowl or stand mixer, mash 6 bananas until smooth. Stir in remaining wet ingredients; set aside.
- Dry: In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except coconut. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; stir until fully combined. Stir in coconut.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf tins, smoothing out tops. Top each loaf with slices of remaining two bananas.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store loaves well-covered in refrigerator, or freeze for up to 2 months.