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Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread (gluten free!)

    Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread (gluten free!)
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    A few years back I shared this incredible almond flour banana bread and it got TONS of rave reviews from AK readers. After that, I figured it was time to try another version that was just as unbelievably delicious. So I set out on a quest to make a banana bread that tasted exactly like a fudgy brownie. It turned out even better than I could’ve imagined and has quickly become one of the most popular quick breads on Ambitious Kitchen!

    That’s right everyone, this healthy chocolate banana bread truly tastes just like a fudgy brownie and you’re going to want to bake it up ASAP. I was blown away the first time I had a slice, and then immediately ate another one topped with peanut butter + a sprinkle of sea salt.

    Yep, it’s that good.

    healthy chocolate banana bread on parchment paper

    What makes this chocolate banana bread healthy?

    Traditional chocolate banana breads tend to be packed with oil and refined sugars, making them almost like a rich cake. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good slice of cake, but I wanted to lighten up this chocolate banana bread to make it a wonderful snack, easy breakfast or even a healthier dessert. What makes this bread more nutritious? It’s:

    • Oil-free: that’s right, this healthy chocolate banana bread is deliciously moist without having any excess oil.
    • Naturally sweetened: with just ripe bananas and pure maple syrup. Dark chocolate chips add an extra touch of sweetness — feel free to use whatever brand you like.
    • Gluten, grain & dairy free (and paleo): because this bread just uses almond flour + cocoa powder as the dry ingredients and zero butter or other types of dairy.
    • Filled with healthy fats: almond flour also provides a good amount of healthy fats to keep you feeling satisfied when you enjoy the bread for breakfast or as a snack.

    unbaked healthy gluten free chocolate banana bread in a loaf pan

    Ingredients in healthy chocolate banana bread

    This incredible grain & gluten free chocolate banana bread recipe is naturally sweetened, lower in carbs and made with healthy fats. I love how nourishing it is thanks to almond flour, easy to make, and absolutely perfect for all of my chocolate lovers. Plus, it’s deliciously moist and packed with plenty of chocolate chips. What’s life without chocolate? Here’s what you’ll need:

    • Overripe bananas: make sure to use bananas that have lots of brown spots on them. This will give the bread a natural sweetness.
    • eggs: the eggs keep this chocolate banana bread super moist and fluffy. I haven’t tried it with flax eggs but let me know if you give it a shot.
    • Pure maple syrup: you’ll just need a bit of maple syrup so that the bread is perfectly sweet. Date syrup would also work well. I would not recommend using honey as it could cause the bread to burn.
    • vanilla extract: just a little vanilla makes a big difference in baking. If you’re out you can also use a splash of bourbon. Learn how to make vanilla extract here!
    • almond flour: we’re using fine, blanched almond flour in this recipe to keep it gluten & grain free.
    • Unsweetened cocoa powder: this gives the bread that rich chocolate flavor.
    • Baking staples: gotta have both baking soda and salt.
    • dark chocolate chips: is there anything better than bites of chocolate in every slice? Feel free to use dairy free chocolate chips, too.
    • fancy sea salt: I love sprinkling a little fancy sea salt on top of each slice. Optional, but so delicious!

    gluten free chocolate banana bread sliced

    Tips for making this banana bread

    Here are some of my best tips for ensuring your gluten free chocolate banana bread comes out perfect:

    • Follow the recipe. The best way to ensure the success of this healthy chocolate banana bread is to follow the recipe and use the exact ingredients as written. I haven’t tried this bread with different flour substitutes, so I’m not sure how the bread would turn out when substituting them.
    • Use overripe bananas. Using bananas that have LOTS AND LOTS of brown spots and are very soft will help keep this banana bread both sweet, perfectly moist and delicious. Trust me.
    • Use fresh baking soda. If your baking soda is older than 3 months, I suggest grabbing a new one for best baking results.
    • Enjoy it the next day. Banana bread is always best the day after it’s baked, as the sugars release the bread gets sweeter!
    • Add your fav mix-ins. Feel free to add in 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans for additional healthy fats!

    Turn it into muffins

    You can absolutely use this gluten free chocolate banana bread recipe and turn it into muffins! Here’s how to do it:

    1. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or use muffin liners. To be safe, I always spray the inside of the liners too.
    2. Prepare the batter as directed, then divide evenly between liners.
    3. Bake for 18-23 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a tester comes out clean.

    healthy chocolate banana bread sliced ​​on a wire rack

    Storing & freezing tips

    • To store: this healthy chocolate banana bread should be kept well-covered in foil or plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days, then I recommend transferring to the fridge or freezer.
    • To freeze: simply wrap in plastic, then tightly in foil, and finally place in a reusable bag or freezer-friendly bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature once you are ready to eat. You can also feel free to freeze individual slices for a quick on-the-go treat.

    slice of healthy chocolate banana bread topped with peanut butter on a plate

    More ways to use ripe bananas

    Get all of my recipes using ripe bananas here!

    If you make this healthy chocolate banana bread recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe! You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. xo!

    Healthy Chocolate Banana Bread

    sliced ​​healthy chocolate banana bread loaf

    Total Time 1 hours 5 minutes

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    Healthy chocolate banana bread made with almond flour and sweetened only with bananas and a touch of pure maple syrup. This paleo, dairy free and gluten free chocolate banana bread tastes like a delicious brownie and will be your new favorite to bake when you have extra bananas.

    Ingredients

    • 3
      very ripe medium bananas (ones with LOTS of brown spots), mashed (1 ¼ cups mashed banana)
    • 3
      eggs
    • ¼
      cup
      pure maple syrup
    • 1
      teaspoon
      vanilla extract
    • 2 ½
      cups
      packed fine blanched almond flour
    • ½
      cup
      unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1
      teaspoon
      baking soda
    • 1/2
      teaspoon
      salt
    • ½
      cup
      dark chocolate chips (dairy free if desired), plus 2 tablespoons extra chocolate chips for sprinkling on top
    • Fancy sea salt, for sprinkling on top

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, eggs, pure maple syrup and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in the almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Use a wooden spoon to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    3. To beat into prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 50 minutes-65 minutes or until the tester comes out almost clean in the middle of the bread. Cool bread for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Once cool, cut into 12 slices. The bread is best the next day (as are all banana breads!) Top with your favorite nut butter or butter and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Enjoy!

    Recipe Notes

    Feel free to add in ⅓ cup chopped walnuts or pecans for additional healthy fats.

    Bread should be kept well-covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, then I recommend transferring to the fridge or freezer.

    This bread freezes well, simply wrap in plastic, then tightly in foil and finally place in a reusable bag or freezer friendly bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature once you are ready to eat. You can also feel free to freeze individual slices for a quick on the go treat.

    Nutrition

    Services: 12 servings

    Serving size: 1 slice

    calories: 258kcal

    Fat: 17g

    Saturated fat: 3.9g

    Carbohydrates: 25.7g

    fiber: 5.3g

    Sugar: 14.9g

    protein: 7.5g

    Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

    This post was originally published on June 9th, 2020, and republished on January 22nd, 2023.

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