These healthy banana brownies are made with whole-grain oat flour and have a cake-like texture, with hints of banana bread and rich chocolate flavor. Best of all, they're a sweet treat you can feel 100% great about! Made without oil or refined sugar, these banana brownies are WFPB (whole-food, plant-based), gluten-free, and dare I say it, healthy enough for breakfast!
Actually Healthy Brownies
Not long ago I was working on a different brownie recipe and doing some research to get ideas. I fully admit I've been living a somewhat sheltered, healthy-ish plant-based lifestyle for a long time, and I know my tastes have changed. But looking at some of these brownie recipes online kind of blew my mind!
We're talking heaps of butter, coconut oil, sugar, and flour... not to mention the chocolate! I honestly can't imagine the tummy ache I would have after eating something that intensely rich, and I know I'm not alone.
Lightened-up versions of classic vegan desserts like these oil-free brownies are totally my jam, healthy enough for everyday, I'd say!
Why You'll Love Them
One cup of mashed, overripe banana provides moisture, binding, and sweetness, which means we need less sugar. And speaking of sugar, we're not using any of the refined stuff. We're using a combo of maple syrup and coconut sugar to make these healthy brownies taste dessert-worthy.
Oat flour provides awesome texture, nut butter gives them a bit of richness, and cocoa powder brings ALL the chocolate vibes. That's right, there's no actual chocolate in these, unless you want to add chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate.
At only 120 calories per brownie, these are surprisingly light, so I wanted to be sure to give you a heads up!! If you're looking for a super dense, fudgey type of brownie, these may not be the ones for you...
But if you like the sound of a refined sugar-free, cake-like brownie married with the warm flavor of banana bread and the crunch of walnuts, you're definitely in the right place!
- Bananas - make sure to use bananas that are very soft, sweet, fragrant, and moist. Since we're not using oil, a lot of the moisture in the brownies comes from the bananas.
- Oat flour - use fine oat flour, whether store-bought or homemade in a high speed blender.
- Cocoa powder - regular or Dutch process.
- Sweeteners - maple syrup contributes moisture and flavor, so I can't recommend a substitute. Brown sugar may be used instead of coconut sugar.
- Almond butter - I like raw, unsalted almond butter in this recipe. Use your favorite nut or seed butter. If it's salted, reduce the sea salt to ¼ teaspoon.
- Coffee - just 1 tablespoon of brewed coffee really adds to the rich flavor. A bit of liquid is also important for the overall consistency of the batter. So if you don't have coffee, use your favorite non-dairy milk instead.
- Cinnamon - adds depth and lovely banana bread vibes! But if you don't enjoy cinnamon feel free to reduce or omit it.
See recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How to Make Banana Brownies With Oat Flour
The process is really easy and goes like this:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- In a smaller bowl mash the bananas very well with a fork (or squeeze them with your clean hands).
- Stir the other wet ingredients into the banana.
- Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until well combined. Fold in the walnuts.
- Pour the brownie batter into the pan, and bake for 28 to 31 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Tips for Slicing
The only difficult thing about this recipe might be waiting while they cool! Between the bananas, cinnamon, maple, and cocoa, they smell totally irresistible.
Since these brownies are gluten-free and have a tender, cake-like texture, it's best to wait until they're completely cool before cutting into squares. I know it's tough, but I believe in you!
And hey, if the smell of chocolate banana brownies overtakes your will, and you cut into them a bit early, is a bit of crumbly, moist, chocolatey goodness really such a bad thing? I think not.
Imagine this... you wake up the next day, and while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea you pull a healthy banana brownie straight out of the fridge for breakfast. And maybe you even pair it with a spoonful of peanut butter to make it extra filling. There are worse ways to start the day!
After lunch or as a snack:
These are perfect on-the-go or as an afternoon snack since they're fine at room temperature all day.
I'm perfectly happy having one or two of these after dinner as a healthy dessert. If you want to kick up the dessert-factor, serve these with your favorite non-dairy whipped cream or ice cream plus a dash of cinnamon on top!
Banana brownies taste fantastic with a scoop of any of these vegan ice creams:
- Vanilla-Maple Oat Ice Cream (a reader favorite!)
- Pumpkin Oat Ice Cream
- Banana Nice Cream
- Butter Pecan Oat Ice Cream
- Chocolate Chickpea Ice Cream (nut-free)
- Almond butter - try them with tahini, sunbutter, peanut butter, or cashew butter.
- Flour - though I haven't tested the recipe yet with other whole-grain flours, I do think it will be fairly forgiving. The key is to use the same weight in grams. For example, if you wanted to use white whole-wheat flour instead of oat flour, use ¾ cup (approx. 90 grams) instead of 1 cup.
- Cocoa powder - for the best flavor I recommend regular cocoa powder instead of raw cacao powder (though you can definitely use cacao if that's what you have). And as noted in the recipe, if using Dutch process cocoa instead of regular, use baking powder instead of baking soda.
Once the brownies are cool, I like to leave them on the parchment paper and transfer them to a storage container with a tight-fitting lid. If you need to stack them to fit inside the container, place parchment between the layers to prevent sticking.
The brownies can be stored at room temperature for a day or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I actually prefer them cool straight from the fridge.
Banana brownies freeze well, too. They thaw fairly quickly, so just pull one from the freezer an hour or two before you'd like to eat.
Make sure to use very ripe bananas with plenty of dark spots. They should be sweet, fragrant, and moist since they provide a lot of the moisture in the brownies.
More vegan oat flour dessert recipes:
If you find yourself in the mood for a richer brownie, don't miss these:
Healthy Oat Flour Banana Brownies (Vegan)
- 1 cup oat flour (100 g) - Use certified gluten-free oat flour if needed.
- ½ cup natural cocoa powder - If using Dutch-processed cocoa (alkalized), replace the baking soda with baking powder.
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (replace with baking powder if using Dutch-processed cocoa)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 2 large bananas) - Use bananas with a lot of dark spots
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut sugar - Can sub brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon brewed coffee or non-dairy milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup runny almond butter, unsalted - Or any nut/seed butter you like; will alter flavor.
- ½ cup chopped raw walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the oat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Place the bananas in a small bowl, and mash with a fork. It's fine to have a few larger pieces remaining. Measure to make sure you have 1 cup of mashed banana. Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla, and almond butter, and stir vigorously until combined.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and stir to combine. Fold in the walnuts.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan, and bake for 28 to 31 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let brownies rest in the pan for 30 minutes, then lift out by parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.