SPELT BANANA BREAD WITH PECANS & CHOCOLATE CHUNKS

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It is honestly difficult to gauge what is appropriate to share right now. I had a roundup style post of pantry-friendly recipes ready to go, but it all had such strong doomsday-ish undertones to me. I know that these recipes are practical and needed for folks working through this collective unknown. I also know that as this time period of social distancing goes on, I’ll probably be sharing that content eventually, but right now I’m looking to cook for comfort as much as possible. Enjoying simple things in the moment.


There are so many messages that we’re being bombarded with on the news and social media right now, especially in the whole food and wellness community. Take vitamin C, get daily exercise, make sure you’re eating vegetables, go outside, sleep for at least 6 hours a day, don’t eat sugar, don’t drink alcohol, take adaptogens (uuuugh), engage in daily self-care practices, the list goes on.

All of these things are fine if you can do them, but if you’re experiencing acute levels of anxiety with no access to medication/support and you also have children to look after, sufficient sleep and self-care goes out the window fast. I saw a heartbreaking photograph of a frail elderly man staring forlornly at a wall of empty shelves at a grocery shore. Is someone going to scream at him to eat vegetables? If you’re living pay check to pay check and your employer just closed up shop, adaptogens are seriously the dumbest thing to be spending your money on. People with a platform: please think about your privilege and consider perspectives outside of your immediate awareness as you share new content right now.

I always ask myself if what I’m posting is helpful or useful. This feels especially vital in times of uncertainty. I am aiming to use my platform to spread moments of calm, positive energy (that’s also locked in on the seriousness of it all), and obviously some home cooking inspiration. This is a defining moment for all of us. I am trying to be mindful, useful, and compassionate.

There will be pantry-friendly recipes to come and of course I will be much more diligent on substitution questions as they come in. We all have to take this social distancing responsibility seriously to help those most at risk and to lessen the burden on health and medical professionals. If this means cooking and attempting to remix rice and beans for weeks at a time, I think we can do that. If you need help, I’m here.

I had a bunch of deep brown bananas on the counter and while freezing them for smoothies or another future use may have been smarter, comfort and a break from this new routine just seemed necessary. My partner and I are learning how to work together at home and a treat felt like the right thing. All we have is each other and the present moment. Be safe out there and keep looking out for your community. See you on here soon. Sending all my love <3

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VEGAN SPELT BANANA BREAD WITH PECANS & CHOCOLATE CHUNKS

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: Makes one 9×5 loaf
NOTES: You could easily substitute the following flours 1-to-1 for the spelt: whole wheat pastry flour, whole kamut flour, whole wheat flour or whole grain spelt flour (being mindful of the fact that whole grain flours will make the loaf more dense), all purpose flour, and gluten-free all purpose flour.
-Any add-ins you like are great! Use up to 1 ½ cups of chopped nuts, seeds, chocolate chunks/chips, or chopped dried fruit. You could also add other warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom etc.
-You can mash the bananas by hand if you wish! I just like to get them thoroughly pureed in the blender.
-This recipe is inspired by both Lily Diamond’s and Sarah Britton’s banana breads.

2 cups light spelt flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ cup dairy-free chocolate chunks
¾ cup pecan halves, chopped
4-5 very ripe bananas, peeled (1 ½ cups mashed banana total)
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup melted coconut oil (or avocado oil, sunflower oil, melted vegan butter etc), plus extra
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan and then line it with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment as well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the spelt flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, chocolate chunks, and chopped pecans. Stir with a spatula to evenly mix.

In an upright blender, combine the bananas, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Blend on high until totally smooth and creamy.

Pour the pureed banana mixture into the large bowl with the spelt flour mixture. Use your spatula to get all of the banana mixture you can out of the blender. Gently stir and fold everything together until JUST combined.

Scrape the spelt banana bread batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with your spatula. You can garnish the top with extra pecans and chocolate chunks if you like. Bang the filled loaf pan on the counter a couple times to evenly distribute the batter and to fill all spaces of the loaf pan.

Bake the spelt banana bread for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester/paring knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow the banana bread to cool thoroughly before slicing and enjoying.

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  • Amy Jarboe18/03/2020 - 2:51 pm

    Thanks for this post! I only have 3 med-large ripe bananas in my quarantine life. What size were your bananas and do you know about how many cups mashed they equaled? Appreciate any info on this front so that I can scale as appropriate as I still plan to bake!ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/03/2020 - 3:09 pm

      Hi Amy! You’ll need about 1.5 cups of mashed banana. If you have a significant deficit (anything exceeding 1/3 cup-ish), you can top it up with applesauce, cooked and mashed sweet potatoes or even canned pumpkin.
      -LReplyCancel

      • Amy18/03/2020 - 3:23 pm

        Thank you! I think my bananas are large enough to get to about 1.5c!!!ReplyCancel

        • Laura18/03/2020 - 3:35 pm

          Hooray!! The small wins are so big these days :)
          xo LReplyCancel

      • Jill18/03/2020 - 4:43 pm

        I’m grateful you posted an amount. To me, 4-5 bananas is closer to 2.5 cups. In this case, size really does matter. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Tania Meacher18/03/2020 - 2:57 pm

    Sounds delicious! Any idea on carb content. My husband is a diabetic, so looking for ideas to keep it as low carb as possible but a nice little treat occasionally.ReplyCancel

    • Laura18/03/2020 - 3:08 pm

      Hi Tania! I would recommend running the ingredients through one of the many free online nutrition calculators/apps available (My Fitness Pal, Lose It app or Self Magazine’s Nutrition Data site). As a personal rule, I’ve never included nutrition information on my recipes here. My initial guess is that the carb content is going to be on the higher side since there is grain-based flour, maple syrup, and bananas here.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Lauren18/03/2020 - 3:50 pm

    I hate to be “that” person but I am not typically a baker. I have found myself longing for some comforting baked goods with limited ingredients on hand — I have everything here except the bananas! Do you think I could sub the banana for sweet potato purée?
    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I appreciate how thoughtful you are and look forward to seeing more posts from you over these weeks of social distancing.ReplyCancel

    • Shelby18/03/2020 - 4:58 pm

      Thank you for your wise words during these times! Recipe looks delicious and comforting. Wondering if I could sub einkorn all purpose flour for the spelt? Thank you!ReplyCancel

      • Laura18/03/2020 - 5:12 pm

        Hey Shelby,
        Thanks for this! In the recipe headnotes, I mention appropriate flour substitutions and I do recommend all-purpose flour there. Since einkorn is wheat-based, it should also be fine!
        -LReplyCancel

        • Shelby18/03/2020 - 6:36 pm

          Haha woops, yep, there it is, thanks!ReplyCancel

          • Shannon Donohue07/04/2020 - 10:42 am

            Hi. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup melted coconut oil “plus extra” but there is no guidance on what the extra is for?

            Thanks.

          • Laura13/04/2020 - 9:45 am

            Hi Shannon,
            The extra coconut oil is for greasing the loaf pan!
            -L

    • Laura18/03/2020 - 5:14 pm

      Hi Lauren! The following things will substitute for mashed banana: cooked sweet potato, butternut squash, and canned pumpkin! Lots of options ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Allegra D'Agostini18/03/2020 - 6:51 pm

    Beautiful post – finding relief and comfort in the little things is so important right now. Hoping to make this soon xReplyCancel

  • jacquie18/03/2020 - 8:41 pm

    thank you thank you thank you for your post. i am glad to see related to comfort and nourishing both the body and the soul. That better form of self-care is there? And thank you for commenting regarding the impracticality of some suggestions that are being put forth. In these troubled times there needs to help and compassion for all including those with so much less.ReplyCancel

  • Betsy18/03/2020 - 9:11 pm

    Thank you for this delicious looking recipe. I happen to have some bananas on my counter that look like they’re ready to move on to the next life in the form of bread. And thank you for the reminder to think about our positions of privilege – we need to treat each other with kindness and love during these difficult times. We are all in this together.ReplyCancel

  • Steph18/03/2020 - 11:13 pm

    Beautifully written and a gorgeous recipe. Thanks for bringing some lightness to your corner of the internet.ReplyCancel

  • Jen19/03/2020 - 12:15 pm

    Super excited to make! How would this transition to muffins instead of a loaf? Do you know how many muffins it would make and the baking time? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura20/03/2020 - 7:45 am

      Hi Jen,
      Someone tagged me on Instagram who made this recipe into muffins! They got about 10 (quite large) muffins and for bake time, I would start checking them at the 30 minute mark.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Cindi19/03/2020 - 12:25 pm

    The recipe calls for light spelt flour & I can not find it anywhere & I live in a major city. ‍♀️ReplyCancel

    • Laura20/03/2020 - 7:47 am

      Hi Cindi,
      If you can’t find light spelt flour, in the recipe headnotes I also suggest, whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, or whole spelt flour as appropriate substitutes. Lots of options and this recipe is very adaptable to what you have on hand.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Charlie19/03/2020 - 7:53 pm

    Thank you for this relatable, well-written post and reminder to find compassion in this uncertainty. I live in Sydney, Australia and your words resonate deeply with my experience here.

    As soon as I saw your post I knew I had to make the recipe. My family and I love it, definitely a keeper :) Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Jayme macleod20/03/2020 - 5:43 pm

    Hello!
    just wondering where you got your spelt flour from?ReplyCancel

  • Sarah23/03/2020 - 3:50 pm

    By far the best banana bread I’ve made! I’ve been toying around with recipes lately and just haven’t loved any of them until now. The texture is so perfect. You’ve done it again! Thanks for all that you do!!ReplyCancel

  • Gala Fernandez23/03/2020 - 8:30 pm

    Made this today and it was amazing! Even passed the picky 12 year old taste test. Thank you again for all your beautiful recipesReplyCancel

  • Marguerite24/03/2020 - 5:02 pm

    I made this recipe this morning. The only sub was about a half cup of sunflower seeds since I was at the end of the bag of pecans. It came out great and was so comforting and home-y. Just what we need right now.ReplyCancel

  • Alina24/03/2020 - 7:09 pm

    Hi there! Can I substitute sugar for maple syrup? Recently ran out in my quarantine life.
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura25/03/2020 - 7:32 am

      Hi Alina!
      I think the same amount of sugar or brown sugar would work just fine.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Jackie Dives27/03/2020 - 12:47 am

    Similar comment to the above about the maple syrup sub. I was wondering about subbing molasses?ReplyCancel

    • Laura27/03/2020 - 8:35 am

      Hi Jackie,
      So molasses would substitute one for one with the maple syrup, but it will change the flavour significantly I think. I would probably go heavier on the cinnamon and maybe add some extra warming spices to compliment the molasses a bit more. As long as you really love that molasses flavour, you should be good! ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Carla Sylvae29/03/2020 - 12:21 am

    I made this today and it is by far the most delicious banana bread I’ve ever had! I didn’t have spelt flour on hand, so used 1 cup whole wheat flour, 2/3 cup white flour and 1/3 cup amaranth flour. I also swapped walnuts for pecans, as that’s what we have here. I chopped up some quality chocolate bars from Chocolove and Theo. Yum! I switched over to a plant-based diet last summer, and your recipes are the best in the genre. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Kate29/03/2020 - 12:38 pm

    We have been lucky to find a reasonably priced short-term rental in a remote area to wait things out for the next few months in a place that has a bit more space than our tiny apartment in a dense urban area. But the kitchen supplies are limited – no bread pan.

    I made this recipe this morning (as written, with whole-spelt flour) but as muffins instead of a loaf. Baked for 20 minutes and they turned out perfectly!

    Just the treat we needed right now – thank you for posting Laura. Your blog is a staple for us :)ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn30/03/2020 - 3:44 pm

    So Yummy!
    I used half ap flour and half dark rye and I had a little bit of coconut to use up so I added that too. The texture and taste is perfect. So easy and so comforting which is much needed right now.
    I like one of your suggestions above about subbing cooked sweet potatoes. I think my next loaf will be part banana and part sweet potato.
    Thanks so much for your beautiful words and wonderful recipes!ReplyCancel

  • Carla Sylvae31/03/2020 - 6:17 pm

    Best banana bread I’ve ever made of had! I needed to substitute flours as I had no spelt flour on hand. I used a mix of whole wheat, white and amaranth, keeping the amaranth potion to only 1/3 cup to avoid heaviness. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. I switched to a plant based diet last summer and your recipes are far and away my favorites!ReplyCancel

  • Lenka HUDAKOVA02/04/2020 - 10:09 am

    This looks great! Just a technical question: how is it possible that this recipe doesn’t contain any egg replacement or baking powder?? Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Lenka HUDAKOVA02/04/2020 - 10:11 am

    Ah sorry, just noticed there IS baking powder+baking soda:)ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea Cufaro02/04/2020 - 10:17 am

    Hi Laura! This looks delicious. Do you have a suggestion for a GF flour instead of the Spelt kind?

    Thank you so much! Would love to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Samantha02/04/2020 - 3:35 pm

    This banana bread baked up wonderfully! Such a comforting aroma to fill the house with during these times of self isolation and quarantine. I used a whole wheat sprouted spelt flour, vegan dark chocolate chips, chopped pecans and 2 1/2 large bananas. Lovely, lovely, lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea03/04/2020 - 6:37 am

    Hello! Thank you for this recipe, made it yesterday and I love it! I have a feeling I’ll be making another one very soon!ReplyCancel

  • Karen Landes06/04/2020 - 12:17 pm

    I’m not usually a banana bread kind of person but when I saw pecans and chocolate… well that changed the scenario. I just have to say that this bread is a slice of divine heaven. I am at peace with the world while I have a big thick slice with my tea this morning. Thank you for sharing it with us.ReplyCancel

  • ewlake07/04/2020 - 3:08 pm

    I made six jumbo muffins instead of a loaf, and, WOW! Best banana muffins I have ever made. I have been baking banana bread since 1986 when I was an undergrad in my first apartment, and vegan banana bread since 1995. Needless to say, I’ve made many a loaf over the decades. Hands down the best – non-vegan husband agrees. Thanks so much.ReplyCancel

  • Kasia08/04/2020 - 6:12 am

    Just baked this, not even cooled properly and it’s already half eaten.

    Used following substitutes, just because didn’t have all the ingredients:
    Olive oil instead of coconut, dry fruit mix & half cup granola with pecans, grated some raw chocolate into the mix as no chocolate chunks, bit short on maple syrup so topped up with honey. Delicious. The best banana bread ever, will be standing in for hot cross buns this Easter.ReplyCancel

  • Gemma Ingles28/04/2020 - 6:06 am

    loved it, although i cant stop eating it.

    anyone know a rough calorie guide- just an estimate cant be bothered to my fitness pal it myself lol

    how long does it keep for?

    in the fridge or out?ReplyCancel

  • archana jalamadugu28/04/2020 - 10:57 pm

    Hi Laura, I made this today, I had only half a cup of spelt flour, so subbed the rest with 1:1 gf flour. It turned out amazing. It is a great recipe and tastes so good cant stop eating :)ReplyCancel

  • Kaley29/04/2020 - 10:07 pm

    I have made this six times already – about once a week since this craziness began. Last night I added a little bit of cocoa powder and baked it in muffin tins and it turned out amazing! Thanks so much for this recipe – it’s definitely my go-to for banana bread from here on out. <3ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne West03/05/2020 - 2:46 pm

    Soooo delicious, new favourite – only 2nd time making but have already memorized the recipe! (so easy too! :) Blending the liquids makes it ultra smooth and yummy, and minimally mixing liquids with dry gives it a great airy and perfect bb crumb – thank you Laura for a new keeper recipe
    Followed recipe almostly exactly as called for – just mixed whole spelt with all purpose, and put pecans only on top (like them to get toasted ;)ReplyCancel

  • Desi03/05/2020 - 4:51 pm

    I have tried this recipe with wholewheat spelt flour and swapping raisins for pecans. It’s still lukewarm and two of us have already eaten half of it. It’s so moist and chocolate-y! Absolutely fantastic, thank you for sharing it!ReplyCancel

  • Lucy Bamber04/05/2020 - 3:36 pm

    Hi do you know the conversions to UK grams? And the light spelt flour? What is the UK equivalent if you know please?ReplyCancel

  • Anna11/05/2020 - 8:55 am

    As I already mashed the bananas I realised there’s no fluor left except for rice flour – how typical . Substituted 1/2 cup rice flour (all I had) + wheat bran (remaining 1 1/2 cup) and it worked like a charm. Also added hazelnuts instead of pecans as that’s what I had on hand. Thanks for all your great recipies, can’t wait to try more! :)ReplyCancel

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