How did I make this blueberry banana bread recipe vegan? Lots of substitutions!
This year I wanted to try baking with some vegan-friendly ingredients, and I had no idea that you could get so many uses from one lovely tropical plant, coconuts! Of course, my favorite form is a cold fresh cracked coconut with a pink umbrella and straw in it (someone, please take me back to Bora Bora!), but coconuts are a baker’s best friend too.
For this recipe, I wanted to make a healthier version of banana bread. I thought this whole wheat vegan blueberry banana bread would be the most delicious way to go. And guess what? I’ve added a yummy oat crumble, the icing on the cake, err I mean, bread!
So how did I make this blueberry banana bread vegan? Lots of substitutions! Coconut oil is like a gift from the heavens. You can use it to replace butter, especially if the recipe calls for the fat to be melted (like muffins and quick breads) and the results are amazing!
Instead of milk, I used full-fat coconut milk and also added coconut sugar instead of sugarcane. The coconut sugar is tan in color like light brown sugar and slightly less sweet than cane sugar. I also made the crumble with coconut oil, it was so easy to use and still gave a nice crunchy topping with the oats and chopped walnuts.
To replace the eggs that I would typically add into the bread, I use ground flaxseed! Simply hydrate a tablespoon in warm water, and voila, you have an alternative that replaces eggs, genius!
I must say, this whole wheat vegan blueberry banana bread is a reduced guilt indulgence. That’s how I like it! The texture was surprisingly moist, tender and flavorful. The ripe bananas and plump blueberries help to add moisture and flavor to the bread. Next time I may even add more blueberries because I like to get a berry with each bite, is that being greedy? At least, I would get more antioxidants to fight those free radicals!
To make this bread healthier, I used whole wheat flour and oats for the recipe. You can substitute all-purpose flour and cane sugar in this recipe, and I’m sure it will taste even better. I was surprised that I didn’t get a strong coconut flavor from using all those coconut based ingredients, but it was nice not to have it be overpowering in the bread, just a hint of light sweet coconut.
I made this blueberry banana bread for some of my buddies at the gym as a healthy post-workout breakfast treat, and they gobbled it up! It can last a few days if wrapped and put in an airtight container. I like to toast a slice and enjoy it with a big glass of soy milk, yum! I’m so intrigued by how coconut oil and flaxseed can be such great vegan-friendly alternative for baking. I can’t wait to experiment more in the kitchen!
What is Coconut Oil and how is it used in cooking?
Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of matured coconuts from those majestic coconut palm trees, which means it has virtually little coconut flavor or aroma. Natural coconut oil is 90% saturated fat, making it solid at a temperature below 76°F and liquid above these temperatures. Even though it’s highly saturated, it has not been further processed to contain trans fats, but it is still wise to use in moderation. It has been increasingly popular in cooking and baking, especially for vegan dishes. It’s a great substitute for butter, shortening, and other liquid oils. It can be used for cooking at temperatures up to 350°F. This recipe uses coconut oil instead of butter, and the result is a tender and moist blueberry banana bread, no one will detect a difference!
Whole Wheat Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread with Oat Crumble
Blueberry Banana Bread-
- 6 tablespoons water, (warm)
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds, ground
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, canned, make sure to stir milk before measuring
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar, or granulated sugar
- 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 cup blueberries
Oat Crumble Topping-
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, or granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, combine the warm water and ground flax seeds. Allow to sit for two minutes until the mixture has the consistency of egg whites.
- In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Add the coconut milk, lemon juice, coconut oil, sugar, and bananas to the flax mixture; stir until just combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold in the blueberries until batter is just combined, do not overmix, set aside.
- To make the crumble topping: In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon coconut sugar or granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and chopped walnuts. Add the 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and combine with a fork, leaving some clumps. Insert the oats and gently mix into the topping mixture.
- Spray 1 large bread pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease lightly with coconut oil. Pour the batter into the pan and place on a baking sheet. Even spread the topping over the batter. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; the bread will be dense and moist. If the crumble topping begins to darken (around 45 minutes into baking), cover lightly with a piece of foil, so the bread continues to cook, but the top does not burn. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove the loaf from the pan and finish cooling on a rack.
- To store leftovers, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate.