banana, date and walnut loaf

banana, date and walnut loaf

I’ve got a crush on dates at the moment. It’s not just the sweetness – a little goes a long way sweetness-wise – but the taste, rich and light at the same time! FULL of sunshine and prana.

I was looking for some kind of loaf and alighted on a very simple BBC vegan banana bread which had a good many positive comments of the I can’t believe it’s vegan! type. I’ve experimented three times now, tested by students, co-workers at Local Greens, and now my ashram buddy in service Shan who is Parisienne but nonethless was enthusiastic for a second piece. This last time was also employed to fragrance the house prior to viewing by potential buyers (house promptly sold and we moved to Devon, now at Viveka Gardens Yoga Farm)

Here is my version incorporating dates and their fine pairing, walnuts and more spices. You could easily vary the dried fruit and nuts, or just add a measly 50g raisins as the BBC suggest. Dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Dried sour cherries and dark chocolate chips with cardamome…oooer










Using the hand blender to get air into the wet ingredients helps. Other bits of kit that are good: a heavy loaf tin and a flexi spatula. Though the latter can be a little too efficient at getting the batter out of the bowl…

Ingredients makes one 2lb loaf tin, 12 slices

  • 3 ripe bananas BBC says ‘black’, but this would be over-ripe 
  • 75g vegetable oil yes, by weight, so put measuring jug on scale, zero it, then add oil. 
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self-raising plain flour (Dove’s gluten-free flour works well, too)
  • 125g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 a tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 100g chopped dried dates
  • 50g chopped walnuts


  1. turn on the oven to 200 degrees C, 180 fan, gas mark 6
  2. oil and flour the baking tin, ie wipe a thin layer of oil around the tin, tip in about a tsp of flour and shake and slap the tin til all sides have a coating of flour
  3. weigh the oil in a medium sized jug or bowl. Peel and break up the bananas and add them with the sugar to the bowl
  4. add the dry ingredients together and mix them, coating the dates
  5. whiz up the banana/oil/sugar combo til it’s pale, and aerated – 2 mins max. You can do it with a fork and a strong arm if you don’t have a hand blender. Or if there’s a power cut in which case let’s hope you’re on gas
  6. fold the flour etc into the banana stuff, incorporating thoroughly but without beating the air out (can you see the gentle motion in the picture?)
  7. use the spatula to turn the batter into the loaf tin and even out the top
  8. Cook for 50 – 60 mins, turning down the heat to mark 5, say 270C, after 20 mins
  9. allow to cool for about 10 mins then turn out the banana bread
  10. Serve with yogi tea, Nice when warm, can be nicer the next day.

This works well using a muffin tray to make individual buns with the icing from Passion Cake recipe.