Jennifer Tyler Lee is an award-winning author, self-trained home cook, and healthy eating advocate. In her upcoming book, Half the Sugar, All the Love, Jennifer shares innovative and delicious low-sugar recipes to show that reducing added sugar doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love—the trick is to sweeten them naturally with fruits and vegetables instead of added sugar. We're big fans of her doctor-approved recipes, especially this super moist banana bread.
Ripe bananas, Medjool dates, and Greek yogurt give this no sugar banana bread its tender, moist crumb and delicious, natural sweetness. Waiting for the bananas to fully ripen is critical to ensure their natural sugars have time to develop, so don’t rush this step. Your bananas should be dark and speckled. Toasted pecans add an extra layer of sweetness and texture.
No Sugar Banana Bread
- 10oz Medjool dates, pitted (about 10 to 12 dates)
- 3/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
- 3 over ripe medium bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
- 1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/3 cup coconut oil or unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on either side, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. If using, add the pecans to a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place pitted dates in a medium bowl. Cover the dates with 2 cups of hot water. Set aside until the dates are softened, about 10 minutes. Drain the dates, reserving 2 tablespoons of the liquid.
In a food processor, combine the dates, reserved liquid, and yogurt. Process until smooth and no flecks of date remain, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the mashed bananas, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Set aside.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until the coconut oil combines with the flour into a mealy powder, about 30 seconds. Add the date and banana mixture and continue mixing only until just combined and no flour remains.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, top with nuts if using, and bake until the bread is lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then use the parchment overhang to pull the bread out of the pan. Serve warm. Banana bread will keep wrapped in plastic at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Excerpted from Half the Sugar, All the Love by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Anisha Patel, MD, MSPH (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2019. Photograph by Erin Scott.