This rhubarb bread recipe is made healthier using whole wheat flour, no refined sugar, no butter or oil, but it’s so soft and tender that you’d never be able to tell! So delicious, you’re going to want to make this Rhubarb Banana Bread all season long!

rhubarb bread sliced with a bread knife

Rhubarb is one of those intriguing foods you see in recipes here and there, but it’s not wildly popular like blueberries or apples. You can only seem to find rhubarb in a very narrow time period and when you see it in the produce department of your grocery store, you can rest assured, spring is here. I like to challenge myself to try new foods and, in my opinion, everything pairs well with bananas, so rhubarb banana bread was born.

Ingredients Needed

This rhubarb bread is made with good-for-you ingredients and is 100% whole grain. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Whole wheat flour. I like to use white whole wheat flour in this recipe. It has more nutrition than regular all-purpose flour. It also adds a nutty delicious flavor to the bread. You can also use whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. All are 100 percent whole wheat.
  • Baking staples. Baking powder, baking soda and salt gives the loaf the perfect rise and texture.
  • Flavor makers. Ground cinnamon, all spice and pure vanilla extract give this quick bread a wonderful warm, cozy flavor.
  • Eggs. You’ll need two large eggs in this recipe to give the bread moisture and create fluff.
  • Bananas. Three large bananas or about 1-1/2 cups add moisture and do a great job of replacing oil in baked goods. For best results, use extra ripe bananas that have some brown spots.
  • Sweetener. This healthy rhubarb bread is naturally sweetened with either honey or pure maple syrup.
  • Rhubarb. Buy firm red or green rhubarb stalks. It doesn’t matter if they are thick or thin. Frozen rhubarb is fine, too, when rhubarb isn’t in season. I like to freeze extra rhubarb in the spring so I can make this snack year round.
ingredients to make Healthy Rhubarb Banana Bread

How to Make This Recipe

My daughter loves to get in the kitchen with me when I’m baking, especially when the recipe is sweet and comforting. Baking bread is a great opportunity to get your kids helping in the kitchen. There are great teaching opportunities to be had – measuring ingredients, chatting about the ingredients being used and learning to use common kitchen tools.

This recipe is very straightforward. You can use a stand or hand mixer or mix everything by hand. Here’s the simple process:

  1. Whisk dry ingredients. In one large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  2. Wet ingredients. Next, add in the eggs, mashed banana, honey and teaspoon vanilla extract; gently stir to combine. Last, fold in the chopped rhubarb.
  3. Bake. Pour the batter into a loaf pan that has been prepared with parchment paper or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350ºF for about 50-55 minutes.
  4. Cool. Once the bread comes out of the oven, allow it to cool in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes on a wire rack. Use a butter knife around the sides to help lift the bread out of the loaf pan. Cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing. Enjoy!
mixing chopped rhubarb with quick bread batter in a silver mixing bowl

What makes this bread healthy?

  • Made with whole grains. This rhubarb banana bread recipe is made with 100 percent whole wheat flour, unlike most quick bread recipes that call for refined flour and lots of processed sugar.
  • Naturally sweetened. We’re using either honey or pure maple syrup to naturally sweeten the bread, which offer some trace nutrients that white sugar does not.
  • No oil or butter. Lastly, this recipe doesn’t call for any oil or butter. The added mashed banana not only naturally sweetens the bread, but it also makes the bread super moist.

As you can see, my homemade rhubarb bread has plenty of redeeming qualities, chief being that it won’t send your blood sugar levels for a loop. You can keep them all to yourself, though. No one will be able to tell that this is a healthy quick bread!

rhubarb bread batter in a loaf pan before baking

Baker’s Tips

This easy rhubarb bread recipe is very simple to make, but here are some tips to make sure it’s incredible every time!

  • Extra ripe bananas. For perfectly sweet banana bread, use bananas that are VERY ripe. The more brown spots the better! However, if they have mold or a strange odor, those bananas are too ripe and unsafe to eat. If your bananas are nearing expiration, but you don’t have time to bake banana bread that day, peel and freeze the bananas. If your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough, you can ripen them quickly by wrapping them in foil and popping them in a 350°F oven for 10-15 mins!
  • Measuring flour. To ensure you have the right amount of flour, whisk the flour first, then spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the top (without shaking the measuring cup). If you have food scales, use those for even more precise measuring.
  • Do NOT over-mix batter. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together by gently folding them with a large spoon or spatula and mix just until moistened. Do not use a whisk. Over-mixing the batter can produce tough bread.
  • Do not over-bake the bread. Ovens can vary so be sure to check the bread after about 45 minutes. The bread is done baking when a skewer, butter knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.
  • Baking bread. After about 30 minutes of baking, I suggest lightly covering the bread with foil, to avoid the top from getting too brown.

Variations

While this rhubarb banana bread is delicious as-is, you can add other ingredients to switch up the flavor profile. Here’s some options:

  • Strawberry banana bread. Don’t have rhubarb? Use chopped strawberries instead!
  • Chocolate. Stir a handful of chocolate chips into the batter for a super indulgent treat.
  • Nuts. Try adding chopped nuts of your choice. Pecans, almonds, or walnuts would all be tasty additions.
  • Different flour. If you prefer spelt flour, white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour; those all work great as a substitute for the whole wheat flour.
  • Glaze. Make a glaze by mixing 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar with 1 to 2 teaspoons milk. Mix until smooth and drizzle over the cooled bread.
  • Muffins. Turn this quick bread recipe into a muffin recipe. This will most likely make 12 muffins. Shorten the cook time down to 20-25 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is rhubarb in season?

This particular recipe was really fun to make with my daughter because we were both new to rhubarb. I did some research and learned that rhubarb has a very short season (April through June), so grab it up while you can. It looks like bright pink celery and has a zesty flavor that is perfect for balancing out the sweetness in pies and other desserts. It freezes well and can be saved to enjoy later in the year.

Fun fact: Rhubarb is a vegetable, not a fruit.

Do you have to peel rhubarb?

Rhubarb may look stringy in its raw state but it tenderizes as it cooks. There’s no need to peel the stalks of rhubarb, but do remove the leaves and discard them. Much like celery, you’ll also want to trim the ends. If you see any areas that are bruised or slimey, cut those away too.

How can you tell if rhubarb is ripe?

The color is not an indication of ripeness. Some varieties tend to be more green, others more red. Rhubarb is ready to harvest when the leaves are completely unfurled and the stalks are anywhere between 7 to 15 inches long. They will vary in thickness.

Best way to mash bananas?

Use a fork to mash your bananas or, to get the bananas mashed really well (so you don’t end up with big chunks in your bread), try mashing them with a blender or an electric (hand or stand) mixer. Not only do they get completely mashed up, it’s quick and easy.

Storage Tips

This recipe makes twelve slices and only lasted a day and a half in my household. My whole family was pretty fond of the zesty, comforting flavors. My husband and I especially appreciated that it didn’t send us into a sugar coma and paired really well with scrambled eggs for a complete breakfast meal. If you need to store your bread for any length of time, follow the tips below.

  • Cover loosely with a tea towel and store at room temperature for 24 hours.
  • Like most homemade baked goods, you’ll get the longest shelf life by storing this bread in the fridge. Place the bread into an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap. It should keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can eat the bread straight from the fridge, lightly toast in the toaster oven or warm up for about 25 seconds in the microwave.
  • To freeze, wrap in aluminum foil, then plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost on counter overnight, remove the plastic wrap, then gently reheat in a 350º oven for 10-15 minutes.
baked rhubarb bread in a loaf pan

If you try this delicious bread recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re baking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

rhubarb bread sliced with a bread knife
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Healthy Rhubarb Banana Bread

This rhubarb bread recipe is made healthier using whole wheat flour, no refined sugar, no butter or oil, but it's so soft and tender that you’d never be able to tell! So delicious, you're going to want to make Healthy Rhubarb Banana Bread all season long!

Ingredients

  • cups whole wheat flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large bananas, mashed**
  • cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup finely chopped rhubarb, (about 1 large stalk)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. and prepare an 8×4" loaf pan*** with cooking spray or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and all spice; set aside.
  • ***Use a stand or hand-held mixer to beat eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Mix in vanilla, banana and honey until combined.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture in with the wet ingredients and stir on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in rhubarb. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and remove from pan. Slice and enjoy!

Notes

*Spelt flour and whole wheat pastry flour also work. You can also use a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose.
**You will want to make sure your 3 large bananas, mashed, measures over 1 cup. 1 1/2 cups would be great, this way the bread won’t be too dry.
***An 8×4-inch loaf pan is slightly smaller than the typical 9×5-inch loaf pan.
****Alternatively, you can beat and mix by hand. However, I find it easier to use my stand mixer.
*****Alternatively, this recipe could be used to make muffins. I’m not sure how many it would make and cook time should be shortened to about 20-25 minutes.
Serving: 1slice, Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 22.3g, Protein: 3.3g, Fat: 1.2g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 192.7mg, Fiber: 2.3g, Sugar: 9.5g

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