Who says banana bread has to be basic? This version with black sesame seeds, warm chai spice, and a kick of tahini make it more than okay to be extra.
Should we start a tahini Tuesday trend and kick it off with this insanely moist chai tahini banana bread? I’ve been seeing tahini pop up in a ton of recipes from cookies to dressing to—you guessed it—bread. It inspired me to develop some of my own recipes using tahini as it’s an ingredient I haven’t worked with much and I love playing with new ingredients!
It might seem surprising, but a lot of the recipes I develop for this blog are things I’ve never made before. I get inspired when I learn a new technique or work with new ingredients. I’m alway trying to learn and expand my boundaries in the kitchen, so that in turn, I can share that knowledge with you guys!
So the first time I heard of tahini was in college circa 2012(ish) when one of my roommates bought it to make hummus. I didn’t bother to try it at the time, I just knew it was the “stuff in hummus” from that day forward. I’m pretty sure she had to get it from a co-op or specialty health food store. It definitely wasn’t as common or trendy as it is today!
Tahini is a pungent paste made from ground sesame seeds, similar to the texture of nut butter. And when I say pungent, guys, I mean it. When I first tried it, I tested a big ol’ spoonful like it was peanut butter and it is not, my friends. It’s actually extremely bitter, so a little goes a long way. After I tasted it, I knew I wanted to tone it down with some sort of warm spice and that’s when the chai came into play.
I made my own chai spice so I had extra on hand to use for other treats. It’s made from a combination of cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cardamom. The combination of warm spices go so well with the sweetness of the banana and help to mellow the bitter tahini. You’re going to want to put this chai blend in eeeeverything from oatmeal to coffee to baked goods. I’ve been adding a teaspoon to my matcha. Highly recommend.
So I think it’s safe to say nobody likes a dry piece of banana bread. I found the best way to ensure your bread is moist is by using very ripe bananas and a lot of them. Like more than you think you need. I used 4-5 for this recipe (plus the one on top) and it was the perfect moistness, in my opinion. My boss described it as, “looks dry, tastes moist.” Huge compliment in my book.
I originally tested this recipe with King Arthur 1:1 gluten-free flour—not sponsored, just sharing because I’ve been loving it! The gf bread actually came out a little drier than I’d like. However, I used less banana and baked it longer than the non-gf loaf, so that definitely affected the dryness. If you’re interested in using gf flour, I would just make sure to use five bananas to keep it moist!
I mixed all the wet ingredients in a blender to get a nice, smooth texture for a more even bake. Plus, it’s easy clean up and no mashing by hand! I also played with the toppings a bit. I ended up liking the final result better when I covered the entire top with black sesame seeds rather than just a sprinkling. I also preferred cutting the bananas in half lengthwise over strips. The strips shriveled a little too much in the oven. The halves seem to keep their shape better. Oh! And make sure you sprinkle the seeds on before you lay down the bananas. Otherwise the exposed banana gets covered with stray seeds and it’s not as pretty.
After you take the bread out of the oven, let it cool completely before storing in plastic wrap, foil, or an airtight container. Banana bread only lasts a few days at room temperature and the condensation from wrapping it slightly warm can cause it to mold even quicker.
Okay, friends. I think that’s everything I learned from the banana bread test kitchen. I hope you learned something, too!
SUPER MOIST CHAI TAHINI BANANA BREAD
For the chai spice blend
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tsp ground ginger
For the bread
- 4-5 overripe bananas + 1 less ripe (for top)
- 1 ½ cups flour (can sub 1:1 gluten-free flour)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 1 tbsp chai spice blend
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1-2 tbsp black sesame seeds + more for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper by using a little cooking spray or coconut oil to get the paper to fit snugly.
Combine tahini and chai spices until smooth and set aside. Toast walnuts in a pan, then give them a rough chop. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Add the bananas, eggs, chai tahini mixture, brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla to a blender and blend on low speed until combined. You can also do this in a mixing bowl—just mash the bananas with a fork before adding the other ingredients.
Pour contents into the bowl with the flour mixture and fold with a spatula to combine. Gently stir in walnuts and 1-2 tbsp black sesame seeds until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle a bunch of black sesame seeds over the top. Slice banana in half lengthwise and place on top of batter with the cut side face up.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a small knife or toothpick comes out mostly clean. I like to test in at least 3 places. Remove from the pan immediately and cool completely on a wire rack before storing in plastic wrap, foil, or an airtight container at room temperature.