Vanilla, Lemon & Mint Breakfast Loaf (Gluten-free, Oil-free, Refined Sugar-free)

This is the perfect healthy, hearty and delicious breakfast to start your day. I am in love with this loaf. I combined several of my favorite flavors….vanilla, lemon, mint and a hint of cinnamon. Not one flavor overpowers the other….just touches of each compliment each other. It is mildly sweet, making it the perfect breakfast with wholesome ingredients. But the real beauty of this loaf is almonds.


It is not your typical doughy white loaf. It is pronounced in texture and simply amazing in flavor. It is SO filling, that one slice makes your tummy happy. I made it gluten-free as well. I’m in love with gluten-free baking and it doesn’t bloat me up either. I’m trying to consume less wheat and this loaf is way more filling than a typical slice of bread….and tastes way better too!

I don’t use commercially bought gluten-free blends because they have so many different flours in them, as well as gums, which I try to avoid. I grind my own almonds and oats to create “flours”. It’s also incredibly less expensive to make your own and it only takes a minute. The loaf baked and rose just as regular flour, but with a flatter top, so no worrying about the top cracking. It turned out wonderfully moist and full of awesome texture, due to the almonds.

I grind up whole almonds and use applesauce instead of oil or butter and that takes care of the “fat” needed to give them their taste, as well as moisture. Typically, I’m not a fan of applesauce in baked goods when used with regular flours, but since the almonds contain the majority of the fat and moisture, the applesauce works brilliantly in this. It is a thick, filling, moist loaf….similar to banana bread.

Recipe: Makes 8-10 slices  Prep time: 15 mins  Bake time: 40 mins


Dry ingredients:

1 1/4 heaping cups raw whole almonds (ground into 1 1/2 cups flour)

1 cup gluten free oats (ground into 3/4 cup flour)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca starch

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup packed mint leaves, finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon, plus extra for garnish

Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Note: This loaf has an amazing pronounced texture from the ground almonds and oats. That’s the beauty of this loaf. The almond flour in the stores is blanched almonds without the skins and is a finer flour, but I wanted a strong texture. The loaf may have tiny pieces of almond in it, depending on how finely ground you pulse it. You can try the store kind, if you prefer, but I have not and don’t know if it would be an equal ratio of 1 1/2 cups flour. Make sure to measure all ingredients accurately and leveling off with a knife.


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 5 x 9 glass pyrex loaf dish. I sprayed my dish with the baking flour nonstick spray by Pillsbury. The loaf releases perfectly this way!

In a food processor, add the almonds and pulse until a fine flour forms, as I’ve done here. This should only take a minute or two. It will start to break up in clumps, scrape the sides and bottom a bit and pulse again briefly. You will not be able to get it as fine as commercial almond flour, but that’s not the point, we want the texture. Don’t pulse after you’ve reached the desired flour because you don’t want almond butter! Measure 1 1/2 cups almond flour, it should be right on point by using 1 1/4 cups whole almonds, but measure to be sure and store any extra in the fridge. Next, pulse the oats into as fine a flour as you can get it. Again, the oat flour in the stores is much finer and the ratios would be different, so grind your own for this recipe. This will take less than a minute. Make sure to measure 3/4 cup oat flour afterwards and store any extra in the fridge.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients except for the lemon zest. Whisk well. In a small bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients and stir with a spoon. Now pour the wet into the dry and stir well. Pour the batter into the greased/floured glass dish. Zest 1 lemon and sprinkle over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until very golden brown and a toothpick comes out with a few dry crumbs (not wet batter) on it. It will have a crispy exterior but will soften up overnight. Let cool at least an hour before removing from the dish and cool completely before slicing, or it could fall apart. Garnish with additional lemon zest. Keep stored in the fridge and it becomes amazingly moist the next day!

Nutrition: 207.2 calories/ 8.3g fat/ 30.6 carbs/ 4.6g protein (Based on 9 slices, per slice)

Garnished with lemon zest over the gorgeous golden exterior makes it lovely to serve to guests as well.

Look at that amazing texture…..hard to believe there is no flour in this!

It’s a perfectly hearty breakfast because it’s incredibly thick, dense and filling…yet the lemon and mint make it feel refreshing and light.



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Categories: Breakfast, Gluten Free, Snacks, Sweet Treats, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN


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43 Comments on “Vanilla, Lemon & Mint Breakfast Loaf (Gluten-free, Oil-free, Refined Sugar-free)”

  1. March 18, 2013 at 6:36 PM #

    Brandi, this looks fantastic!!! I love the hearty, grainy look of this loaf–those slices look nice and hefty! It’s not often that I’m satisfied with just one slice of quick bread, but I think you have me convinced that this loaf would be totally satisfying. I feel like this belongs in Starbucks or something–it’s so photogenic! I love the flat top 🙂

    • March 18, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

      Thank you so much Erika!! Such a sweet compliment. Yes, I loved that it didn’t bake with that usual busted dome top! It bakes flat on the top and bottom of course, so once you flip it over, it sets perfectly on the plate since the top is flat. It is very thick and filling because of all the almonds and oats and the protein and fat coming from them…so healthy. I ate 1 1/2 slices yesterday for breakfast and was surprised how filling 🙂

  2. March 18, 2013 at 7:25 PM #

    I am absolutely going to try this. I should be eating gluten free but have been scared off by all the different ingredients needed but this looks simple and delicious! Quick question – what exactly is tapioca starch and is there something that can replace it in case I can’t find it?

    • March 18, 2013 at 8:19 PM #

      Thank you so much Cindy! Yes, I don’t like that most blends contain 5 or so different flours and gums. Plus, almonds and oats are incredibly good for you and taste AMAZING. Tapioca starch is a fine white starch that comes from the cassava plant and serves 2 purposes in the recipe by first acting as a dry “egg” so I wouldn’t suggest subbing or it won’t hold together well. It becomes gelatinous and binding when baked but ALSO helps to fluff up the bread since the almonds would otherwise make it too wet and it doesn’t affect the taste. After several trials, it is what really helped. I find it with all the other specialty flours at my local grocery store. Let me know if you can’t find it. You could possibly try 3 or so tablespoons of ground flax, but it isn’t a starch and it may affect the rise and taste. I’ll try making it again with it and see.

  3. March 18, 2013 at 8:33 PM #

    I like that you use whole almonds. I am not a fan of blanched – I like the skins 😀 I’ll have to try this in a few months when my mint plants are at full production!

    • March 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM #

      I agree…they provide more flavor, moisture and definitely texture!

  4. March 18, 2013 at 9:23 PM #

    Beautiful! I’m not sure if my food processor could handle whole almonds but I’d love to make this. I’m totally inspired!

    • March 18, 2013 at 11:23 PM #

      Thank you Holly! I don’t have a fancy processor at all and it processes the almonds in less than 2 minutes. You aren’t going for an ultra fine flour…just as fine as you can get it. I hope you enjoy it if you make it…let me know 🙂

  5. petit4chocolatier
    March 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

    Brandi, I love everything about this loaf. So refreshing and definitely moist with the applesauce too. I can imagine how wonderful your kitchen smelled 🙂

  6. March 18, 2013 at 9:47 PM #

    The texture is amazing and it looks so moist, you never cease to amaze me. This loaf is wonderful I can’t believe it’s fat free, gluten free. Wow, you totally rock!

    • March 18, 2013 at 11:27 PM #

      Thank you so much Suzanne! Yes, all the fat comes from the almonds, so it’s a completely healthy fat. The texture really is what makes this loaf one of the best I’ve had. It’s on the tender side….but that’s ok because it’s insanely delish. I may try adding just 1 more tbsp of tapioca starch next time to see if it makes it just a bit firmer.

      • March 18, 2013 at 11:59 PM #

        I am going to make this, hope I have tapioca starch have to check the pantry, Will try it with your recommendation of 3 tbs tapioca starch, Will report back.

    • March 19, 2013 at 2:39 AM #

      Oh Suzanne! I just made another loaf with 3 tablespoons of tapioca, instead of just 2 and it turned out even more perfect! My hunch of adding the 1 more made it more firm, yet still springy and tender. Tapioca starch has an incredible ability to act as eggs, but the amount has to be just right…too much and it becomes too gelatinous. It even held together when I just cut a slice while still mildy warm. I am putting it in the fridge to sit overnight and it will become even more moist and firm. So, I changed the recipe to the 3 tbsp. 🙂

    • March 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM #

      I changed it to 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca starch. It was still delicious with the 3 tablespoons, but was just slightly less tender and moist (today) for my liking, which is one of the best things about the loaf. So I guess it would boil down to preference. Either way, it’s delicious but I think 2 1/2 (right in the middle) would be better. It actually reminded me of Starbucks pumpkin loaf because its dense and slightly chewy. Yum 🙂

  7. March 18, 2013 at 10:05 PM #

    This look gorgeous Brandi. Love the idea of keeping a few slices in the freezer to whip out for a quick breakfast – I’m presuming it would freeze well? I’ll pass this onto my coeliac brother-in-law who is always looking for good bread recipes.
    PS. We’re still enjoying your coconut berry smoothie!

    • March 18, 2013 at 11:34 PM #

      Thank you so much Saskia! We loved and devoured it! Absolutely, you can freeze it and let it thaw or slightly toast it. It keeps best, firm and moist in the fridge. It’s my favorite ever. I hope you or your brother-n-law enjoy it. I’m so glad you all are enjoying the smoothies! 🙂

  8. March 19, 2013 at 9:53 AM #

    oh my…Brandi. This is such a great creation! This loaf would have cost a lot if it can ever be found in any bakery which is not going to taste as good. I can already taste it just by going through the ingredients. And I love your presentation. It looks simple but with lots of secrets within blended to perfection. You have a way with almonds and I love the mint and applesauce. Beautiful work my friend!

    • March 19, 2013 at 6:44 PM #

      Thank you so much Danny! Your compliments always make me smile! It means alot coming from a talented baker as yourself 🙂 I really enjoy this loaf so much, the flavors all play off each other so well, without one overpowering the other.

  9. March 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM #

    i am totally loving this recipe! i’ve been baking with a combination of almond flour and oat flour and absolutely loving the results! what a beautiful little cake 🙂

    • March 19, 2013 at 9:03 PM #

      Thank you so much and thank you for visiting my blog! I love the combo too…no need for weird flours 🙂

  10. March 19, 2013 at 2:13 PM #

    Your pictures are so good! I’m envious of them…and the bread!

    • March 19, 2013 at 6:45 PM #

      Thank you so much Lisa, you’re so sweet! I really enjoy taking the photos!

  11. March 19, 2013 at 9:42 PM #

    What an incredible flavor combination! I love minted lemonade, so brilliant that you turned this into such a beautiful loaf! xx

  12. March 20, 2013 at 12:53 AM #

    what a great idea to grind up almonds to make your own ‘flour’..this flavour combination is not one i would think of but sounds amazing!!

    • March 20, 2013 at 4:30 AM #

      Thank you. I love all of these flavors and my hubby really loves lemon and vanilla so that’s how I came up with the idea…we both fell in love with it!

  13. March 20, 2013 at 3:07 AM #

    What a funky flavour combination, Brandi. I would’ve never thought of combining mint with lemon but as I just typed that out, I realized that some of my favourite alcoholic drinks include that combo 😉 So it’s definitely a winner! Your photos are so gorgeous. I want to reach into my computer screen for a giant slice of cake.

    • March 20, 2013 at 4:32 AM #

      Thank you so much! You are so funny Nancy! Sounds unusual, but they really work…the mint is very subtle amd you taste it just enough, but nowhere near too strong. I’m making my 3rd loaf tomorrow, haha…like I said, I’m in love with it.

  14. March 20, 2013 at 2:40 PM #

    I absolutely love this Gf & vegan cake! I also am a big fan of Gf oats! But I never used them in a cake before: that’s a great & tasty idea, I tell you! xxx

    The presentation is awesome! xxx

  15. March 21, 2013 at 4:40 PM #

    I am in love with not only the presentation of this, but the descriptions!! It sounds amazing! I’ve only dabbled with a little bit of GF baking, but this loaf looks like it turned out amazingly! These flavors are perfect for spring!

    • March 25, 2013 at 5:16 AM #

      Thank you so much Brittany! I really am enjoying gluten free baking…it is making me such a well rounded baker. I’m quite comfortable with baking many types of recipes now….such a joy. The flavors are amazing together 🙂

  16. March 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM #

    Looks and imaginatively tastes delicious! Wow, so creative Brandi!!!
    All the best.

  17. March 21, 2013 at 11:46 PM #

    What a fantastic recipe! Great job!

    • March 25, 2013 at 5:18 AM #

      Thank you Tonette! We really enjoyed it. I’ve made 3 loaves already 🙂

  18. April 5, 2013 at 12:07 PM #

    This sounds amazing! I’m doing the whole 30 at the moment, will have to bookmark this for another time! I would love a slice of this for breakfast!

  19. April 6, 2013 at 1:10 AM #

    Looks delicious!! This is the perfect pastry for the mornings – not overloaded with sugar like all the other pastries that are out there for breakfast! Your recipes and photos need to be in a cookbook, like now. 😉

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