This healthy banana walnut bread swaps butter and sugar for flavorful and nutritious extra virgin olive oil and honey. Warming spices and Medjool dates bring a Mediterranean flair, and the oil keeps this not-too-sweet treat fluffy and delicious for days!

Slices of banana walnut bread

This walnut banana bread is a total game-changer: delicious, super moist, and perfectly sweetened. I make a mean baklava if I do say so myself, but when it comes to cakes I am all for easy options that require one bowl and one pan. That's why this healthy banana bread is one of my favorite goodies to make.

Three super-ripe bananas turning brown on your counter are not much to celebrate. But just as a day-old loaf can become pan con tomate, overripe bananas can become a healthy breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up that still feels like a special indulgence. Particularly with freshly brewed coffee or Arabic tea!

Table of Contents
  1. Banana Walnut Bread Ingredients
  2. How to Make Banana Walnut Bread
  3. How to Store Banana Bread
  4. What to Serve with Banana Walnut Bread
  5. More Not-Too-Sweet Treats
  6. Buttery, Smooth Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil–Perfect for Baking!
  7. Banana Walnut Bread Recipe
Ingredients for banana walnut bread

Banana Walnut Bread Ingredients

You likely already have a lot of what you’ll need for this healthy banana bread on hand. Here are the ingredients for banana walnut bread: 

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Replaces the butter which is more traditional. Olive oil has a stronger flavor than butter so it’s essential to use a smooth, high-quality oil with a pleasant flavor. I like our extra smooth Private Reserve Greek or buttery Italian Nocellara.
  • Honey: Sweetens and holds the batter together. Use high quality, full flavored honey–I like our Greek Alfa Honey.
  • Eggs: Hold the batter together. 
  • Bananas: Allow the bananas to ripen on your counter until they turn brown; the delightful sweetness and tender texture of overripe bananas are best for banana bread.
  • Dairy: Fat free plain yogurt and low fat or nonfat milk add richness.
  • Baking soda: Gives the banana bread a nice rise.
  • Vanilla extract: Adds depth. 
  • Spices: Ground cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the major flavor-makers for this recipe. 
  • All purpose flour: You can substitute one for one with gluten free flour if you’d like. 
  • Medjool dates: Add bursts of sweetness and a pleasant gummy texture. They are also high in fiber, and packed with antioxidants and essential nutrients. You can substitute with other dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries, if you’d like. 
  • Walnuts: Unsalted, unroasted walnuts–sometimes labeled “raw”–add crunch and protein.

Whole loaf of banana walnut bread on wire rack
How to Make Banana Walnut Bread

Making healthy banana bread is easy, just be careful not to overmix the batter once you add the flour. This will keep your bread light and fluffy! Here’s how to make banana bread: 

  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a non-stick 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. 
  • Begin combining the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ⅓ cup of olive oil and ½ cup of honey. Add 2 eggs and whisk again to combine.
  • Season. Mash 3 extra ripe bananas with a fork and add, along with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and ¼ cup of milk. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda and vanilla extract, ½ to ¾ teaspoon of ground cardamom (start small if you’re unsure), and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk well to combine.
  • Add the flour, dates, and walnuts. Using a spatula, fold in 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour until just combined. Add 6 chopped dates and ⅓ cup of chopped walnuts and gently stir the batter once more.Mix for banana walnut bread in mixing bowl
  • Bake. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and shake or tap on your counter so it evens out. Bake on the center rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Banana walnut bread mix in baking pan
  • Cool. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!Loaf of banana walnut bread in baking pan

How to Store Banana Bread

This healthy banana bread will keep very well for up to one week in the refrigerator, and up to 3 months in your freezer. In fact, I often make an extra loaf or two to freeze for later use.

First, allow the bread to cool completely. Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap. From there, here’s how you store banana bread: 

  • On the counter: Set the wrapped bread in an airtight container and enjoy within four days.
  • In the refrigerator: Set the wrapped bread in an airtight container and enjoy within one week.
  • In the freezer: Wrap it with freezer plastic wrap or heavy-duty freezer bags. Enjoy within three months, allowing it to thaw overnight at room temperature.
Olive Oil Banana Walnut Bread with Honey and Dates

What to Serve with Banana Walnut Bread

I love healthy banana bread as a quick breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up. Serve at room temperature. Or, warm banana bread slices in your oven right on the rack at 325°F, in your toaster or toaster oven.

Delicious on its own, this walnut banana bread doesn’t need any embellishment. If you’d like to dress it up a little, try a drizzle of olive oil, some quick berry compote, and/or a scoop of Greek yogurt. If you’re feeling indulgent, spread on some butter, mascarpone, or cream cheese for a special treat, and serve alongside freshly brewed coffee or Arabic tea with fresh mint

More Not-Too-Sweet Treats

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A bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

Buttery, Smooth Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil–Perfect for Baking!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil from hand-picked, cold-extracted Nocellara olives.

5 from 9 votes

Banana Walnut Bread

Suzy Karadsheh
Slices of banana walnut bread
This healthy banana bread swaps refined sugar and butter for flavorful honey and extra virgin olive oil. Plus, it’s even better the next day. Make this easy banana bread for a nutritious breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.
Prep – 15 minutes
Cook – 55 minutes
Cuisine:
American
Serves – 9 Slices
Course:
Bread

Ingredients
  

  • cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 extra ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons low fat plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup low fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom (if you're not sure you'll like it, start with the smaller amount)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour or gluten free flour
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about ½ cup chopped dates)
  • cup chopped walnuts

Instructions
 

  • Get ready. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a non-stick 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  • Begin combining the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil and honey. Add the eggs and whisk again to combine.
  • Season. Now add the bananas, yogurt, milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk again.
  • Add the flour, dates, and walnuts. Using a spatula, fold in the flour until just combined; then add the dates and walnuts and gently stir the batter once more.
  • Bake. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and shake very gently so it evens out. Bake on the center rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
  • Cool. Remove from the oven and let the bread cool for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes or so. Slice and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Use the best extra virgin olive oil you can or you may risk a rancid or bitter-tasting loaf. I used our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil here; it adds great depth and keeps the loaf tasty and moist.
  • To store: Properly-stored, fresh banana bread will keep for 1 to 2 days at room temperature or up to 1 week in the fridge. Allow to cool completely, then wrap the banana bread in plastic wrap, then store it in an air-tight container to keep it moist. And because I use olive oil in this banana bread recipe, it is even more rich and moist the next day! I often make an extra loaf or two to freeze for later use. 
  • To freeze: Let your freshly-baked banana bread cool completely, then wrap it with freezer plastic wrap or heavy-duty freezer bags. Properly stored, it will keep well in the freezer for 2 to 3 months.
  • Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils, honey, jams, and spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 290.1kcalCarbohydrates: 43.2gProtein: 4.6gFat: 12.1gSaturated Fat: 1.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6.6gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 142.8mgPotassium: 197.2mgFiber: 2gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 93.1IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 42.1mgIron: 1.5mg
Tried this recipe?

Note: This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in the fall of 2018 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy! 

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Laura says:

    5 stars
    This banana bread was delicious!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Awesome! Thanks for giving it a try!

  2. Lauren Kelly says:

    5 stars
    This is my favorite bread ever! I love the added walnuts!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Yay! So glad

  3. Laura Reese says:

    5 stars
    The nuts make this bread so delicious. I love this banana bread too.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      so glad you enjoyed it

  4. Kristyn says:

    5 stars
    Love all the different things you can add to banana bread! They all take it up a notch (not that it needs it)! This is incredibly moist & delicious!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Kristyn!

  5. Kellie Hemmerly says:

    5 stars
    This is our favorite banana bread! So easy and the nuts add a nice crunch.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thanks for trying it!

  6. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    Love making bread all fall long & banana bread is our favorite! Love adding the nuts. It gives a nice crunch, but is still so soft!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      I am so with you! Love making Banana Bread!

  7. Melissa says:

    5 stars
    Yum - great recipe! Turned out perfectly and it felt great to have a healthier option!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Yay! So glad.

  8. Pam Greer says:

    5 stars
    I have been slowly replacing butter with extra virgin olive oil, so this recipe is a must make! I also love that it doesn't have any refined sugar!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Let us know what you think!

  9. Beth says:

    5 stars
    This is a fabulous, filling breakfast or snack - Yum!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Yay! So happy you enjoyed it.

  10. Mia says:

    are there other ingredients that I can use as a substitute for these 2 ingredients (I am lactose intolerant)
    • 2 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
    • 1/4 cup fat free or low-fat milk

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hi Mia. I haven't run into this myself, but you can use non-dairy milk (nut milk options) and similarly non-dairy yogurt products.

  11. Deepa B says:

    5 stars
    This recipe! Goodness me, it is so good! I've been making banana bread for ages but it's never turned out this great. Thank you, Suzy. So very much. Your website is amazing, I've been cooking a lot of your recipes lately.

    By the way, I used 1 egg instead of 2, making up by adding 3 ripe bananas instead of 2. I also held back on the honey a little too because I didn't want it too sweet, and it was still super soft. I also added several seeds (cucumber, sunflower, etc) I had and it gave the bread a gorgeous texture when mixed with the dates.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Deepa, thank you so much! This banana bread is one of my personal favorites, and it sounds like a winner for you as well. Thanks for sharing your variation!

    2. Tawana says:

      Reckon I can make this into muffins?

      1. Suzy says:

        You sure can!! 🙂

  12. Kara says:

    5 stars
    This banana bread with a Mediterranean flare was delicious!

    I followed the recipe with these adjustments: half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour, whole milk plain yogurt, and 1/2 tsp of cardamom.

    The cardamom gave the bread just a hint of a fresher fruity taste. 55 minute baking time worked out perfect for my 1.5 qt. Le Creuset loaf pan.

    This bread will be on regular rotation at our house!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thanks so much, Kara! Glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for sharing your adjustments.

  13. Jan says:

    can you use maple syrup instead of honey? I want to bake this for a friend but she is anaphylactic to honey!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Hi Jan, I would assume it will work. A different flavor profile, though.

  14. cjchavez75 says:

    This recipe is amazing.

  15. Candace says:

    Will a bundt pan work to bake this in? Unfortunately do not have loaf pans.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      A loaf pan works better here, Candace

  16. Kay says:

    I've never had cardamom, so I'm not sure. I also love nuts, a must.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      You can omit the cardamom or use just a little hint to try 🙂