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. I made the banana bread and it does not taste nice with the honey plus the texture is not right - now I have been making for 60 years and all my cakes rise up but this one did not do it but your texture is wrong in this cake - I make great sponges and pavlovas so I know how the texture of a good cake but this is not what I like in a cake - thanks for the recipe - I was wondering if you changed the original recipe and this might be why it is not right but thanks for sharing

  2. 5 stars
    This is our go-to banana bread every since we began making it from your book! I do have to vary it for our gluten free family members and it still comes out perfect every time! I have used both the King Arthur gluten free flour and the Pillsbury brand (both with xanthum gum) or a mix of the two gluten-free flours and no one can tell it's gluten free! I also use a goat's milk dairy or almond/coconut milk with still no fail results! We all can't wait for our bananas to ripen to make this delicious and healthier banana bread! 😄

  3. 5 stars
    As a person who loves butter too much, I am so impressed with this recipie. Easy, absolutely delicious. Olive oil not overwhelming. Left out cardamom, thought nutmeg and cinnamon sufficient. Cooked much longer than 50 min, prob because my bananas were almost liquid 😉 thank you!

  4. Made this recipe many times. Can you substitute zucchini for the bananas and would it be equal amounts?

    1. Hi, Sherry. Yes, I think it would work to replace the the bananas with zucchini in this recipe. We've never tested it ourselves, though, so I can't really advise on how much you would need. If you give it a try, please stop back and share you thoughts!

  5. I made this exactly as described. It is delicious! Super moist and flavorful. Not quite as sweet as regular banana bread but wonderful nonetheless. I recommend the full 3/4 tsp. of cardamom the extra spices add so much flavor.

  6. Dear Suzy,
    Thank you for all your beautiful recipes. Whenever it's possible would you please write the ingredients also in gramms for your european followers? Greetings from France 💋

  7. 5 stars
    This is so soft - like a cloud! Just the right amount of sweetness. I've made it twice: once with raisins and the second time with dates. Can't wait to make it again 🙂

  8. I made your Banana Date Loaf. It is simply FANTASTIC!
    Many thanks, Suzy!
    Beanie Beard
    East London, South Africa

  9. This is absolutely gorgeous. I wasn't sure about a cake with no butter or sugar, but it is delicious. Will definitely make it again.

  10. 5 stars
    Very moist and great banana flavor. I divided the batch in half and baked two loaves. Gave the one loaf away and they loved it. Definitely will make again!

  11. 5 stars
    Made this last night, it was fabulous! I did sub out 2/3 of the flour for freshly milled hard white wheat & lowered the amount of dates & honey by half. But I think this is the best banana bread I have ever made! Thank you for a great recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe!! It is one of my favorites 😊 I make it into mini muffins and store them in groups of 5 for a quick on the go breakfast.

  13. This was absolutely delicious! The dates melt into the bread and provide such sweetness, and it is an incredibly moist quickbread. Sweet without being too sweet!

  14. 5 stars
    This Banana Bread is so good. I used sour cream and raisins, as I didn't have dates and yogurt. The honey added enough sweetness and it's super moist. This is my new go-to Banana Bread recipe. Thank you!