Plant Based Challenge with Little Bird

Jordan Rondel chef plant based challenge

To coincide with the release of Megan May from Little Bird's new plant-based cookbook, Little Bird Goodness, Megan decided to challenge "four of the most influential chefs and cooks in NZ" to create a plant-based dish: Michael Meredith, Simon Wright and Nadia Lim ... and me!

The idea was inspired by Megan's wish to showcase just how easy and delicious plant-based cuisine can be, and how beneficial incorporating more plants into our diet can be for our health, and the planet.

You can find my recipe for this delicious 100% plant based Spiced Banana and Date loaf below.

Spiced Banana and Date Loaf with Coconut Yoghurt, Honey Orange Marmalade and Almond Butter

For the Loaf

Wet Mixture

3 large ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup dates, softened in hot water for 10 minutes
¾ cup almond milk
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp light olive oil
1 tsp of salt

Dry Mixture

1 cup ground almonds
½ cup quinoa flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

For the marmalade

4 oranges, washed thoroughly
½ cup high quality honey 

To serve

Coconut yoghurt
Nut butter (almond, macadamia, hazelnut)
Toasted walnuts


To make the loaf preheat oven to 180⁰C and line a loaf tin (approx 22cm x 10cm) with baking paper. whisk together all the dry mixture ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Blend together the wet mixture ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add this wet mixture to the dry mixture and use a spatula to mix until evenly incorporated. Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf tin.

Bake it for about 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

To make the marmalade, using a citrus zester remove the zest from 2 of the oranges (about 1/2 of a cup). Try to get little to none of the white pith.

With a sharp knife, cut as much of the white pith off as possible as discard.

With the remaining 2 oranges, cut as much of the peel and pith off as possible and discard.

Cut the oranges in half and discard seeds.

Place the 8 orange halves into your food processor and process until smooth. You should have about 2.5 cups of super pulpy orange juice.

Pour the orange pulp into a medium-sized saucepan, add the zest and the honey. Over high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 40 minutes. Using a candy thermometer, you can check the temperature - usually, a temperature of around 220ºF will mean that the marmalade is set.

To test the readiness and thickness of the marmalade take 1 tsp. of the marmalade placed on a plate and set the plate into the refrigerator, it is ready if it jells within 3 minutes. If the marmalade does not jell within that time, continue to boil until it does. Remove from the heat when it’s ready.

To serve cut two thick slices of the loaf and toast. Place them on a plate, and spread over marmalade, followed by a generous dollop of coconut yoghurt to one side. Drizzle over almond butter, and scatter over some toasted walnuts.