Healthy Fig Bread
Published Sep 24, 2021, Updated Jun 27, 2023
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Made with mashed figs and bananas, honey, Greek yogurt and whole wheat pastry flour this healthy fig bread is perfectly moist, naturally sweetened, oil-free and such a great recipe to make during fig season!
I’m so excited about this recipe. I love making and eating quick breads and this recipe is no exception. As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, we have a fig tree in our backyard and Olivia and I have make a daily habit of picking figs!
We honestly just eat figs fresh most days but I’ve been inspired to test out some new fig recipes for you. I shared a fig salad recipe earlier this week and I’m working on a fig jam and fig pizza recipe, so stay tuned! Today, I’m sharing a healthy fig bread that is slightly sweet and packed with flavor thanks to fresh figs.
Fresh Figs 101
Depending on where you live and when you’re shopping for figs, you’ll find different types of figs in the grocery store. I typically see Black Mission or Brown Turkey figs in my local stores. My fig tree is a Brown Turkey tree so that’s what I’m using in this recipe.
One thing to note when shopping for (or picking!) figs is that they don’t ripen after you pick them from the tree so they won’t ripen once you bring them home from the store. Look for figs that give slightly when you press the skin, have smooth, solid skin and aren’t mushy, bruised, cracked or wrinkled. One way to check if the fig is mushy? Check the stem! If it’s loose, that means you’ve got a mushy fig on your hands. The stems should be firmly attached!
Fresh figs are packed with nutrients while not having a lot of calories which make them a nutrient-dense food. They’re low in natural sugar while dried figs have much more sugar. Figs are great for digestive health (they keep you regular!), heart health and even help manage blood sugar. (Source)
Ingredients and Substitutions
- banana – in place of oil, I’m using mashed bananas to add moisture to this quick bread loaf. Make sure your bananas are ripe with brown spots on them! If you’re not a fan of bananas, applesauce would probably be a good substitute!
- figs – the star of the show. You can peel the skins if you don’t want the purple skin to color the bread – I left mine on but either works! Remove the stems and mash the fresh figs to mix into the dough. Save some pieces for additional topping once the dough is in the pan.
- eggs – helps bind the wet and dry ingredients together. I haven’t tried using a flaxseed egg but that should work as a replacement.
- Greek yogurt – a little trick in bread baking world, plain Greek yogurt helps bread rise! The end result is a perfectly fluffy, light loaf. If you need this recipe to be dairy-free I bet using a dairy-free yogurt would work just fine.
- whole wheat pastry flour – whole wheat pastry flour works better than regular whole wheat flour if you’re looking for the light and fluffy bread that regular all-purpose flour provides, but still want the nutrients of whole wheat flour. My go-to brand is Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour. If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour you can also use white whole wheat flour, a blend of all-purpose and regular whole wheat flour or just regular all-purpose flour.
- cinnamon – this spice pairs perfectly with the rest of the flavors in the bread. Bonus points for being anti-inflammatory!
- baking soda – helps the bread rise.
- sea salt – to bring all of the flavors together.
- honey – the perfect natural sweetener to pair with figs in my opinion! The end result of this bread is a perfectly sweetened quick bread. I haven’t another liquid sweetener in place of the honey, but I bet you could use maple syrup or agave if preferred.
- coconut sugar – the less-processed upgrade for granulated sugar or brown sugar. If you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, brown sugar will work as well.
- vanilla extract – a flavor enhancer.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour vs Whole Wheat Flour
You’ll often see whole wheat pastry flour used here on EBF when I’m making lightened-up baked goods! The reason I like using whole wheat pastry flour is that it is a whole grain flour, which means more fiber + nutrients than regular all-purpose flour. And it’s more finely ground than regular whole wheat flour so it produces lighter, softer baked items like cookies, pie crusts and quick bread. It also has less gluten than regular whole wheat flour.
I didn’t add any extra mix-ins to this recipe because I love it as is, but if you want to take this bread to the next level, feel free! Here are some ideas:
- chocolate chips – an obvious first choice! I recommend adding Lily’s chocolate chips to keep the sugar and carbs down while still adding decadent chocolate flavor.
- chopped nuts – if you like nuts in your quick breads, add a handful to this batter! I recommend walnuts or pecans, but any nut will do.
Can I Use Dried Figs?
While fresh figs are definitely best for this recipe, you can use dried figs if that is all you have on hand. Rehydrate the figs by letting them soak in water until they are plump and soft. It’s important to note that dried figs are sweeter than fresh figs so the sugar content of your bread will be higher if you used dried figs.
tip! Rehydrate dried figs by letting them soak in water until they are plump and soft. Mash and use in the recipe as directed!
How to Make Quick Bread with Figs
If you’re intimidated by baking your own bread, don’t be. Not all bread is super complicated or will take you all day to make (sourdough… looking at you). You don’t need to mess with yeast – just mix and bake!
Start by mashing the banana and figs with a fork. Combine the two in a mixing bowl. Mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined – it’s important that you don’t over-mix or your bread will be super dense after baking!
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease with oil and pour the batter into the pan. Top with additional figs and press them into the dough a little. Cover the loaf with foil and bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Last but not least, make sure you let the loaf cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before trying to remove it from the pan. If you attempt this too early, your bread might fall apart. Once you carefully remove it from the pan, allow the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
How to Serve Fig Bread
I could honestly eat this bread any time of day! Here are some ideas I’m dreaming of:
- Enjoy as delicious breakfast with some nut butter, fresh figs and honey drizzled on top. Paired with a warm cup of coffee (like my pumpkin spice latte) and you’ve got the perfect morning.
- Top with butter and fig jam for a savory-sweet treat.
- Toast a piece of bread and top with ricotta and a drizzle of honey. Dairy-free ricotta would work too! Kite Hill’s almond milk ricotta is so good!
- Served for brunch alongside my spinach quiche, fruit salad and apple cider mimosas.
How to Store Leftovers
After allowing the bread to cool completely, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days at room temperature. For longer storage, you can store in the fridge for 5-7 days or freezer for up to 3 months.
More Quick Breads to Try
- Vegan Banana Bread
- Apple Bread
- Pumpkin Bread
- Cranberry Banana Bread
- Zucchini Banana Bread
- Coconut Flour Banana Bread
- Vegan Zucchini Bread
- Tahini Banana Bread
- Healthy Banana Bread
- Healthy Gingerbread Loaf
- Strawberry Banana Bread
- Healthy Lemon Loaf (Starbucks Copycat)
Check out all the quick bread recipes on EBF!
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Use a fork to mash bananas and figs. Combine the two in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in eggs, yogurt, honey, coconut sugar and vanilla.
- In another bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
- Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter into a parchment lined 8.5 inch loaf pan. Add a few thin slices of figs on top of the batter to create a pretty topping for the loaf.
- Bake loaf for about 55-65 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of the bread. I recommend covering the loaf with foil around the 45 minute mark to make sure the bread doesn’t get too brown on top. Also note that baking times may vary, so keep an eye on the bread.
- Allow loaf to cool for 15 minutes in the loaf pan before removing. Allow loaf to cool completely on a wire rack (about 15 additional minutes) before serving.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container for 3-5 days at room temperature. For longer storage, you can store in the fridge for 5-7 days or freezer for up to 3 months.
- Applesauce: If you’re not a fan of bananas, applesauce would probably be a good substitute.
- Eggs: I haven’t tried using a flaxseed egg but that should work as a replacement.
- Greek yogurt: If you need this recipe to be dairy-free I bet using a dairy-free yogurt would work just fine.
- Whole wheat pastry flour: If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour you can also use white whole wheat flour, a blend of all-purpose and regular whole wheat flour or just regular all-purpose flour.
- Honey: I haven’t another liquid sweetener in place of the honey, but I bet you could use maple syrup or agave if preferred.
- Coconut sugar: If you don’t have coconut sugar on hand, brown sugar will work as well.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.