Banana Date-Pistachio Loaves (lactose-free)

DSC_2100Everyone should have at one amazing recipe for healthy banana bread in their arsenal. I am not the type to select just one favorite banana bread. However, these miniature loaves are absolute favorite. This bread is so soft and rich.

DSC_2097The salty, crunchy pistachios are the ideal juxtaposition to the sweet, soft dates. If my pantry is ever without dried dates (or figs, for that matter) and pistachios, something must be out of balance in the cosmos.

DSC_2078 DSC_2077Intoxicating essence almond and vanilla are a lovely marriage of flavors. The extracts perfume the delectable, honeyed bread and lend an exotic, elegant savour.

DSC_2084Whole wheat pastry flour provides a light texture. The flour is completely whole grain and its minimal wheat taste is subtle and smooth. Velvety, tangy organic Australian yogurt keeps the loaves moist and salubrious. You could certainly substitute a strained, Greek yogurt if you do not have Australian yogurt on hand.

DSC_2082This bread is adapted from Gayle Berger’s recipe via Sheryl Aronow at Mama’s Gotta Bake. The original recipe looks scrumptious and decadent. Truly a bread fit for a god (or in this case, Sheryl, the Baking Goddess).

DSC_2092My whole grain, lightened-up interpretation is equally tasty. Also, the altered recipe incorporates exquisite flavors – such as cardamom, almond essence, dates and pistachios – that bring to mind the cuisines of Persian, as well as Jewish and Middle Eastern, food culture.

DSC_2091Part of the reason I was so inspired to bake by Sheryl’s blog post and Gayle’s recipe is the story behind the bread. The power of food lies not only in its texture and taste, but in the memories and stories behind it.

DSC_2094Gayle and Sheryl met in pastry culinary school. They have been partners in baking (and bakery hopping) crime ever since. Their friendship warmed my heart, brought a smile to my face – and also imparted a strong urge to bake. A morning spent mixing is meant for me.

DSC_2079I hope that you pop a few small loaves (four, to be exact) into your oven. They are delicious and are even better when gifted to family and friends. Thank you for popping over to Casa Curls and Carrots. Have a lovely day!

Warmest regards,





Banana Date-Pistachio Loaves (Lactose-free)

Adapted from Gayle Berger’s recipe via Sheryl Aronow at Mama’s Gotta Bake. Makes four miniature loaves.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 level cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fine salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. cardamom

Wet Ingredients:

  • 4 very ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (or substitute lactose-free butter or margarine)
  • 1 cup low-fat Australian-style creamy yogurt*
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roasted and chopped
  • 6 large medjool dates, chopped, then tossed in two tsp. of flour
  • Cooking spray, to grease the loaf pans.


  1. Preheat oven to 350•F or 177•C.
  2. Grease four miniature loaf pans with canola oil cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together. Set aside.
  4. Place the bananas in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high-speed until the banana mixture is completely smooth.
  5. Add the sugar to the mixer and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and light.
  6. Add the melted, cooled butter, yogurt, vanilla and almond extract. Whisk on medium speed just until combined.
  7. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Mix each time just until incorporated.
  8. On medium-low speed, add the flour mixture in four parts. Mix after each addition just until incorporated. 
  9. Fold in the chopped pistachios and flour-coated chopped dates.
  10. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans. Give each loaf pan on the counter to eliminate air bubbles. 
  11. Set the loaf pans on a large cookie sheet. Do not allow the loaf pans to touch.
  12. Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes at 350•F or 177•C, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the loaves comes out clean.
  13. Cool each pan for about fifteen minutes on a kitchen towel. 
  14. Turn out each loaf onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
*yogurt is a naturally lactose-free food
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, (2013), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.

75 thoughts on “Banana Date-Pistachio Loaves (lactose-free)

  1. Kindred spirits, Shanna! 🙂 I baked banana bread w/walnuts this morning–I added a little bit of homemade applesauce to mine. . .because it was in the refrigerator and why not? I will have to try your recipe! Pistachios sound great.

    1. Merril,
      How neat – we are clearly operating (and baking!) on the same wavelength. 🙂 Applesauce is a great idea to keep your bread moist and healthy – and add a bit of flavor – nice thinking. I bet it was delicious. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your enthusiastic and warm words.
      Best regards,

    1. Thank you, Anna. YOU ARE NOT lazy, haha! Anything but. I hope that you try it. Your family will enjoy it (and so will you!). I am sure you could substitute quinoa flour for a quarter of the whole wheat pastry flour without issue, since we know you are a quinoa girl. 😉 Thank you for your visit and your like. I am so happy you stopped by, amiga. Take good care. – Shanna xx

  2. Yummy! 🙂
    Shanna, hope you and your family will be having a great week!
    hugs from Cold and wintry stockholm

  3. wow–that looks fancy, but also comforting and simple. I’m with you on having an arsenal of banana bread recipes. A food for fun search found seven hits, lol. Here’s one of my favorites:

    Thinking pistachios are going on my grocery list today. Though like you, I’m good on the dates 🙂 And overripe bananas, of course.

    1. Hi, Liz,
      See my reply on your WONDERFUL link (check it out, folks!). 🙂
      Let me know if you give this a go. I am glad to hear that we are both suckers for a nice banana bread. There are few things like it – other than you Kentucky Bourbon, obviously. 🙂
      Warm regards,

  4. Hi Shanna! How are you? mmhh.. i love both bananas and pistachios, so i’m hungry right now 🙂
    In italy this kind of bread with fruits, cereals, ecc…are not so common, but we’ve a recipe, the plumcake, that seems similar…but we make it with a bit of butter, or someone with extra-virgin oil.. Have a great day!Cris

    1. Hi, Cris,
      Thank you for your comment. I am so pleased that you have stopped by. It is great to have my wonderful Italian friend here at Curls and Carrots.
      I do hope to someday get the recipes completely over to European measurements, like grams, as it is more accurate. In the meantime…. check this out:
      I love plum cake and look forward to your recipe. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Butter in combination must yield a flavorful and moist cake. It sounds delicious.
      Thanks again for your visit.
      Shanna xx

      1. Hi Shanna, thank you for the link at the conversion tables, it’s usefull! Sure one of my next posts will be about the plumcake i usually make. 🙂
        Big Hugs!Cris

      2. Cris,
        I am REALLY looking forward to your plum cake recipe. I could try to make it for Christmas morning. MMMMM. Have a great day. I am glad the charts were of some use… European measurements are best, but sometimes recipes are in cups, etc. Take good care. – Shanna xx

  5. This looks delish! I love banana bread so many different ways. I also love to use my braided mini loaf pans, the perfect size for gifting or freezing. Somehow I never have any ripe bananas left, the boys seem to eat them all. I used to freeze my over ripe bananas and when my stash was big enough it was time to bake!

  6. What a great combination! I even have the dates and pistachios in the house – but like in MamaD1xx4xy’s house, the kids had the last bananas today. Will have to save this for another day 🙂

    1. Hi, Chava,
      You and Gretchen both need to buy LOTS of bananas, then – like I do – so there are extras leftover from the munchkins. 🙂 Hehe. Here, in the USA, even the organic bananas are only 89 cents per pound. A real bargain. And I do adore a bargain…
      Thank you so much for your visit and your nice note. I am glad you liked the combination.
      Best wishes,
      Shanna xx

  7. Oh I so agree (re having a banana bread recipe at hand) and this recipe of yours may just dethrone my current favorite. LOVE the idea of using pistachios.

    1. Hi, Michal,
      I agree – GF baked goods are better in a form that is contained, as the texture can vary – cupcakes are ideal. Nice idea! 🙂 I am looking forward to your post.
      Thank you so much for your sweet note and visit.

    1. Hi, Celeste! I am so glad you are going to try it! If you make the recipe vegan, please tell me how you come about it. You have some amazing vegan recipes on your blog. Thank you for your visit; I am so glad that you are here. Warm regards, Shanna

  8. The date pieces look like chocolate chunks at first glance. Hmmm, maybe not a bad addition either! But as it already is, this looks beyond yummy. I will definitely want to try it! 😀

    1. Kathryn,
      Oh, chocolate chunks… now, that would be just fine, too. 🙂 Let me know if you give it a go – and how you experiment with the recipe. I know how creative you are. My sincere appreciation for your sweet words and your visit.
      Warm regards,

  9. I love salty crunchy pistachios but I wonder why I’ve never used them as an ingredient in baking. It’s high time I did…I always use dates, but just run out of my stock. The mini loaves look delicious. I think I plan to make one huge one (never invested in mini loaf pans-LOL) or even transform the batter into muffins. I think that’s a great idea. I am going to transform mine into muffins…I shall keep you posted of the outcome. Now what number is this on my list? First Pumpkin pie, then muffins, then chilli, then this recipe. The to do list is ready for use. Thanks, Shanna for sharing. Have a goodnight! Best Liz

    1. Hi, Liz,
      Oh my. Thank you, thank you for your most nice note. The bread really is so tasty and healthful, too (without tasting healthy, hehe) – and not too sweet, which we both like. We both like nuts, as we have established. 🙂 Why not put different varieties in breads, right? Dates are great in this and so are dried figs. It think muffins would be a GREAT vessel for this batter. I am always coming across the mini loaf pans at the thrift store and shall keep my eyes peeled for you. Have a great night! And thanks again for your visit. Best wishes, Shanna

      1. I am so sorry. I haven’t abandoned you. Life’s just so busy but you’re always in my thoughts. I still plan to make the recipes, don’t worry; I shall be surprising you soon. Xoxo to LG and SM and wish you all the best. I shall pop back before the end of the day. I need to go shopping for groceries. We have freezing rain here so everything is so mushy and yucky but we’re managing. Take care and be blessed. Best…Liz

      2. Liz,
        Good luck with your shopping. Oh, my, bad weather and grocery shopping is not idea. Especially with kids to unload and load in addition to the groceries. Take good care and stay warm!

    1. Hi, Anne,
      Thank you for your visit. It is so sweet of you to leave such a kind note! I look forward to your blog posts – nice stories and lovely recipes. I hope that you attempt the duo of pistachios and dates in your banana bread soon.
      Warm regards,

  10. Your bread looks fantastic Shanna! I really admire you for making great bread 🙂 I don’t make any because I’m so lucky that I’m surrounded by amazing artisanal bakeries where I live (which is actually a rarity in Bcn where most bakeries sell “plastic” bread) so while I’m here I buy some delicious loaves all the time. The day I move away and not have these bakeries then I’ll learn myself… and scour your blog for tips! 🙂

    1. Hi, Sofia,
      Well, if you live by amazing Spanish pasterías and panadoría. I see why you would simply pick up what you needed. You are a very, very lucky girl if you can get the artisan, handmade, fresh baked bread. 🙂 Sometimes baking a quick, sweet bread, like this recipe, is very soothing. And it is pretty much no fail.
      Warm regards,
      Shanna (Besos!)

  11. If a loaf has banana in the list of ingredients, I am definitely going to really enjoy it. From the moment I smell it baking in the oven, I know I’m in for a treat. These loaves, with the pistachios inside, would be both treat and surprise. They sound wonderful, Shanna, and I like that you made mini-loaves. I do that and freeze all but one. I certainly don’t need a monster loaf on the counter. Far less waste making small loaves.
    Hope you’re having a great week.

    1. Hi, John,
      Thank you so much for reading over the recipe and taking the time to give your input. Your comments are always so warm and positive – I love hearing from you! 🙂 I am glad that you also enjoy making mini loaves. It is lovely to have a small one and freeze the rest to share with friends later, or pop out for a special treat. I hope that you have a great week, as well.
      Warm regards,

  12. Shanna that banana,date and pistachio bread looks delicious. I love that it is lactose free too! I can eat it! I love pistachios. I don’t see dates very often here but once in a while I see dried dates available. Hopefully they will work fine. Mahalo nui loa!

    1. Hi, Kiyo,
      Thank you for visiting – and leaving such a kind and thoughtful note! 🙂 I love pistachios, as well. I used dried, large, plump dates in this loaf. I think that any dried fig would also be a nice flavor to pair with the pistachios. I hope that you try it soon. Have a lovely day!
      Warm regards,

  13. These breads look gorgeous Shanna! I love the green of the pistachios. And what do you know… I have all of the ingredients. Now if only I had a minute or two to make these! Do you ship? 😉

    1. Hi, Lidia,
      Thank you very much for your warm comment! I a so glad that you stopped by. I have definitely missed hearing from you. This is a busy time of year, isn’t it? I did ship some chocolate covered apricots and a loaf of pumpkin bread today… so I can often be cajoled into sending bread. 😉 Have a great day.

  14. Yum – I can almost smell them through the gorgeous photos Shanna! These would make a GREAT homemade food gift! I really like how healthy the ingredients are too…it’s a win-win 🙂

    1. Melissa,
      Thank you so much for the warm comments. I really appreciate your kind words and your visit. You know, I have been shipping these bad boys, frozen, all over the country – so that they arrive “fresh” after two days shipping. They are an easy gift. I am sure that you could dress them up with beautiful paper, ribbons and all of your great gifting ideas.
      Have a lovely holiday season.
      Best wishes,

    1. Hi, Janet,
      Thank you. Very kind words, as always. I am lactose-intolerant, as is Greg. I am also allergic to the protein in cow’s milk. Asher was severely allergic to cow’s milk for the first year of his life, as well. I am known to go to such length as to make whole milk Greek yogurt from Goat’s Milk (lactose-free and cow’s milk free!) for my eating pleasure.
      Have a lovely day,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s