Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and hazelnuts if using.
Add the batter into the pan, making sure it is even. Bake for 50-60 minutes, covering with aluminum foil halfway through if bread is browning too quickly. At 50 minutes, start checking to see if bread is done every 5 minutes by inserting a toothpick or cake tester in the center where it comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 30 minutes before removing and placing on wire rack.
Use baking soda that is less than six months old since it has been opened. If you use older baking soda, it won’t be powerful enough to help leaven the bread. You can test it by stirring half a teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of hot water. It will immediately start to fizz and release carbon dioxide gas if it’s still fresh enough to use.
If you want a slightly sweeter bread, increase the maple syrup to ½ cup.
If using nuts, don't skip out on roasting them. By roasting the nuts, they will stay crispy in the batter and bring out the flavor.
If you want to freeze the banana bread, wrap the loaf in 2-3 layers of plastic wrap or aluminum foil and then place in a freezer-friendly storage bag. Freeze up to 3 months and then thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
This healthy banana bread recipe can also be used to make muffins. Preheat the oven to 350°F, fill the muffin tins until about ⅔ of the way full and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You could also try these vegan banana chocolate chip muffins.