Ancient Grain Banana Breakfast Bread

by Gena on April 17, 2011

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Happy weekend! Before I share my scrumptious new recipe for ancient grain banana breakfast bread, a big thank you for your warm responses to my interview with Daphne and Cassie! These ladies are the new face of vegan entrepreneurship, and I’m so proud of them.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have a little Friday/Saturday ritual every other weekend. As M makes his way to NYC, I like to bake a little something for him. Usually it’s muffins, but this week, with a bunch of browning bananas on my hands, I decided to make him a loaf of banana bread. And since I’ve been playing around with quinoa flakes lately, I thought this would be a perfect chance to test how well they stand up in baked goods.

I wasn’t disappointed! In place of the usual flour, I used a 2:1 ratio of quinoa flakes and millet flour, which I’d made my grinding up whole, dry millet in my VitaMix. The result is a breakfast bread that’s moist and delicious, but based entirely on whole, ancient grains, rather than refined flours. Score!

Could you use regular flour in this recipe, and still have terrific results? Absolutely! In fact, my “template” for this breakfast bread was the same vegan banana bread I’ve been making for years, in which I typically use whole wheat pastry flour. But I love expanding my repertoire to include more and different types of grain options, and I actually loved the chew and density that the quinoa seemed to give this dish. Note, too, that you don’t have to grind up millet to make this bread: you can purchase millet flour, or you can use any other flour you like: buckwheat flour, spelt flour, quinoa flour, coconut flour, or a wheat blend of choice.

Other nice facts about my ancient grain breakfast bread? It’s lower fat than some of the vegan baking recipes I like, using only 4 tbsp of oil or Earth Balance. It uses applesauce, bananas, and agave as sweetener. It’s rich in cinnamon, which gives it a warm, welcoming, and homey taste. And it’s very, very moist; so much for the stereotype that healthy quickbreads are dry and dense! Friends and family will never guess that this loaf is as healthy as it is tasty.

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Ancient Grain Breakfast Bread (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Yields 10-12 slices

1 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup millet flour (substitute any flour you like)
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum (I find that this is a smart addition to any quickbread that isn’t wheat based; you’ll probably be fine without it, though, so just ignore it if you don’t have xantham in your pantry)
2 tsps cinnamon
3 tbsp flax meal + 1/3 cup warm water
4 tbsp coconut oil, olive oil, or melted Earth Balance
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup agave syrup (to reduce sweetness, try 1/3 cup agave + 1 packet stevia)
3 very ripe bananas

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Mix the quinoa, millet, baking soda, xantham gum, and cinnamon together in a large bowl.

3) Mix the flax with the warm water and set aside for a moment.

4) In a food processor or blender, mix the bananas, agave, coconut oil or Earth Balance, and applesauce. Blend well.

5) Add the banana mix to the dry ingredients. Add the flax mixture. Using a spatula or spoon, mix the batter till it’s all well incorporated.

6) Pour into a small loaf pan, and bake for 30 minutes or so. At the 30 minute mark, cover it with foil. Bake another 15-30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean.

7) Serve to someone special, and watch the smile erupt.

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If I may be permitted a moment of pride, my baking skills are really improving. I’m still not as talented a baker as I am hummus maker, or salad mixer, but I’m getting my sea legs.

The sun is out in NYC, and there’s walking, eating, and farmer’s market perusing to be done. Happy Sunday, friends!


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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

This looks delicious! And the crust looks perfectly crisp! Another great use of quinoa flakes… I love seeing all the different ways you’re using it.


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

I am loving quinoa flakes lately – and the creative ways people are using them Will definitely check this out. I’ve never tried millet flour before… what is the consistency like? Thicker, like spelt?


Gena April 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

It’s actually (I think) more comparable to garbanzo flour than anything else.


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn April 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

THANK YOU for this recipe!! I have been DYING for a gf banana/quick bread recipe that isn’t sugar/fat laden, and this is so so perfect. Especially because it uses quinoa! Thanks a mil Gena, I always look forward to your recipes!


Emilia @ Namaste Gurl April 17, 2011 at 11:50 am

You had me at banana bread! This looks delicious and super wholesome, Gena! This is totally right up my alley, as I’m not doing very much wheat right now due to abdominal pain. I love using grain flours in place of all purpose or regular whole wheat. My parents come home tomorrow so I may just have to welcome them home with this yummy bread :) Totally love every ingredient in this, too- no scary or exotic gluten- free ingredients like tapioca starch, etc.

Have a good day- you deserve it :)


nevernotdreaming April 17, 2011 at 12:04 pm

This looks like something I might enjoy. I typically always have non-vegan baked goods, so it might be nice to try something different for a change. Plus I have quinoa flakes…and I have some buckwheat flour that might be a nice complement afterall.
I like the fact that the ingredients are easily found, etc…too often I see ingredients that I don’t recognize, cost a fortune, or that are difficult to obtain. Simplicity is sweet.

I bet it would be nice with chocolate chips and walnuts also.

On another note, I’ve been eating a load of sweet potatoes lately..even sweet potato soup…I hope one can eat them every. single. day. I may turn orange…


McKella April 17, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Ok, I’m going to have get me some of these quinoa flakes, you’ve convinced me! I too currently have some bananas on their last legs, so this recipe might be making an appearance in my kitchen very soon.


Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA April 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm

This looks great! I love how you ground you own millet to make flour. I would like to make this for my mom — she loves banana bread.


Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher April 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Weeeeeeee! I always love new, healthier banana bread recipes!


Laura@keepinghealthygettingstylish April 17, 2011 at 1:31 pm

That recipe sounds so good. I have lots of quinoa flakes and this would be a perfect way to use them up!


Freya April 17, 2011 at 1:38 pm

That looks DELICIOUS!!! It will be in your recipes page yeah!? I want to make it as soon as I have more time!
I made some Mama Pea millet banana muffins once and they were sooo good, so anything that uses millet is a win already in my book :P


bitt April 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm

A gluten-free baked recipe! Way to go! Thanks. I personally don’t bother to use the xanthan, I don’t mind it a bit crumbly. GF recipes with lots of bananas tend to work really well, thanks again!


Hannah April 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Yum!! Banana bread is right up there with pumpkin bread as my favorite quick bread recipe. And if this bread is as moist as you say it is, even better! There is nothing worse than dry banana bread, haha!


Evan Thomas April 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm

You are becoming quite the baker!


Stefanie April 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

This looks delicious. I must try this one out soon. Your baking skills have come along very well. I hope you are having a great sunday.


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm

The bread looks great and yes, you are becoming a baker and that’s great. Love all your salad recipes (featured your Sunshine salad on my blog on Friday) but I love seeing the diversity in your cooking and baking. And I love salads and all, but banana bread just steals the show :)

“the chew and density that the quinoa seemed to give this dish” — great info.

I make a vegan, GF banana bread using bananas and almond flour and Peanut Butter. So it’s definitely heavy…I need to try your recipe for when I need something a little less dense but still moist. Cake/bread cannot be dry or I won’t bother :)


Emilia @ Namaste Gurl April 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Question…. no quinoa flakes on hand and I’m going to stop myself from heading to Whole foods…. what could i use in place? Maybe oats, or just more millet flour? :)


Tawney (Raw and Exposed) April 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Since having gone vegan, I haven’t yet ventured into baking. This looks like a great first recipe to try.


lauren @ spiced plate April 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

This looks fantastic, Gena! It looks perfect — I bet anyone who wasn’t GF or vegan would love it and not know about the ingredients! Love that it’s soy free, too!


Ashleigh April 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Any idea how much flour to use in place of quinoa flakes? Could you do 1 and a half cups of millet flour instead?



Christine (The Raw Project) April 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm

This looks like a wonderful bread recipe to try, thanks! I haven’t been much into baking lately, but this recipe looks like a great way to get back into it, I’ve gotta try quinoa flakes in bread.


Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I am for sure making this. So glad it’s gluten-free; hurrah! :)


Kelsey @ Unmitigated Grub April 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm

This looks so delicious! I’ve wanted to try millet flour for a while. And it’s nice to see a breakfast quick bread that’s not banana bread. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE banana bread, but this looks like another great breakfast bread option.


Kathleen April 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm

This looks and sounds amazing! I never bake but may just have to try this. Do I need a special blade in the Vita to grind the flour?


Gena April 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Nope! I lost my “dry blade” ages ago, but never need it to grind grains or seeds. Enjoy — it’s a winner!


Ellen April 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

this looks so tasty. yay for being gf! just wanted to say that coconut flour would not be able to be substituted directly 1 to 1. it sucks up an incredible amount of moisture so i often use 1/4 to 1/3 the amount of coconut flour to other flours!


Gena April 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

Great to know! I’ll edit the post accordingly.


Mama Pea April 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm

I’m so proud of you! I love grinding millet into flour in my Vita. It gives baked goods almost a “cornbread-y” texture. Feel free to use conbready as a new adjective whenever you see fit.


Gena April 18, 2011 at 10:13 am

Great, thanks. I will.


Ela April 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm

This sounds so good–I’m learning to be a more creative baker too, and it’s a fun feeling. I love how this is something that you can enjoy and feel great about eating both.


Ashley April 18, 2011 at 9:18 am

Ahhh, yes!! Virtual hug for this recipe! I can’t wait to start playing around more with ancient grains + baking. The buckwheat bakes are about as far as I’ve gotten, and I’m hooked. Plus, it agrees with my stomach much more than wheat. You can tell that the bread looks so moist. Yum! Thanks G!


Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL April 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Yum! I love finding things that I can easily take to work with me in the morning. This looks great!


Lauren April 18, 2011 at 2:03 pm

M is one lucky dude! :) looks great, Gena!


stephanie April 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm

This looks so good! I will definitely have to try it. I wonder how well it would cross over into banana muffins.


Erin April 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Any suggestions for turning this into date bread? Bananas are the one fruit I can’t stand, but I’ve been looking for a good date bread, and this looks like a great base. Do you think you could sub date paste for the banana?


Gena April 18, 2011 at 8:38 pm


Not so sure about that! Dates are so much thicker than bananas. If you experiment, tell me how it goes!



Jessica April 21, 2011 at 9:40 am

I had some luck blending dates with almond milk to make a mashed bananaey texture for a brownie recipe I’m playing with. I think I used around 5 medjool dates (the super soft and sticky ones) and about 1/3 cup of mylk.


Sara @ Viva Catalina April 19, 2011 at 11:15 am

I know what you mean about baking! I’m just getting into it myself and I actually made a very tasty Upside Down Apple Pancake last weekend (found the recipe from Oh She Glows). I’m going to give this a try this week. Thanks for sharing!


Abigail Indri April 21, 2011 at 8:28 am

I did a few modifications myself and it came out quite delicious albeit a little less sweet/banana-y as your recipe and a little denser/spicier.
Instead of using 1/2 cup agave+1/4 cup applesauce I used about 2/3 cup date paste + 2 tbsp maple syrup and half a (overripe) pear pureed.


Jessica April 21, 2011 at 9:48 am

This sounds sooo wonderful. I’ve been veganizing and healthifying my favourite recipes recently and think I’ll definitely be trying this one out to see how the quinoa flakes work out. What is the reason for covering it for the last 15 or so minutes? Did you experience excessive browning or is it to keep in moisture?

Thanks for the great sounding recipe!


Tawney April 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

You out did yourself Gena. I have made GF breads before, and they were ok if fresh and warm, but the next day…. ugh.

I just made this bread with buckwheat flour. It is the tastiest, moistest, bestest (not a word but appropriate in this case) bread ever. This will be a regular at my place.


Sarah Carere May 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hi Gena,
Thanks for the awesome recipe. I made it for a post-run brunch that I held today and everyone was really impressed with how good it tasted despite being free of gluten, animal products and sugar. My husband joked that it would probably be “taste” free too…lol… But it definitely wasn’t. The only thing that I would like to improve is that mine did not rise much at all! Yours looks like a proper loaf but mine was pretty flat so it didn’t look like slices of bread when I cut it. Any advice? The only modifications that I made was I used quinoa flour instead of flakes and sis not add xanthem gum. Would either of these be the reason?
Thanks again for such a great way to get ancient grains into my family and friends!


sarah August 11, 2012 at 12:58 am

I have had this bookmarked for ages but just now got around to making it. It’s delicious! I just want to comment to let others know that I was able to make several substitutions, with great success! I substituted the flour with protein powder, used two bananas and replaced the third banana and applesauce with pumpkin puree, used stevia baking blend (1/2 c) in lieu of agave, and used macadamia nut oil instead of coconut. Really delicious, Gena, and I love recipes like this that can be adapted with great success based on what I have at home!


adele March 8, 2013 at 12:09 am

this question is not totally related to the recipe, though i am very much looking forward to trying it. what is better for you? flaxseed or LSA? also could i substitute maple syrup for agave syrup?


Gena March 11, 2013 at 6:38 am

I’m not sure if one is better. They’re both good. And absolutely re: maple syrup!


Susan July 22, 2013 at 8:52 am

Love your recipes, but wonder how much trouble it would be to get the nutritional breakdown alongside them … at least calories, fats, carbs (sugars, fiber)? S.


Gena July 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

Not so much trouble, Susan, but for me, having calorie counts isn’t philosophically aligned with Choosing Raw, at least not at the moment. Sorry!


Susan July 22, 2013 at 11:52 am

oops, wrong place.
my response was supposed to go here …

I can think of a few reasons why not to offer nutritional information (which of course we can all get for ourselves, if we want it bad enough), not the least of which is a deepening capacity to “feel” what the body needs, wants, what makes it function optimally

… but I’m new to “raw foods” and would love to know what philosophy is being aligned with … many thanks xo


Gena July 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

Ha! You kind of took the words out of my mouth. Yes, I think the intuitive approach is best for those who read this blog. But I totally get why you asked!


Susan July 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

Interesting … how come?


Gena July 22, 2013 at 11:53 am

Because I think caloric density, while really useful to keep track of if you’re trying to lose weight, can be a very misleading way to measure up a recipe. A high caloric concentration can frighten or make anxious readers who are overly prone to worrying about numbers (the number on the scale, the number of calories in food)–even if the food is also very nutrient dense and healthful.

Because so many of my readers have disordered eating histories or ongoing struggles, I think that posting numbers would likely be triggering. And since the approach I like to encourage is more intuitive–eat whole, nourishing foods to appetite, rather than meticulous tracking and measuring–I think it’s best to refrain from showing the nutrition facts. If I get a big reader demand, I’ll certainly consider it.


Susan July 22, 2013 at 11:56 am

Thanks, Gena. Love your work here.


Amy January 12, 2014 at 11:09 pm

I have had this bookmarked for ages, and have just now gotten around to trying it. It is, my first attempt at baking anything vegan, since transitioning to a plant based diet. This tastes delicious, and was very moist, but it did not have the same texture as your average banana bread. It had a hard crust on the outside, but the inside was not exactly what I would call… Cake like, like what most banana breads tend to be. the inside texture was soft and chewy instead; despite the fact that my cake tester came out clean. Is this from the flours/grains used? I followed the recipe, saving for the xantham because I didn’t have any; and I also did sub maple syrup for agave. It wasn’t crumbly and came together quite well, but I wonder if it could have caused the difference in texture? It also did not rise that much; again, not like what I’m used to seeing in non vegan baked goods. So as someone else commented, the slices did not look like regular slices. So what is the texture supposed to be like? Thank you for all that you do! Your blog and recipes have been extremely helpful to me as I am very new to a plant based life style. :-)


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