Vegan Banana Coconut Bread Recipe

Surprise, surprise, it turns out that having a baby gets in the way of one’s cooking ambitions a little bit.

On weeknights, the time that I used to devote to making dinner is now all about my son — the playing, the feeding, the pyjama-ing, the cuddling, the singing — and the few moments that I do spend in the kitchen I make the absolute most of, with quick recipes that require the bare minimum in the way of prep.

Let’s say we’ve been eating a lot of roasted root vegetables with tahini sauce: ten minutes’ active work while the kid chews on the lemon juicer, forty-five minutes’ oven time while we do the above routine.

Impossibly moist and fluffy, this cake is made with ingredients you most likely have on hand, including the overripe bananas I’m sure you stash in your freezer too.

I am actually working on a series of posts titled Parents Who Cook, asking various guests how they’ve adapted their cooking after their children were born. The idea for the series came about because I am dying to pick other people’s brains about the subject, and I hope you will find it of interest, too.

As my boy grows older and has more patience puttering about on his own in the evening — even better, can help out and earn his keep! — I imagine it will get easier, but in the meantime I am still figuring things out, and collecting ideas for meals that sort of cook themselves*.

Banana coconut bread may or may not count as a meal, but this recipe by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, which I read about on my friend Luisa’s blog in the wake of her own son’s birth, does qualify as a treat that practically bakes itself.

And a treat it certainly is: no eggs and (in my version) no butter, but impossibly moist and fluffy nonetheless, it is made with ingredients you most likely have on hand, including the overripe bananas I’m sure you stash in your freezer too.

Mini Cookbook of Vegan Staples

A treat to look forward to sharing when the kid is in bed, and you finish savoring your lovely grown-up dinner and lovely grown-up conversation, and you look at your watch and say, “He hasn’t been down for two hours and we miss him already, how is that even possible ?”

* On that subject, take a look at Debbie Koenig’s Parents need to eat too.

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Banana Coconut Bread (Vegan) Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Makes one 23-cm (9-inch) loaf.

Banana Coconut Bread (Vegan) Recipe


  • 260 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon warm baking spices (such as a pumpkin pie or gingerbread mix, with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 180 grams (1 scant cup) unrefined cane sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 4 small or 3 large bananas, very ripe (about 300 grams or 2/3 pound without the skin), thawed if frozen
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a 23 x 12-cm (9 x 5-inch) loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, 180 grams (1 scant cup) sugar, and coconut. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas well. Add the oils, rum, and vinegar, and stir to combine.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones until no trace of flour remains, without overmixing. Pour into the prepared pan, level the surface with a spatula, and sprinkle with the tablespoon sugar.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Pull out from the pan and let cool on a rack before serving.


Adapted from Jeffrey Alford's and Naomi Duguid's Home Baking via Luisa Weiss.
  • This actually sounds fairly similar to an (also vegan) amaranth banana bread I make. I like the idea of using coconut oil though, and the rum does wonders for it doesn’t it?!

    • Sounds lovely! Have you published the recipe for that amaranth banana bread of yours?

  • Gerda

    It sounds very good! I’m just wondering if the coconut oil can be replaced with vegetable oil? I don’t think it’s possible to get some coconut oil here, since I’m living on the Dutch countryside :)

    • Absolutely. Or, you could go with butter as in the original recipe.

    • Anna

      Hi Gerda, I don’t know where in Holland you live, but I can get it here in a health food store (reformwinkel) or Turkish supermarket in a medium sized town. Good luck!

  • Thanks for this recipe! I am in similar boat with a 10 month-old, and she has reaction to eggs, so I’m excited to try this. Looking forward to more parents-attempting-to-cook posts!

    • Thanks, I’m happy to hear you’ll be interested!

  • Sarah

    This has nothing to do with your bread, but your comment about how cooking changes after you become a parent reminded me of an article from the new york times I thoroughly enjoyed quite some time ago. “racket in the kitchen ruckus in the crib”

    • Wonderful article, thanks for pointing me to it!

  • Am just about to become a mother for the first time so what a timely recipe!
    Thanks :)

    • Congratulations! Take good care of yourself.

  • Danielle

    Clotilde, are Crock Pots available in France? I love mine for turning out a quick stew every week or so: so easy to assemble a meal, and then the cooking is hands-off! I’m not even a parent and I appreciate it!

    • Funnily enough, no, slow cookers aren’t really a part of the French cooking equipment. But I do make stews and soups in my Dutch oven, and they are indeed a very practical option.

  • I’m going to have to make a few adjustment to meet the Gluten-Free requirements for my household but I love the fresh warm cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg! And I couldn’t agree more Clotilde, the second my children leave my sight I miss them more than ever. Oh, to be a foodie parent:)

  • I am a new mom (10-month old baby girl :) I have coped with my cramped cooking time by planning my weekly meals even more meticulously than before, and doing a few minutes of prep here and there throughout the day (or maybe devote 20 mins in the morning if you’re working). My little one has eaten adult food from 6 months on (in addition to nursing), so that’s a lot less work for me- she eats what we eat! Hope this helps!

    • Thanks for the tips! We also do adult foods (without salt), so that’s definitely one less thing to think about. :)

  • Mai

    Alors ca, congeler les bananes trop mures, je n’y avais pas pense mais c’est clairement un coup de genie – Merci Clotilde!!
    Moi j’ai une fille de 16 mois et j’attends avec impatience ta nouvelle serie d’entretiens pour pouvoir remonter un peu le niveau des derniers mois cote cuisine ;)

    • Ah oui, il faut absolument congeler les bananes trop mûres (sans la peau) pour faire du banana bread !

  • That bread looks delicious!!!! And as a childless dame, I cannot imagine how difficult juggling a baby and a household can be… but if you’re able to come up with recipes like this, you’re doing something right!

  • Annabel

    I have a 2-year-old grandson and I know exactly what you mean – we had him to stay for the weekend, and I was missing him badly on Monday night!

    It’s not easy to cook with small people around (yay for roasted roots with tahini dressing, which is one of our favourites – and try making them into a curry as I have done several times now. But he will grow up, and it won’t be long before he is “helping” you in the kitchen, and stirring the above coconut cake all by himself….

  • That would be great! I’m pushing 6 months pregnant and have already gone from creating and posting 30 recipes a month to posting about 5! God knows how little I’ll create when Starchild is actually here!! I’m planning to fill the freezer with my sauces and soups and hope for the best I think! x

    • Well, five is still a very good number! Stashing things in the freezer is definitely an excellent idea for those first few weeks. I never got around to it myself: I procrastinated, procrastinated, and then the baby surprised two weeks early. :) Take good care of yourself, and enjoy the ride!

  • Francesca

    Dear Clotilde,

    when I read this post I had to smile, because a couple of days ago, as I cooked for the millionth time my “Pasta con i Broccoli”, I thought that I should share that with parents because it is so quick and tasty and anybody who likes broccoli should make it. The original recipe would want you to first cook the broccoli and then sauté them in a skillet with olive oil, anchovies filets, garlic, I don’t even know anymore. One day I just thought I would cut the broccoli florets and throw them in the pasta water before it would boil, to give the broccoli a bit more time than the pasta requires to cook. Then I would throw in the pasta of choice (orecchiette are the best, but whole wheat pasta is also a good choice). When ready, drain the whole lot and throw it back in the pot. With a knife or a spoon, cut through the broccoli to have small pieces that can better mix with the pasta (if you are careful enough the pasta will take no harm). Generously dress with olive oil (a good one of course), some nutmeg and grated parmesan. That would be it. If you have ricotta cheese at hand you can also add a dollop, it will milden the broccoli taste and make the whole thing creamier. I know it is ridiculous, one can’t really talk about a recipe, but I like the fact that the strength of this dish is its simplicity in preparing, and in taste. It is about being able to really taste the pasta, the broccoli and the olive oil because the three of them together are a good team. This I would cook when my girls were newborns and I still cook it today when (YES!) they eat it as well and (if not LOVE it) really like it. AND, it is very healthy, not just because of the broccoli, but also because the oil is not cooked. Another plus is that there is nothing much to wash up.

    So there, a little thank you for all your wonderful recipes!

    • That sounds so good, Francesca, thanks so much for sharing!

  • I have an 8 year old and since she was able to eat solids I have adopted a “deconstucted” method for including her in our meals. This usually just requires that I make her plate before I put all of my ingredients together…or if it is all cooked together then I seperate it all out on her plate so she will eat it. Example; she wouldnt eat a taco before but she would eat cheese, tomatoes, beans and ground beef. So that is what I do…..another example is before I make a plate of pasta and meat sauce I put the pasta, the noodles and the sauce all in different piles. Its the only way she would eat it…if I made a dish in the crock pot then I will put the roast, the potato and the veggies into three seperate piles when I took them out to serve. This way I dont make two seperate meals but my child will also eat adult foods. Most of the time this works and we have drama free meals!

  • Oh I know about the lack of dinner prep time now we have our first little boy. Love this recipe though.

  • I never baked until I had my kids (they’re now 9 and 14)Banana bread was my first attempt and must be the all time favourite treat in our family. Our kids have been eating it ever since they could handle solid food, standard lunch box snack for them, coffee companion for me. It’s easy to make, nutritious, keeps well frozen, what’s not to like? I’ve used the same recipe for years, it’s similar to yours (using coconut oil instead of butter makes it more moist don’t you think) except it includes 1 egg. Never thought of trying an egg-free version,even when I ran out of eggs and had overripe bananas coming out of our ears. You could call it a case of “being stuck in recipe rut”, thanks for jolting me out of it, I will definitely try your version.
    Oh and I look forward to discovering your new series, how I wish your blog was around when I had my first born…

  • Helmer

    I made the banana bread exactly as written and it came out wonderful. This was my first time working with coconut oil, and I was really pleased with the results. My only adjustments for next time would be to increase the amount of rum and spices; I was looking for a bit more of the “spicy” flavor. Otherwise, really, really recommend this.

    • Great to hear, thanks for reporting back!

  • Vanessa

    Thank you Clotilde for this yummy recipe… As far as we are concerned, after we passed the “adjustment” period of having a baby, and now that he can eat solids, we try a bit of all methods described above: cooking the same food for the whole family, planning meals when possible (hum, unfortunately not very often), cooking various batches and freezing it…but the best thing that actually works great for us is carrying the baby with a good ergonomic baby carrier…hands are free to cook (or whatever needs to be done at that moment), and baby is happy, enjoying the activity or taking a nap… :-) Baby wearing rocks, especially in the kitchen!

  • I just made this and it’s delicious! I made it as written. Thanks, Clotilde!

    • Wonderful to hear, Susan, thanks for reporting back!

  • cornflowerbluesue

    I agree with the person who advocated baby wearing while cooking; it’s an enormous help! But like everything else with children, it doesn’t work all of the time. Many wonderful ideas here. One was hinted at which I thought was obvious but my friend who just had a baby thought it was brilliant and that I should post the same idea more explicitly–cook during baby’s “best” time of day and then serve when needed. We were fortunate enough to have the flexibility to switch our big meal of the day to noon, and only have a very simple snack in the evening which made everyone more content. Even if you can’t do this, you will gradually find something which won’t work perfectly all the time, but which will be “good enough.” My best wishes to all the young moms and dads out there—it’s the hardest, most satisfying job in the world.

    • Thanks so much for the tips! I carried Milan in the wrap a lot during his first three months, but now he’s a bit too bulky and heavy for me to cook while he’s in there. I need to teach myself how to carry him in my back, and see how he likes it.

  • Christie

    Wha? You mean you have time to yourself when your son goes to bed? How does that happen? We didn’t get that until said son was 16 months old.

    Oh, but it does get better. Things really even out around year 1. In the last three months (son is 21 months), I’ve made an effort to incorporate him into my cooking. you can get a learning tower or just a chair, which is what we use. When I bake, I pour out everything (I believe you would call it mise en place), and let him combine ingredients and stir. I also let him stir when I am cooking food over low heat (while holding him). If I am chopping vegetables, I put them in piles and let him put them in a bowl or on a baking sheet, while I continue to chop others. He is very good at staying away from the stove and oven while I am cooking. We have reinforced this, but he loves to help where he can. It takes a little more work and effort to cook this way, but I like to think that he enjoys eating that much more.

    One book recommendation I would like to make is Hungry Monkey, if you haven’t read it. It is a funny memoir, but also has tips on feeding young ones. We have always fed table food without any changes. Before he could chew, we might mash a little with a fork, but we never pureed or did anything special. And my son has always eaten a wide range of foods–spicy Indian or Thai, creamy Italian pastas, meat, everything! He is the least picky 21 month old I know. When they are still in the baby years, it is important–I think–to expose them to all of the flavors before they know how to be picky and say no! :-)

    • So many valuable tips, Christie, thank you!

  • JC

    I made this over the weekend and it is fantastic! We were out of coconut oil so used all canola, and put it in a bundt pan. I usually don’t like banana bread because it is too eggy and stiff, so leaving eggs out entirely was just perfect… the banana fiber holds the cake together perfectly well. It’s four days later and it’s still perfectly moist and delicious (and there will probably be none left by tomorrow). Thank you again Clotilde.

  • Dairene

    Yes, I completely agree having a baby changes one’s cooking ambitions a little bit, or more than a little bit! My daughter is now 6 and my son 3, and it was only during the past several months that I finally felt I had the time to cook again! Not that I stopped cooking; I didn’t, but I did a lot of roasting, and cooking and baking got very simplified and I started using “short-cut” ingredients like grated cheese. I baked almost all the bread we ate (mostly the artisanal type) until my daughter was 8 months old, and then I mostly stopped. (I also had a day job.) However, my kids are “well-trained”: my daughter was only 3 when we were baking and I had to leave her to attend to my son; I came back to see the muffin pans filled (no mess), oven mitts over her hands, and the oven door open an inch!! My son loooooves to beat eggs, and over the past few months, they have eaten crepes for breakfast and snack on an almost daily basis {made healthier by adding whole wheat flour, pureed squash, chia seeds, almond meal}. He can crack the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients, and make a perfectly smooth batter with a whisk – all by himself. So….it does get better, except that I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time to bake a lot of bread again… But enjoy these times with your son! They will go fast…

    • I can only imagine your shock at finding your daughter imitating her mother so, um, faithfully!

  • dairene

    I just wish to make a “correction” to what I wrote, in case some people get the impression I let my 3-year old put things in the oven unattended – I was absolutely petrified when I found her with oven mitts and the oven door open a crack. I still shiver at what the consequences could have been, and am just so grateful that I came down just in time!

  • Wow it sounds really good but the picture kind of freaks me out…

  • notesontea

    Success! A great recipe for young cooks.

  • Tarah

    Yum, just made this today while my 19 month old was napping. My husband declared it one of the best banana breads I’ve ever made. I also have had to eliminate dairy while I am breastfeeding. Not such a big sacrifice really, but I do miss the amazing cheeses!

    • So happy to hear you liked that recipe Tarah! And I hope your little one is doing well.

  • Whitney

    this was absolutely delicious! the texture was out of this world :)

    • So glad you liked it, Whitney, thanks for reporting back!

  • Love this Vegan Banana Bread Recipe!! Thanks

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