The sad simple truth is there are very few whole food sweeteners available to us, and while we obviously don’t eat sugar for its health benefits, I’ve long been on the hunt for a sweetener that is both a whole food and also contains some semblance of nutrition.
This date paste recipe is a winner. It would be plain wrong to call it “healthy” – in any definition of that word, but its nutrient density is significantly higher than any other sweetener you’ll find. The nutrient density of this date paste is even higher than blackstrap molasses, which has the obvious downside of its bitter taste.
It’s hard to be exact, but I would say this paste is roughly half as sweet as regular raw sugar – your mileage may vary though! It can be used anywhere you would use regular sugar, except in situations where you’re relying on the sugar to melt to a smooth texture – like a caramel sauce, for example.
Other than that, go wild! I love a bit of date paste stirred into my morning oats, and it’s great to add a hit of sweetness to smoothies or even soups and savoury sauces that need a bit of a lift. You could also use it in baking, but take into account the water content of this date paste – it could make things a bit dense if not accounted for!
An ounce (28g) of this date paste contains 66 calories and 18g of carbs, but it also contains tiny amounts of fibre (1.6g), vitamins, and minerals. A similar amount of sugar would contain 97 calories, 25g of carbohydrates – and nothing else, with the exception of trace amounts of some minerals.
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This recipe can be a challenge for some blenders. I personally used my Vitamix with a smaller (600ml) blending cup. If you’re not getting good results, consider adding more liquid until the blender can work it into a smooth paste. It can also be helpful to double the recipe, oddly enough.
And always check your dates for pips – even if you’ve bought pitted ones! Nothing gets your attention quite like the noise of a date pip hitting the blade of a blender!
This paste keeps well in the fridge for up to two weeks if stored in an airtight container – though it’s not likely to last that long!
- 2 cup medjool dates pitted
- Soak the dates in about four cups of hot boiled water for 15 minutes, then drain them – but keep the liquid!
- Add the dates to a high speed blender with half a cup of the liquid retained in the previous step. Blend until you have a creamy paste with a consistent texture.
- Add more liquid, two tablespoons at a time, if you would prefer a more runny paste.
- This date paste will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge, if stored in an airtight container.
- Try adding a bit more liquid if your blender is struggling.
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Gabrielle is an evidence-based vegan coach who believes that health transformation begins when you switch to a plant-based diet. Her mission is to help midlife women eat in alignment with who they are and what they value so that they can lead a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.
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