Fresh fig and walnut bread is moist, tender, and naturally sweet, but with less added sugar, thanks to the figs. Plus, this recipe is made using fresh figs, which are an excellent source of fiber, copper, magnesium, vitamin B6, and polyphenol antioxidants.
Fig and walnut bread makes a perfect breakfast, snack, or healthy dessert. So why not enjoy a slice of fig and walnut bread along with your morning cup of coffee? Or as a pick-me-up when snack cravings strike in the late afternoon?
The beginning of September usually marks the transition from summer to fall. It is the time of year when we think about back-to-school, apple picking season, and pumpkin spice lattes. But this time of year is also the season for fresh figs in the US.
Did you know that there are actually two seasons for fresh figs? The first season occurs during the start of June, and the second runs from August to October.
In honor of fig season, I am whipping up some fresh fig and walnut bread.
What is Fresh Fig Walnut Bread?
This fig and walnut bread is reminiscent of banana bread, sans the bananas. It is moist, tender, and naturally sweet, thanks to the figs. However, it is not too sweet, making this recipe great for a quick breakfast, a delicious afternoon snack, or a healthy dessert.
Why should you try fresh fig recipes?
Fresh figs, like those found in fig and walnut bread, make an excellent addition to baked goods because they are a source of natural fruit sugars. This means that figs add sweetness to a recipe while still offering all the health benefits of eating fruits.
Plus, fresh figs are highly nutritious. One serving of fresh figs is relatively low in calories, while still being an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients- compounds found in plants that may offer health benefits.
One small (40-gram) fresh fig contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 30
- Carbs: 8 grams of carbohydrates
- Fiber: 1 gram of fiber
- Copper: 3% of the daily value (DV)
- Magnesium: 2% of the DV
- Potassium: 2% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 2% of the DV
- Thiamine: 2% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 3% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 2% of the DV
Figs are also a source of antioxidants, including vitamin A, vitamin E, and polyphenols, which may help lower inflammation by protecting the body against damaging free radicals. In particular, figs are a source of polyphenols known as flavonoids and anthocyanins. These types of antioxidants are also found in tea and red wine.
Potential Health Benefits of Figs
Several studies have found an association between the consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods and a lower risk of heart disease.
For example, the Iowa Women’s Health Study, which consisted of 34,489 postmenopausal women who were followed for 16 years, found that consuming anthocyanin-rich strawberries and blueberries once per week was linked with a significant reduction in death due to heart disease (1).
A different, large study that consisted of 93,600 healthy women followed for 18 years noted that high intakes of anthocyanins were associated with a significant reduction in heart attack risk compared to lower intakes of anthocyanins (2).
Figs are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, which may be good for gut health. In particular, figs contain a soluble fiber known as pectin, which acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics help feed the “good” bacteria in the digestive system.
Additionally, the fiber in figs may help improve digestive health by adding bulk and softening stools. A study of 150 participants with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation found that those who consumed roughly four dried figs twice daily had a reduction in symptoms, including pain, bloating, and constipation when compared to the control group (3).
Therefore, figs are both sweet and good for you! So why not try some healthy fig and walnut bread.
What do you need to make fig and walnut bread?
You will need the following ingredients to make this fig and walnut bread:
- Canola oil: I used canola oil for this recipe to produce a baked good that is lighter and lower in saturated fat. Canola oil also contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, known as alpha-linolenic acids (ALA). You can also substitute avocado oil, coconut oil, or sunflower oil in place of the canola oil. If you use coconut oil, it will impart a different flavor to the bread.
- 2 large eggs
- Unsweetened apple sauce: Be sure to look for apple sauce with no added sugar when you are in the grocery store. Don’t have apple sauce on hand? You can use 1 cup of ripe, mashed bananas (about 2-3 bananas) in place of the apple sauce to make this a fig, walnut, and banana bread.
- Unsweetened almond milk: You can also use low-fat milk or the milk substitute of your choice. I used almond milk as it has a delicate flavor that doesn’t overpower the figs or walnuts.
- Vanilla extract
- Whole wheat flour: Whole wheat flour has more fiber and nutrients compared to processed, white flours.
- Baking soda
- Chopped walnuts
- Fresh figs: There are several different varieties of figs that you could use for this recipe. Some fig varieties you may encounter are Adriatic figs, black mission figs, and brown turkey figs.
I used black mission figs for this bread as they were readily available at the farmers market near me. Black mission figs are always an excellent choice for fresh fig recipes since they are usually very sweet.
Don’t forget to reserve 2-3 figs to slice and place on top of the loaf before baking.
How to Make Fig and Walnut Bread
First, start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F. Then, grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray or line the pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the canola oil and honey. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the apple sauce, almond milk, and vanilla extract and set aside.
In a separate, large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Gently pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is just combined, being careful not to over stir. Fold in the chopped figs and walnuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and place the reserved fig slices on top, gently pushing down each piece with your finger.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for at least 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the loaf to a wire rack to finish cooling.
There you have it! Fresh fig and walnut bread. I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What other fig recipes do you love? And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest @biteoutoflife_nutrition.
Fig and Walnut Bread
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups of fresh figs*, chopped, with stems removed
- 1 cup of walnuts, chopped
- 2-3 fresh figs*, sliced, for topping
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan or line the pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the canola oil and honey. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the apple sauce, almond milk, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Gently pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped figs and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and gently place the fig slices on top and press down slightly with your finger.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for at least 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the loaf to a wire rack to finish cooling before slicing.
Sat. Fat (grams)1.65
Did you make this recipe?
- Mink PJ, Scrafford CG, Barraj LM, et al. Flavonoid intake and cardiovascular disease mortality: a prospective study in postmenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;85(3):895-909.
- Jennings A, Welch AA, Fairweather-Tait SJ, et al. Higher anthocyanin intake is associated with lower arterial stiffness and central blood pressure in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(4):781-788.
- Pourmasoumi M, Ghiasvand R, Darvishi L, Hadi A, Bahreini N, Keshavarzpour Z. Comparison and Assessment of Flixweed and Fig Effects on Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Predominant Constipation: A Single-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. Explore (NY). 2019;15(3):198-205. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2018.09.003