Gluten-free marbled banana bread

Gluten-free Marbled Banana Bread | A Dash of Compassion

The scent of freshly baked banana bread has been wafting through my house for the last week. A sudden craving hit me recently and the next thing I know, I’ve used up every single frozen banana in my freezer in a crazy attempt to perfect a gluten-free version of my favourite baked treat.

I’ve been a big, big fan of banana bread ever since my grandmother introduced me to it when I was a wee child. So, I didn’t take this personal challenge lightly. This gluten-free bread had to be good, with a texture that wasn’t gluey or doesn’t fall apart in your hands, and a light banana flavour that wasn’t too sweet. Oh, and with a beautiful chocolatey swirl throughout. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? I already had it planned out before I even started, but naturally, what seemed so easy on paper couldn’t quite be achieved in the kitchen. It took more than a few trials to get this just right.

Gluten-free Marbled Banana Bread | A Dash of Compassion

This, my friends, was a lesson in texture. I already knew the combination of different flours affects the outcome immensely when it comes to gluten-free baking. My goal was to use a few simple flours and not starches or gums. In the end, it was a mix of three of my favourites that did the trick—oat, buckwheat and almond. Why I didn’t try this combo to begin with is beyond me.

But I digress.

If you’ve never tried making a loaf with a fun chocolate swirl, you’re missing out. Not only does this turn a plain banana loaf into an attractive party dessert, but it’s just so much fun to mix and swirl the batters together to create a totally unique loaf every time.  Thanks to Isa for the fun idea.


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Gluten-free marbled banana bread

Yield: 1 loaf


  • 1 cup oat flour (gluten-free certified, if necessary)
  • 3/4 cup light buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds + 1 tbsp water
  • 4 overripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder + 3 tbsp hot water


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly oil a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, buckwheat flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the chia and water and set aside until a gel forms.
  4. In another large bowl, mash the bananas until no large clumps remain. Add the coconut sugar, vanilla extract and chia gel. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Transfer 1 + 1/4 cup of the batter to another clean bowl. Now, in a small cup whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until the cocoa is dissolved. Add this to the batter and mix until incorporated.
  6. Now it's time to marble! Scoop out 1/3 cups of batter and drop them in the prepared loaf pan, side by side and on top of each other, alternating colours as best you can. Repeat until all the batter has been used. Insert a sharp knife or long skewer into the batter and make a swirl motion throughout. You want to try to swirl through each section to gently merge the batters, but take care not to overdo it.
  7. Bake at 350F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Update: Thanks to reader input, I've changed the buckwheat flour to read "light buckwheat" since the swirl doesn't show up well when the darker variety is used. You could also try grinding raw buckwheat groats (not kasha) into a flour.



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14 Responses to “Gluten-free marbled banana bread”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. My sister-in-law is gluten-intolerant, and I want to try to learn a little more about GF baking for her. I really appreciate the simplicity of this recipe. One question: I’m not familiar with chia seeds, would it be okay to substitute a flax egg instead?

    • Nicole — June 7, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! It’s so nice of you to learn about GF baking for your sister-in-law. Yes, absolutely, you can sub ground flax for the chia. Happy baking!

  2. Emma — June 7, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

    This looks so scrummy! I’m not gluten-free and tend to avoid recipes with too many different flours but the 3 you used are all very familiar to me and pantry staples :)

    • Nicole — June 7, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

      Wonderful! That was one of my objectives – to use familiar and accessible GF flours – so I’m glad it worked out. I hope you enjoy this bread as much as I do!

  3. Hannah — June 8, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    Nicole you genius woman you. This would make SUCH a good peanut butter cake sandwich.

    • Nicole — June 9, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

      Oh, I love that idea! Peanut butter cake sandwich!

  4. Andrea — June 9, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

    The bread looks like it has a wonderful texture and rise, and I love that you did it without starches and gums. I will definitely have to try the recipe.

    • Nicole — June 9, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

      Thank you, Andrea! I think it turned out really well. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

  5. Suzanne — June 10, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

    I have all these ingredients at home- all I have to do is patiently let my bananas ripen! Can’t wait to try it

    • Nicole — June 10, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

      Waiting for bananas to ripen is sometimes the toughest part! If you want to speed up the process, wrap them in a paper bag and put it in a warm place. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  6. Amber — June 20, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    Like all the recipies on this site, I made it almost right after it was posted. The texture is fantastic, the rise great & the ingredients easy to get. My only problem was that my swirl didn’t show up. The batter was so dark that I couldn’t see the chocolate. What did I do wrong? Are there some buckwheat flours that are lighter than others? I used Bob’s but have used a local brand (NYC) in the past & it is about the same color. I plan to try again & eat my bread with the coconut peanut butter spread. Despie the swirl situation, it tasted great.

    • Nicole — June 20, 2013 @ 11:51 am

      I’m sorry to hear the swirl didn’t work out for you! The buckwheat flour I use is a lighter colour (I buy in bulk). The colour depends on how it’s milled. If you can get your hands on a “light buckwheat” or even grind your own with raw buckwheat groats (not kasha), that should work. I’ll be sure to add a note to the recipe, so thanks of your input!

      Pairing this bread with coconut PB spread is a fabulous idea! I think I may have to make another loaf…

  7. karuna — August 22, 2013 @ 2:28 am

    Thankyou you so much for this FABULOUS recipe, although I still have to improve my swirling technique, the bread came out just lovely!!! Perfect blend of flours!!
    Thanks again, will be baking it again and again!

    • Nicole — August 22, 2013 @ 10:22 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, karuna!

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