Best Banana Bread (or Muffins) From Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families (Plus a Giveaway!)
5 from 4 votes

Best Banana Bread (or Muffins)

Those of us who love to cook retain, I think, a special sort of reverence for our very first cookbook authors. My forays into cooking coincided for the most part with my journey into veganism, and I still remember my first, well loved plant-based cookbooks: Vegan With a Vengeance, The Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and all I could get my hands on by Deborah Madison.

I also was fortunate enough to read about Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan on another blog, and I promptly purchased it. The book was a delight to look at and read, but it also gave me that special feeling of synchronicity that we all have with certain food writers, the feeling that Dreena knew my tastes exactly, and had crafted recipe after recipe that incorporated all of my favorite things (after all, it was the first cookbook I’d ever seen that had an entire chapter devoted to hummus!). I soon picked up Vive le Vegan!, too, and it’s no understatement to say that Dreena taught me a lot of what I know about plant-based cooking. To this day, I channel a lot of inspiration from her work into my own recipes, and I’m so grateful to her for having contributed so much to my culinary foundation. The publication of Let Them Eat Vegan! a few years ago only increased the number of Dreena-inspired dinners that have made it into my regular rotation (you can read my review of that book here).

My love of Dreena’s food has only been enhanced by the fact that we’ve gotten to know each other through the years. She is as warm, insightful, and classy as she seems to be through her food writing, and I have always taken great pleasure in our emails, as well as our all-too-brief time together at the second Vida Vegan Con.

Dreena Burton

In many ways, Dreena’s new book, Plant-Powered Families, is the one that a her readers have always been waiting for. Dreena is a mom of three vegan kids, and all of her books include kid-friendly recipes, tips on vegan parenting, and insights into feeding a vegan family healthily and well. In spite of how much veganism is growing, there continues to be a real lack of resources, support, and knowledge about vegan parenting, which is why Dreena’s contributions are so vital.

The new book is everything that I hoped it would be: not only an excellent, foolproof collection of recipes, but also a trusty resource for those who have questions about the nutritional basics of feeding vegan kids. It includes plenty of useful FAQs, including questions about protein, iron, and calcium, two weeks’ worth of nutritions, well-balanced meal plans, sample nutritional information, charts with the nutrient values of common plant-based ingredients, and plenty of parenting tips, including guidance on packing school lunches, hosting kids’ birthday parties, and preparing “weegans” (as Dreena calls them) for peer pressure surrounding their diets. It also features an enthusiastic preface from Dr. Neal Barnard.


I’m not a vegan parent, but it is possible that I might be one day, and I’d rely on this book wholeheartedly for guidance. Dreena’s perspective on health is so wonderfully balanced: her recipes are health-conscious and whole foods oriented, and she’s very knowledgeable about nutrition. At the same time, she creates recipes that are flavorful, indulgent, and fun–the kind of foods that kids really love to eat. This book is proof that feeding children an ethically minded, compassionate, and nutritiously conscious plant-based diet need not involve any deprivation or sacrifices in taste.

Moreover, this isn’t just a book for parents. It’s a great resource for all any and all vegan food lovers. Some of my favorite recipe picks include Dreena’s “chunky monkey” smoothie, her apple lentil dal, her potato-meets-egg salad, her ultimate cashew cheese, and her sunflower artichoke burgers. The dessert offerings are numerous, and they include such tasty treats as sticky almond blondies and vanilla bean chocolate chip cookies. Yum!

Throughout the book, Dreena is incredibly sensitive to those who eat modified or specialized diets. Many of her recipes include gluten free options, oil-free options, nut-free options, and even suggestions for parents of picky eaters or kids with food aversions (for example, she’ll explain how to modify spices for kids who don’t care for heavily spiced food). The result is a collection that feels inclusive and considerate.

I wanted to share with you all a recipe that seems to speak to what this book has to offer. I decided to go with Dreena’s “Best Banana Bread (or Muffins)”–after all, how could I argue with that name? This recipe feels so perfectly “Dreena” to me–a spin on a homey classic that’s amazingly healthy and delicious at the same time. I always have overripe bananas here at home, and I can’t wait to make this bread soon. If you’re gluten free, note Dreena’s suggested gluten-free modification. The recipe is reprinted with generous permission of BenBella books.

Best Banana Bread (or Muffins)

5 from 4 votes

Best Banana Bread (or Muffins) From Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families (gluten free option)

Author - Gena Hamshaw


  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or 1 cup plus 3–4 tablespoons spelt flour; see note for gluten-free version
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup pureed overripe banana see note
  • 1/2 cup plain nondairy milk
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 –4 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Wipe or spray a loaf pan with oil and line with a strip of parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the pureed banana, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then add the chocolate chips, and stir through until just well combined (don’t overmix).
  • Pour batter into pan and bake for 43–48 minutes, until golden and a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Replace all the flour with 2 full cups of certified gluten-free oat flour, or with 13/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (ex: Bob’s Red Mill) plus 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons almond meal and 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum.
  • Banana Note: Puree several medium-large overripe bananas in a blender or with an immersion blender and deep cup, then measure to get your 1 cup.
  • Kitchen Tip: To make muffins instead of a quick bread, pour mixture into a 12-cup muffin pan fitted with cupcake liners. Bake for 17–20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove, let cool for a few minutes in pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I’d love nothing more than to give a CR reader a chance to experience this informative, rich collection firsthand. So, Dreena and her publishers have generously offered a giveaway copy of Plant-Powered Families to one US or Canadian reader. The giveaway will run for two weeks, and you can enter to win below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck with the giveaway, folks! And kudos/thanks to Dreena for this awesome new resource. I’ll be back later this week with a summery recipe to send you off with for the July 4th weekend!


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Categories: Recipes, Quickbreads, Snacks
Method: Oven
Dietary Preferences: Soy Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    I have made these twice now in 3 days. It is really hard to find oil free baking recipes that are not tough. These are a winner. I even milled soft white wheat for the flour. Thank you!

  2. I am new to your website and can’t stop browsing thru it.tried a few recipes and they are great.Next on my list is the banana bread.
    Please put me in your lottery for your new book. Saw you on you tube with A.J. When you made the ranch dressing and zucchini fritters. Made them yesterday and they were delicious. I am new to Vegan, but I am already learning a lot thru your site.
    My granddaughter is vegan and now we can talk about food. Yeahh.

  3. I will always have a soft spot for my first cookbook, Veganomicon. It’s pages are stained with cooking & spices and the pages are dog eared.
    I love Dreena’s The Every Day Vegan & Let Them Be Vegan – I bet her new cookbook is her best one yet.
    The banana bread sounds delicious, glad there is a gluten-free version =)
    And the sunflower artichoke burgers sound amazing!!

  4. I don’t make a ton of food for kids these days, but I do know that any no-bake bites/energy balls, especially if they involve chocolate, are pretty popular. I’ve made them for some young kids before and they were a big hit.

  5. My favorite plant powered kiddo meal is TVP sloppy joes. I think I got the recipe from Healthy Happy Vegan, but now I can make it without thinking too much about it.

  6. That banana bread looks delicious! My kids favorite vegan recipe is cranberry bread.

  7. During the summer, my favorite kid friendly vegan recipe for kids are fruit Popsicle. They get to puree any fruit the like, I pour it into the container & they add the whole fruits of their choice. With a 6-piece Popsicle holder they get to create 3 each. They say “we are cooking”! If that’s what they cooking consists of, I am o.k. with that!

  8. I became a vegetarian a couple of months ago, I am looking forward to learning more and cooking more and eating raw!

  9. Mac n cheese made with brown rice pasta and cashew based cheese sauce. I can eat it everyday!

  10. Thank you for the terrific give-away! My favorite kid-friendly recipe would be the 5-minute no-bake granola bars (the recipe you posted on Food52). I can’t count how many times I have made them… they are soooo good!

  11. Fruit “sorbet”– throw frozen fruit in the food processor or blender with a little lemon or lime juice and voila! Instant gourmet dessert!

  12. Making healthy recipes that the whole family like is always a challenge! Sure this book could provide great ideas

  13. My kids love to eat and make “nut balls” (nut/seed/dried fruit balls); we love to experiment with making new flavors.

  14. My 2-year-old son (vegan since conception!) loves green smoothies, vegan mac, and muffins. His favorite thing lately, though,, is oatmeal with almond butter and maple syrup–he’d eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if we let him!

  15. I love the recipes I found in the kids section of How It All Vegan, including the alphabet soup. In fact it is a staple in our house.

  16. My kids favorite vegan snack is celery with peanut butter and raisins. I know it’s simple, but they love it and it’s easy for me to prepare!

  17. Pasta, with spinach and caramelized onion and spices doesn’t sound kid friendly but my girls LOVE it (7 and 10 years) Thank you for that chance to win!

  18. Dreena’s yogurt, nut butter and cinnamon dip is always a hit with kids… and me.

  19. I do make a delicious dish of tofu baked in peanut sauce that’s a hit with kids – I simply have to dial down the heat and don’t make it as spicy as I do when I make it for heat-loving adults.

  20. Best kid friendly vegan recipe? Banana peanut butter cookies. So healthy and you can’t even tell! Just bananas, peanut butter, oats and (optional) chocolate chips.

  21. To be honest I have kind of struggling with eating raw or even healthy for that matter. I endeavored to give this recipe to my wife, and oh man, they were too GOOD!!! Absolutely the best mid day snack! Thank you for helping me along the way and aiding my family from the bad stuff.

  22. Thank you for the post-new banana bread recipes are always appreciated 🙂

    I don’t have any kids (yet) but I am definitely excited about this book as I have contemplated many times how best to approach raising a vegan child. If I had to pick what I think would be a kid-friendly recipe, I’d say chocolate-strawberry-banana ice cream, topped with cacao, almonds, and shredded coconut. 😀

  23. I make broccoli-millet fritters for my niece and nephew with a tahini dipping sauce. We all love them!

  24. The double chocolate cookies made with black beans from Kathy Hester’s “The Great Vegan Bean Book” is a winner with everyone who has tried them, kiddos and adults alike!

  25. My son loves dipping his veggies in guacamole! It can be a bit messy (he’s a toddler), but he absolutely loves anything with avocado in it.

  26. A big plate of veggies with hummus for dipping. Put it on a platter and kids think it’s fit for a king! They eat way more from a tray than if you were to put it on their plates individually.

  27. Chocolate covered Katie’s black bean brownies…they are so fudgy and chocolately and my yongest brother always asks for them! 🙂

  28. I have two vegan kids with completely different tastes. Right now I would say my favorite kid-friendly meal for my son is vegan sushi- and for my daughter definitely muffins.

  29. Such a great cookbook! I have loved every recipe I’ve created so far! Dreena truly is a delight. Great review 🙂

  30. I would love to have this book copy! Currently, my husband and I are vegetarian however, I sneak in several recipes that are vegan. Hubby loves them and his digestive system really appreciates it! I need more vegan recipes!

  31. Wow, so many favorite vegan kid recipes! Been testing them on my 5 little girls for 10 years! I am so happy to see this type of book come out.
    My oldest daughter says her favorite recipe is: sourdough pancakes with strawberries!!

  32. Your ridiculous mushy intros all sound the same, so disingenuous at this point, esp. given that one can’t see any of Dreena’s full flavored, hearty traditional vegan influence on your bland, faddish, high priced designer tastes that boast such claims as “raw,” “live culture, “enzyme rich” etc. – none of which have any scientific validity. Heck you wrote an entire cookbook focused on raw food – without out any real justification for choosing such a restrictive plan, other than you like how “light” it makes you feel. In no way do I see the traditional, mediteranian diet focused, vegan/vegetarian books you reference in any of your recipes.

  33. I have a couple of Dreena’s early cookbooks and have had this latest in my Amazon shopping cart forever…fingers crossed.

  34. We love ALL the recipes!! The Sniffle Soup, Marinated Tofu, White Bean Chili, etc. Wonderful!!!

  35. That banana bread looks awesome! I’ll make mine into mini loaves. I would love to win Dreena’s book.

  36. Great review! I have been dying to read this book, it looks amazing!! My toddlers favorites are: flax crackers with hummus or guacamole, oatmeal with raisins and hemp or chia, quinoa, lentil pasta with cashew alfredo and steamed broccoli, banana nice cream and green smoothies 🙂

  37. My favorite kid-friendly vegan recipe is a batch of chocolate chip blondies. Can’t go wrong with a healthier version of a treat.

  38. I love banana bread, and I’m always looking for delicious and healthy versions that are healthy. I’m really looking forward to trying this since it isn’t loaded up with oil… looks delicious!

  39. It’s not my recipe, but my sis makes a really great egg-free (and flour free I think) chocolate cake that is way better than any mix and maybe even my favorite cake recipe ever!

  40. I don’t have kids but I bet they would have fun making noodles out of fruit and veggies with a spiralizer.

  41. It’s just great to know that through educational books such as Dreena’s, more and more people are having access to information that can help in improving one’s eating habits. Lovely banana bread by the way!

  42. My kids love banana bread, so I’m really looking forward to trying out this recipe!

  43. This looks amazing! I love making vegan enchiladas with chickpeas and yams! Everyone loves them!

  44. This looks amazing! Love banana bread! And also the concept of this cookbook!

  45. That banana bread looks great! Fruit and veggie smoothies are my kid’s favorite!

  46. I make peanut soba noodles! I don’t have kids, but the noodles are definitely boyfriend-friendly, which is saying a lot considering he’s not even close to being vegan!

  47. I keep hoping to win one of Dreena’s books. I’m always borrowing from the library, but they don’t have this newest one yet!

  48. Looks delicious! I love making banana “ice cream” (kid and everyone friendly and vegan), would go great with this banana bread!

  49. My favorite easy kid friendly recipe is blended fruit and mint frozen in popsicle molds! Super easy super yummy!

  50. I love making vegan mac and cheese for my kid, but I am also a huge fan of making crispy ginger tofu and garlic fried quinoa, everyone gobbles it up!!