banana, date and olive oil bread recipe {gluten + dairy-free}

Banana, date + olive oil bread {gluten + dairy-free}

I've had a fruit-bowl full of bananas screaming out at me every morning for the past week. Use me up before I rot, hurry up! See banana's don't keep that well over here in Perth, so I tend to just buy just a handful every few days or so. Last week however, I got a little over-excited and bought loads. Once they turn a lovely shade of brown the kids don't touch them and to be honest, neither do I (unless I use them in a smoothie or to make ice-cream with). 

The banana cake eater of our house is working away at the moment so that was out, but it's slightly less sweet cousin banana bread was calling. I've been doing so much baking for the book lately so this had to be something not overly sweet, sickly or buttery. There's only so much sweet baking one can take, I'm sure even my friends are getting sick of my weekly deliveries of baked goods! Shock horror I know. So in a bid to keep things relatively healthy and light I've used olive oil instead of the usual butter and chopped dates to give a boost of natural sweetness, cutting down on sugar. 

Banana, date + olive oil bread {gluten + dairy-free}

I sliced into this way sooner than I should have in a rush to get this post to you all today, but should you have a little more time and patience than I, try to leave it until it's nearly cold before cutting in, the texture will be much nicer. And should you feel it needs it, a little smear of butter wouldn't go astray too, to serve... if you tolerate. Completely counteracting the butter-less batter I know.

Lastly, thank you all so much for you kind words after my last post talking about my trip home to farewell Grandad. Your support really does mean the world to me xx

Banana, date + olive oil bread {gluten + dairy-free}

banana, date and olive oil bread {gluten + dairy-free}
I used extra virgin olive oil, but I have a feeling you'd get away with using a slightly cheaper olive oil if that's all you have. Cornflour (corn starch could be used in place of tapioca flour if preferred). I use Billington's unrefined raw sugar, found at some supermarkets and health food stores.
Makes 1 loaf

1 cup finely chopped dried dates
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda

3 large over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
the finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
2 free-range eggs
1/2 cup (100g) unrefined raw sugar

1 1/2 cups (180g) fine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (50g) tapioca flour (arrowroot)
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
sunflower and pumpkin (pepita) seeds, to sprinkle, optional

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line a standard loaf tin with baking paper, extending up and over the edges by about 2cm. 

Place chopped dates, water and baking soda into a small bowl, mix and set aside while you start the cake. Combine mashed bananas, olive oil, vanilla, zest, eggs and sugar in a medium bowl and beat until smooth. Sieve over brown rice flour, tapoica flour and baking powder and stir to combine. Add dates and any remaining liquid and stir until just combined. Transfer mixture to prepared loaf tin, sprinkle over seeds if using and bake for 60-75 minutes or until risen, golden and cooked when a skewer is inserted into the centre of the loaf and comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice into thick wedges once cold. Best served on the day of baking. 

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  • JJ - 84thand3rd
    November 29, 2012 at 6:51 am

    The bread sounds great – and congrats on the wonderful book news!! Can't wait to see it!

    • emma
      November 29, 2012 at 8:04 am

      Thanks JJ! xx

  • The InTolerant Chef
    November 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    How lucky that I've got some brown bananas in the fruit bowl right now! Great recipe indeed 🙂

  • Wendy B
    November 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

    oooh sounds so yummy!….I was wondering what to do with those rather soft and not so yellow bananas in the fruit bowl!!! 😀 thank you..cant wait to try this.

  • Minnie(@thelady8home)
    November 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    This is so helpful. I feel so at loss with those bananas, thanks lot for sharing the idea.

  • thelittleloaf
    November 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    This looks absolutely wonderful. I make banana bread all the time but have never made a gluten free version. Definitely going to try this.

  • Suzanne Perazzini
    November 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I've bought myself some brown rice flour and some coconut flour and can't wait to experiment with them but I see tapioca flour in a lot of recipes. Is there are special reason for using at least some of it?

    • emma
      November 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm

      Adding a starch when doing gluten-free baking helps to bind and keep things light. Cornflour (corn starch), tapioca (arrowroot) and potato flour can all be used, although they do give slightly different results.

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      November 30, 2012 at 5:44 am

      Thanks, Emma, I have some cornflour so will use that for the moment.

  • Nicola Galloway
    November 30, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Yum Emma, I love your recipes. I also have a fruit bowl with some rather ripe bananas so here is my answer to what to do with them… Will give it go without the sugar for the little ones. I am sure the banana and dates will be plenty sweet for them. Keep up the great work 🙂

  • Fatima
    November 30, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Thanks so much for this recipe! There is no mention of xttan gum! Is it ok to bake without it? Thanks so much.

    • emma
      November 30, 2012 at 5:11 am

      Absolutely, I don't use gums in my baking any more. There are ways around baking gluten-free without having to use them.

    • Fatima
      November 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Oh great! Ä® just wanted to make sure. Thanks for your quick response.:)

  • vanilla bean blog
    November 30, 2012 at 4:26 am

    Lovely! I've been putting olive oil in all my baked goods lately – I love it so much.

  • Julie Gillison
    December 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I baked this lovely bread over the weekend and it was such a treat to share as we decorated our Christmas tree. I did use Bob's Red Mill egg replacer to make it vegan, and it turned out perfectly well. This recipe is surely a keeper! Thanks greatly for sharing!

    • emma
      December 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      You're welcome, thanks for letting us all know it worked using egg-replacer xx

  • Paola gnom-gnom
    December 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I am actually very interested in playing with this recipe- I love the usage of flours (and I am absolutely ga-ga about banana bread haha). I have actually cut out sugar (even raw) pretty much (unless absolutely necessary) and have been using agave nectar and honey for baking. The agave nectar actually works wonderful with banana breads.

    ps. I recently read a study about how bananas ought to be eaten overly ripe to get most goodness out of them 😉 more power for banana bread haha

    • emma
      December 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Honey works great in this recipe in place of sugar, but I tend to steer clear of agave myself. Do some reading and you might decide you want to too… xx

  • erin @ yummy supper
    December 4, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Emma, your banana bread looks divine. You are doing much healthier eating than I am this time of year.
    Hope your book project is going well!
    xxoo from Berkeley,

    • emma
      December 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks Erin, all going well on the book down these ways, hope yours is going well too xx

  • Colette Just for Foodies
    December 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I'm making this tonight!

  • Sarah Hulett
    March 26, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    Have you tried substituting apple sauce for the oil?

    • emma
      March 26, 2013 at 11:22 pm

      No, but let me know if you do and it works out!

  • Jo Balfe
    July 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I'm about to make this now! You are my favourite food blog for baking ; ) I can't wait for your book to come out.. will save all of this back and forth to the computer! Thank you for the amazing recipes x

    • emma
      July 26, 2013 at 2:57 am

      You're welcome love. I can't wait too, I hate looking up recipes online! xx

  • Vinnie Grewal
    July 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Hi Emma, I tried this recipe today and although it tasted yummy it was crumbling as I sliced the loaf. I did not have potato flour so used cornflour instead. Would that have made a difference in the texture? Love your cookbook by the way 😉

    • emma
      July 22, 2014 at 6:38 am

      It shouldn't have made too much difference in this recipe. I'd say it's more likely that the brown rice flour you used is not a super fine one. This will change the texture. Also, gluten free baking is never overly robust either. Nothing like wheat flour baking anyway 😉

  • Sarah
    May 17, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I just made this for a staff room treat on Monday morning and it is a beautiful recipe – the bread is extremely moist and has a lovely brown, toasted exterior. Date are ridiculously expensive here, so I swapped in a cup of raisins (soaked in a little rum to add a Caribbean twist!). Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  • Germaine Cheong
    February 21, 2016 at 6:08 am

    I used 1/2 cup coconut flour in place of the required amount of brown rice flour, coconut oil, coconut sugar and added an egg. Super moist and yummy, though I might cut half the amount sugar next time. Thank you!

  • jenny
    July 22, 2016 at 2:58 am

    Made this yesterday, thanks for another great recipe! My loaf was super tasty and moist, but also on the crumbly side. Not sure how to 'trouble-shoot' gluten free recipes, would you say more protein-rich flour would help here? Or would you consider using an extra egg? Thanks so much