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Fertility Loving Lemon Sesame Banana Bread

Fertility Loving Lemon Sesame Banana Bread - The Sabi

Sesame seeds are a rich source of calcium and zinc, which help boost progesterone production both of which are essential for conception and egg implantation. They also contain lignans that help block excess oestrogen while progesterone rises. Though, it can be difficult to consume sesame seeds in quantity and with flavours that don’t include tahini dressing or hummus. This banana bread changes all that. 

Heidi Swanson is one of my favourite cooks and her delightful lemon and sesame-rich twist on classic banana bread is both hearty and gently sweet. My variation is dairy-free, swapping applesauce for yoghurt, and offers a gluten-free flour alternative. I make it with spelt flour sometimes; the texture is best this way, so try it if you have no gluten issues. In place of the eggs, you can make 3 flax “eggs” using 3 Tbsp of flax seeds soaked in 3 Tbsp water for at least 10 min). 


Prep Time: 1 hour with 40 mins baking, 15 mins active prep, and 15 mins cooling
Serves: Makes 12 hearty slices, halve the recipe easily for normal loaf tins

2 cups or 240g spelt flour

For gluten-free: 2 cups GF flour or, 1 cup rolled oats, 2/3 cup buckwheat flour and ⅓ cup rice, sorghum, teff or oat flour - I make oat flour by blending and sifting whole oats
3/4 cup or 125 g applesauce 
12 dates soaked in hot water for at least one hour
3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine-grained sea salt

1 cup or 125g black and white sesame seeds, gently toasted and mixed
1/3 cup  80ml extra-virgin olive oil

2 large eggs, lightly beaten (3 eggs if they are small)
3.1/2 very ripe bananas, 4 if small (for garnish* read below before mashing bananas) 
Grated zest of one whole lemon, only yellow (avoid the bitter white pith)
Juice of ½ the lemon squeezed into the wet ingredients
¼ tsp vanilla essence or extract

Soak the dates in hot water. Preheat the oven to 175-180°C and place a rack in the centre. Line a 23x13 cm loaf pan or equivalent with waxed baking paper.

Slice one banana the long way from the middle to get 2 long thin pieces of banana to lay on top of the bread, seed side up, as a garnish for later. Mash the remaining banana for the batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, lemon zest, 1/2 cup (half) of the mixed, toasted sesame seeds, and salt. Combine well. Drain the dates and if you don't have a powerful blender, chop roughly before mixing in the next step. 

Either by hand or in the blender, mix together the softened dates, other half of the sesame seeds, olive oil, mashed banana, applesauce, lemon juice, vanilla essence and zest. If using a blender, pulse, don’t puree it. When combined, beat in the eggs last so they are just mixed. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and mix in with a spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix as it toughens your final product. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. You want to achieve beautiful colour on the cake, but you don't want to bake all the moisture out of it. So the minute you're in that zone, pull it, erring on the side of under-baking versus over. When it starts to crack and no longer jiggles in the pan, it’s fully baked. For cakey bread, don’t let it bake any further than that.  

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely. 

Bon appétit!


Hilary is the Co-Founder of the SABI, a Holistic Nutritionist, natural, whole foods Chef, product developer and advocate for women getting to know their bodies, cycles and selves better. Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Baja California, Mexico, she now lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands with her partner and her dog, Flint. 

Original recipe by Heidi Swanson, 101 Cookbooks Blog: 

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Use code WELCOME15 for 15% off first purchase

Use code WELCOME15 for 15% off first purchase