Corny Oat Banana Bread Muffins cooling by a windowsill

This is the best banana bread.  Ever.

Throughout my childhood, when I saw bananas turning overripe and spotted brown, I knew my mom was planning to make this banana bread.  I don’t know the origins of the recipe, so I’ll just credit my mother with this amazing contribution to the world.

I swear I’m not biased.  Yes, tasting this banana bread floods me with memories of eating slices of it warmed in the toaster oven and dabbed with butter with a cup of coffee for breakfast with my mother (I grew up in the French tradition of drinking café au lait from age three).

However, this banana bread is just as delicious now as an adult as it was for me as a child – if not more.  Banana bread can often be sickly sweet and heavy with oil – like eating cake for breakfast (although there is a time and place for that) – and a far cry from a health food.

This banana bread is naturally sweet, but not too sweet.  Incredibly moist from its natural ingredients, not from excess oil.  It has a great multidimensional texture from the variety of grains – oats, cornmeal, and wheat germ.  It’s filling and delicious without being heavy; tastes amazing and will leave you feeling good with lots of energy.

When I turned (temporarily) vegan a few years ago, I decided to try to veganize the recipe – substituting the eggs with ground flax seeds (a.k.a. flaxseed meal).  When you combine flaxseed meal and water, it turns into a thick paste after a few minutes and is an excellent vegan binder for baked goods.

flaxseed meal or ground flaxseeds as an egg replaces in vegan baked goods

Flax adds a nutty taste and a more substantial texture, so it’s not ideal for everything.  But in something like this earthy banana bread, flaxseed meal actually made it even more delicious – and healthier.  This banana bread is vegan with no processed sugar and plenty of good-for-you grains – oatmeal, cornmeal, and wheat germ.  Flax seeds give an additional nutritional boost: fiber and omega 3s – something eggs can’t give you.

This recipe works equally well as a loaf (the way I had it growing up) and as muffins (handy for single servings and easier to maneuver than a loaf if you’re bringing it to a social or travel setting).  As muffins, these are great to bring to a breakfast meeting or a morning road trip.  It’s a great breakfast loaf to serve with coffee or tea for overnight guests.

Thanks mom for bringing this banana bread into my life – it’s the better for it.  I hope this banana bread becomes the stuff of legends and traditions for you as it has for me.

corny oat banana bread muffin in a garden

Corny Oat Banana Bread

Print or email the recipe here.

Yield 1 loaf or 12 muffins.

  • 3 bananas (approximately 1 cup mashed)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup honey, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup*
  • 5 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup gluten-free baking mix or spelt flour (not gluten-free)**
  • 1/2 cup fine ground cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken.

In a separate bowl, mash bananas.

In another bowl, combine oil and honey. Add flax-water mixture.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add to honey mixture alternately with mashed bananas.

Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 for 1 hour or greased muffin tin for 18 minutes.

*The sweetness of the banana bread will depend on the sweetener used. Brown rice syrup is less sweet than honey, so if it only is used, will result in a mildly sweet bread. Maple syrup is very sweet, and will result in a much sweeter bread. I like a mix of half brown rice syrup and half honey, but experiment to find your preference.

** If you’re not gluten-free, try this with spelt flour or whole wheat flour.  I like the denser bread it makes, but try different flours and find what you like.