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 6 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. 5 stars
    I think this recipe is missing salt. I added some. Good recipe though and will use it again. Want to try it in the morning to see if the flavors are enhanced more.

    1. Hi, Jeanne. I really recommend sticking with olive oil for this particular recipe. I've never attempted it with coconut oil, so not sure how well it would turn out.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this wonderful banana bread this afternoon and it's so very good. Thank you for sharing this great recipe with us!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this last evening and it was perfect! The texture, the smell around the house 😍
    I didn't have walnuts at hand, so added some raisins with the dates. Oh, by the way, you were so right; while I loved the warm rich yummy slice I had in the evening, it tasted much better in the morning! Will definitely be making this more often.

    1. Hello! Unfortunately, we don't have metric measurements available for this recipe. We just haven't found the right metric conversion tool for our website quite yet. It's something we're working on solving.

  4. I'm really excited to try your beautiful, colorful recipes and we all deserve a little treat once in awhile. This recipes seems perfect for that. I'm guessing I could use it for making muffins. If I do that, how long would you recommend baking them?

    1. Hi, Kimberly! Based on other reader's comments it's definitely possible, but I have not tried it personally myself so it's hard for me to advise. If you give it a go, will you please stop back and share any tips? Thanks so much!

  5. 5 stars
    This IS the best banana bread ever!! I just made this and went ahead and made another for my in-laws..we have to watch sugar carb etc intake and this is perfect as the mejool dates are sweet by themselves but a healthy sweet. We were sad we had to cut out banana bread but not now, we feel happy and good about having this. I love all of your recipes, thanks for keeping us healthy! 😋

  6. Hi Suzy! What do you recommend for a substitution for the yogurt? I don’t have any yogurt on hand right now. Thanks!

    1. Hi Marissa. To be honest, I only use yogurt in this recipe but some people bake with sour cream or cottage cheese as a substitute.

      1. I’m guessing Buttermilk would be a good substitute for the yogurt! I too love this recipe as I watch my weight and look closely at the ingredients in this particular recipe! Can’t wait to try it! Looks delicious!

  7. Hi! Can you replace the walnuts with e.g. almonds? My daughter is allergic to nuts. Love your recipes by the way and have just started to try them out. 🙂 So far so delicious! /Cecilia from Sweden

    1. Sure! You could try replacing them with another nut... or just omit the walnuts all together if you prefer.

  8. 5 stars
    Haven't had much (ok, any) luck with my quick breads lately so was very relieved when this one turned out - perfectly.
    Delicious, fragrant bread, which came together really well. Very fluffy, soft loaf with beautiful flavour - despite fact that I didn't have any dates on hand. I did increase the cardamom a bit, and added the zest of an orange, for a little zing.
    Next time will add the dates!

  9. Is there a reason you used dates instead of raisins? I'm not a big date fan but I don't want to make it unhealthy by making the substitute.

  10. I used a Pyrex baking dish, and it took a lot longer to cook and was still raw in the middle. I think this would take about 65 to 70 minutes. I might try making this into muffins to cook more quickly. Would you say to bake for 25ish minutes in that case?

    1. Hi, Rosanna! I've personally never tried these in a muffin tin, so it's hard to advise on the time. But, I think if you start checking for doneness around 20 minutes and then keeping an eye on them, you should be good!

  11. 4 stars
    I think the olive oil I used did not meet the mark as it came out tasting and smelling off...sooo don't make the same mistake, and really make sure you use good olive oil! Next time I will use better EVOO. Everything else (texture and spices) was great.

  12. Hello,
    I tried your receipe as is but it didn't turn out well. It was soft from inside so I baked again for 20 minutes. I do not know what went wrong.
    I used round utensil rather than tray you used.

  13. 5 stars
    We love this bread....so easy and yummy. I often tend to toss some extra fruit variant in when I have it on hand. I have used up some pomegranate on one loaf which was really delicious and today I had a bunch of blackberries so I tossed in some of those. I am really looking forward to it. Thanks for such great ideas!

  14. 5 stars
    An incredibly moist and deliciously satisfying banana walnut date loaf! If you don't mind Suzy, this bread recipe is now MY Saturday morning start to the weekend. My husband and I are enjoying all of your magnificent recipes! CHEERS! We are looking forward to your weekly recipes. And all of your videos and tips for cooking are so helpful. We can't thank you enough!

  15. 5 stars
    Learning the MD way. This was easy to make and some Ingredients I didn’t have - so I used Almond Greek yogurt, Simply Almond Milk, Chocolate chips since I didn’t have dates and pecans since didn’t have Walnuts. Hubby could barely wait for the 10 min cool down.