Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce (or Dip!)
It’s happening. I’m going to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my family’s diet.
Don’t get too worked up about it — I’m not eliminating sugar because, see, I’m not motivated by a belief that sugar is poison. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. All I know is that we’re going to partake, but I want to do so more thoughtfully.
I know that refined sugar is in everything, not just sweets. It’s in our sandwich bread and ketchup, it’s in the daily vitamins my kids take and the store-bought granola bars I pack as their after-school snack. With refined sugar hiding in so much of our food, I just figure that I should do everything that I can to reduce our intake at home, especially at snack time. Which is why I love that my kids love this Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce recipe (which easily doubles as a dip, too, perfect for apples).
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Listen: I’m not vegan and my taste buds have very recently (ahem) enjoyed sugar and dairy fat, the two primary ingredients in conventional caramel. Given that, I cannot say that this tastes like real caramel. That said, it is reminiscent of caramel and totally delicious. Seriously: lick the spoon until every drop is gone delicious.
So even if you’re not vegan, this recipe is worth making to top ice cream or, uh, I mean to serve with apple slices or swirled into yogurt.
Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup pitted dates
About 1/4 cup plant-based milk
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of crunchy sea salt, to garnish
Soak dates in enough hot tap water to cover them for at least 5 minutes to soften.
Transfer softened dates from the soaking water to a high-powered blender. Add milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. If you want a very thick dip, start with a little less than 1/4 cup of and add the remaining slowly. If you want a pourable sauce, add the entire 1/4 cup and add more in little bits from there. Blend on high, turning off and scraping down the sides as necessary, until desired constancy is achieved.
Spoon/pour the dip/sauce into a serving container and top with crunchy sea salt. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.