In case you haven't heard, date paste is all the rage right now. It is a healthy and delicious sugar substitute and an alternative to other sweeteners. So, what exactly is this mysterious concoction? Date paste is simply made from dates that have been blended into a thick, gooey paste. And while it may sound daunting to make your own, it's really quite simple! In today's blog post, I'll show you how to make date paste using just one ingredient!
This homemade date paste is a natural sweetener that is great to substitute for maple syrup, date syrup, coconut sugar, refined sugar, white sugar, table sugar, the natural organic sugar in your favorite recipes, tea, smoothies, baked goods, and even salad dressings.
This healthy substitute brings sweetness and all the fabulous health benefits of dates, especially in bone health.
Dates are a source of bone-strengthening minerals, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Dates are also an excellent vitamin K source, promoting strong and healthy bones.
If you are following a Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet (WFPB), the good news is that date paste is not only compliant, but it is one of the best natural sweeteners!
- Just dates
We will show you how to make date paste in a blender using perfectly soft pitted dates and also how to make date paste from dried dates.
Soak dates (only for dried dates)
Start soaking the dried dates in hot water in a medium-large bowl. Depending on how tough the whole dates are, you might have to soak them for more time.
Leave the dates in hot water overnight.
Note: If using Medjool dates, you can skip this step and reduce the amount of water to ⅓ cup water.
Remove the pits from the soaked dates with your hands if using dry, unpitted dates. If they are still hard, leave them in soaking water for more time. If they have absorbed it all, you may have to add more warm water.
Place dates (dates flesh) into the high-speed blender, immersion blender, food processor jar, and water.
Depending on how thick your date paste is, you can add more water to the food processor and blend until you reach the desired consistency.
🧐 What type of dates to use
Date paste recipes can vary slightly depending on the date variety you use. This factor will have a direct effect on the following:
- the time needed to make the homemade date paste
These are the sweetest dates and usually the most expensive.
This type of date is grown in Israel. They are distinct from other types of dates because they are larger and have softer flesh. They are also described as having a milder and more pleasurable flavor.
Out of all the dates in the world, Israel currently produces the most Medjool dates. In fact, Israel holds more than 60 percent of the global Medjool market share. Therefore, if you are looking for Medjool dates, your best bet is to look for those coming from Israel.
I usually keep these dates as a healthy dessert as they are quite expensive but satisfy my sweet tooth.
Cost: 5X compared to dried unpitted dates.
If you use pitted dates (not Meedjol), they will be a little more expensive than unpitted dates but less expensive than Medjool dates, and you will skip one step.
Cost: 2X compared to dried unpitted dates.
The cheapest option is just to plan for leaving the dates soaking for longer if you plant to make date paste with them, about 24 hours.
How do you soften hard dates?
You can soak them in hot water for 30 minutes if they are not extremely hard.
Tip: I recently left a forgotten pack of unpitted dates in the pantry, and when I found them, they were like rocks. I thought I needed to trash them but decided first to allow them to become date-paste.
It worked; I had to soak them for 3 days, but after the first day, I already had some date-soaking liquid I could scoop on, but it was still challenging to pit with my hands.
After the third day, the pits came out without an effort. I unpitted them and blended dates with just a little water in my blender, and voilá: perfectly creamy date paste.
🥢 How to use date paste
Embrace this natural sweetener throughout your day!
- Swap it for sugar in your coffee or tea.
- Incorporate it into your go-to smoothies.
- Layer it on toast, bagels, or crackers for a sweet spread.
- Stir it into your overnight oats or morning oatmeal.
- Craft a parfait by pairing it with yogurt, fruit, and homemade granola.
- Sweeten your salad dressings with a hint of date paste.
- Elevate the flavor of savory dishes, such as pasta sauces, stews, or chili.
You can use this date paste to sweeten recipes of all kinds naturally. You can even add it to your dairy-free milk, such as almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk, to enjoy during breakfast with your pumpkin granola, protein balls, to make vegan protein cookies, or cup of cappuccino.
As this great sugar substitute is made with whole ingredients, storing date paste in an airtight container in the fridge is better to extend its shelf-life. I like using a glass container to store this all-natural sweetener.
In my experience, it lasts up to 1 week.
If you go on vacation, freeze the date paste using an ice cube tray so it doesn't start to fermentate.
Frozen date paste can last up to a year.
You can then use the frozen date paste cubes in smoothies or briefly thaw them before using them as a natural sweetener in your recipes.
How do you substitute date paste for sugar in baking?
To substitute date paste for sugar, I use a 1:1 ratio for coconut sugar, brown sugar, regular sugar, and coconut sugar.
But heads up when you’re baking: this sweet swap brings a bit of extra moisture to the party, so your baked goods might just turn out to be the softest, most tender treats on the block.
Substituting date paste for agave or maple syrup
I prefer using a 2:1 date paste ratio when subbing for maple syrup or agave nectar. So, if a recipe calls for one cup of maple syrup, I’d use two cups of date paste.
In baking, the date paste will be slightly less sweet. I tested this method with my Carrot Cake, Apple Cake, and Banana Bread, removing 2 tablespoons from the wet ingredients, such as vegan buttermilk, or almond milk, to ensure the textures remain the same.
You can always add slightly more date paste for a sweeter flavor, keeping in mind that the date paste will create a maple syrup-like texture rather than a chewy texture in vegan baked goods.
It is natural to be scared of the “sugar” contained in dates, but research shows that this natural sweetener has a low glycemic index.
Studies that measured the rising glucose in the blood in healthy individuals it was concluded that the effect was not significant, thus making it an excellent option for people with diabetes. (source)
Make a small slit along the side with a sharp knife to remove pits from dates. Open it gently and pluck out the pit with your fingers or the knife tip. That’s it—your date is now pit-free and ready for use.
Date paste is made by blending soaked dates into a smooth consistency, while date syrup is created by boiling dates in water, straining out the solids, and reducing the liquid to a syrupy consistency. Date paste is thicker and retains the fiber from the whole dates, whereas date syrup is smoother and more concentrated, making it a liquid sweetener.
Both are natural and wholesome alternatives to refined sugars, but they can behave differently in recipes due to their varying textures and moisture content.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
How to Make Date Paste, Recipe
- 7 oz dates pitted
- 1 cup water
- If using dried unpitted dates or tough dates, let them soak in hot water until they are smooth enough to pit. You can leave them soaking overnight. Then pit the dates before blending.
- In the jar, a high-speed blender or a food processor, blend the water and the pitted dates.Process until silky, scraping down the jar to ensure all the dates’ flesh is incorporated.
- Store the date puree in a mason jar or an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
- If not using immediately freeze the date paste using an ice cube tray and then add it to your smoothies.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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