Bananalicious Buckwheat-Millet Bread (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Tasty)

Although I haven’t officially blogged about my MRT results yet, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m reactive to baker’s yeast. Yep, the stuff in bread. Not wheat mind you, and likely not even gluten given I’m ok with rye and barley. No, I need to avoid bread because of the yeast. Darn it all! I’m also reactive to many dairy products and eggs (neither were a huge surprise). Both of these things put a damper on my bread baking options.While most tasty quick breads do not require yeast, they almost always have dairy and eggs. What a conundrum. I’m actually going to have to get crafty with my baking and, essentially, practice what I preach. 

Luckily a quick Google search turned up quite a few options for vegan sweet breads. Why not do gluten free while I’m at it, just for kicks? I found this recipe here, made a few adaptations, and presto, a tasty and far healthier version of banana bread was born. Seriously, even if you aren’t gluten-free and love dairy to pieces, give this bread a go and try something new. The buckwheat and millet adds a host of vitamins, minerals and FIBER, and adding some walnuts can give a small boost of healthy Omega 3’s. You might even throw in a little flax or chia seeds to help as a binder in lieu of eggs (mental note for next time). 

I realize some of these grains might be a bit foreign to you. No to worry, that’s why I took pictures this afternoon. I really suck at photography, so you can refrain from commenting on the poor lighting and arrangement. I know. I’m working on it. But for the sake of those who have never seen a millet kernel before, please bear with me.

Here is millet. It looks a lot like quinoa, doesn’t it? It’s just a little more yellow but otherwise similar in size. It’s also tastes a little more nutty than quinoa but cooks up much the same. Pop these little guys in your coffee grinder (or flour mill, if you have one) and you can quickly turn this lump into beautiful millet flour. Also doubles as sensory toy for a 2-1/2 year old.

Next we have the buckwheat (aka Kasha). These little guys I have here are pre-toasted, so the ones you find in the store might appear much lighter. It’s nice to lightly toast them if you can to bring out it’s nutty flavor and aroma. I love the smell. Husband hates it. Hates anything to do with buckwheat. Guess it’s all just a matter of personal preference. Anyways, this one is also very easy to pop into that little coffee grinder and whiz away until you have a fine flour.

Beautiful little buckwheat groats.

You know what else is wonderful about buckwheat? It’s high in soluble fiber, and that means it can help lower cholesterol, combat diarrhea, and help you feel full. This is going to be one powerful bread.

Now that I’ve introduced the grains, I just want to make a quick introduction of my dairy substitute. While there are many options out there, I went with coconut products for this one. Not sure why … just thought it might go well with the banana. As the fat source I used coconut oil, and for the “milk” I used coconut milk. Not the high-fat canned stuff you use in Indian or Asian dishes, but the one you buy in the cereal aisle or sometimes in the dairy case. Worked quite well. 

Alrightly, so here’s the recipe. It’s fairly straightforward, but like I said, I used the coconut options and I also did add the nuts and chocolate chips. I’m usually a banana bread purist as I think most additives take away from the delicious banana essence, but in this case, not being sure how the taste combo would turn out, I opted for the extra throw-ins. I think I’ll go choco-chip free next time, but please play around with it and customize it to your liking. Also, I took out the cinnamon because, as I didn’t mention, I also react to cinnamon, and so made some spice adjustments to accommodate. 

Banananlicious Buckwheat Bread 
-Vegan, Gluten-Free, Cane-Sugar Free and LOW sugar (but don’t confuse that with low-carb!)

  • ¼ cup water or milk of your choice (coconut, rice, almond, hemp, cow, goat, soy, etc)
  • 1 cup whole buckwheat groats (or 1 cup + 2 Tbsp LIGHT buckwheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup whole millet grains (or 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp millet flour)
  • 1/4 cup dark buckwheat flour (I used Bob’s Redmill brand)
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch/flour, tapioca starch/flour, or a mixture of both
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum or guar gum (you can omit, but bread will be slightly crumbly)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or: 1/2 tsp Allspice, 1tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 6 Tbsp. olive oil or melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 6 Tbsp. maple syrup 
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (approximately 5 medium bananas)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts/seeds (I used walnuts)
  • optional: 1/3 cup raw cacao nibs OR 1/2-3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips, or carob chips (I used the semisweet chips as it was all I had)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan.

1. Grind buckwheat groats and millet in a small coffee grinder until it makes a very fine flour. (You can also use a grain mill, a high powered blender, or high quality regular blender) Transfer to a large bowl and add all the dry ingredients.

2. In a mixer or blender, put the milk/milk substitute, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and banana and mix/process until smooth. 

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just moistened. Fold in the nuts and chocolate, if using.

4. Pour into loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a baking rack. Store in airtight container. Freezes well.

My result! YUM!

Danielle VenHuizen

Registered Dietitian, Certified LEAP Therapist