I originally made this Paleo Fruit and Nut Bread as an experiment, to see if I could make a palatable bread without gluten, sugar, or dairy. It turned out so good I had to share.
This is an amazingly nutrient rich food, made with a base of almond meal, mashed banana, a couple of eggs and a touch of coconut oil — the rest is a boatload of chopped dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. And guess what? It’s really good! The whole family loved this one. Keep in mind this is not like any bread you’ve had before, the only thing I can liken it to is a very dense moist date nut bread, but without the extra sweetness. It makes a killer breakfast.
I turn to breads like this when I’m tired of my regular breakfast, and when I have lots of extra dried fruit and nuts cluttering up my cabinets. Nuts in particular can spoil if kept too long, so I like to keep them moving. This is a super healthy way to start the day, and I guarantee you won’t be hungry again for a long while. It’s dense and moist, with no sugar or honey added — the only sweetness comes from the fruit. The coconut oil adds great flavor and somehow reads as ‘sweet’ to my palate, too.
You can really use most any kind of fruit, nut, and seed. For the fruit I used (all dried) apricots, figs, cranberries, dates, pineapple, and blueberries. For the nuts, I used almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts. I also used flaxseeds. The assortment of add ins results in a beautiful mosaic of fruits and nuts when you slice into this bread. Each piece is unique!
This is a fun recipe to try, it definitely will expand your concept of what ‘bread’ is. Toasting enhances it, I think, by bringing out the flavor of the fruit and nuts, and crisping the outer edges of the bread slightly. I also like to add a pat of butter, which isn’t strictly Paleo*, but delicious. This is not a breakfast you will gobble down quickly, each bite demands to be savored!
- 2 ripe bananas
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp flax seeds (whole)
- 2 cups rough chopped nuts (I used almonds, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts.)
- 2 cups rough chopped dried fruits (I used apricots, figs, cranberries, dates, pineapple, and blueberries.)
- Set oven to 350F
- Lightly spray a standard loaf pan. I like to line it with a sheet of parchment so I can lift the bread out for slicing.
- Mash the two bananas really well. I actually did this in my small food processor to get a smooth result. Put them into a large mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs and coconut oil really well.
- Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt and blend well.
- Fold in the fruits, nuts, and seeds and blend until everything is well distributed.
- Turn into the loaf pan and spread out the dough evenly, and into the corners.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until starting to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. This bread does not rise, so it will still be flat. The exact cooking time will depend somewhat on the exact dimensions of your loaf pan, as even 'standard' ones can vary.
- Let the bread cool completely before slicing. I like to wrap it well and refrigerate overnight before slicing, but that's optional.
- Remember all the fruits (except the banana) in this bread are dried, fresh won’t work in this recipe. Others to try that are not listed here: raisins, peach, prune, mango, strawberries, cherries, papaya.
- Fresh nuts from the shell are far superior to the bagged ones, if you can find them. Raw work best, but if you can only find toasted, that ok, as long as they aren’t salted. Other nuts to try that are not listed in the recipe: macadamia, cashew, peanut, and pine nuts.
- I only used flax seeds, but there are so many other great ones out there, like pepitas, chia, sunflower, sesame, etc. Feel free to use what you like.
- I pureed my bananas in my small food processor to get a smooth result. If you choose to hand mash yours, make sure they get really well mashed.
- The bread is delicate, and I found that it worked best to cool it, then wrap it in plastic and refrigerate overnight before slicing. The more finely you chop your fruit and nuts, the easier the bread will be to slice, but I like some chunkiness to the texture. A good sharp serrated bread knife works well.
- If you are toasting, be careful not to over do it, the bread will scorch quickly in a regular toaster. A toaster oven works well too.
- This bread freezes nicely, just be sure to wrap it well.
*PALEO refers to an approach to eating that relies on the foods our Paleolithic ancestors had available to them, before the era of farming. The thinking is that our bodies and metabolisms weren’t meant to cope with grains, legumes, dairy, or modern processed foods and sugars.