Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters made with Medjool Dates

Disclaimer: This post is graciously sponsored by Natural Delights. All opinions are my own.

HEALTHY Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters made with Medjool Dates #vegan #glutenfree
First, real talk guys. These vegan pecan caramel clusters are better than actual caramel clusters, you know, the ones with dairy and refined sugar and stuff. These are made out of three magical, vegan, and HEALTHY things. You heard me. These delicious vegan pecan caramel clusters are healthy. Boom. Wanna know why?

First things first, you start with dates.

Not just any kind of dates, Medjool dates.

Medjool dates are basically the vegan staple of wonder. You can use them to make the a healthy crust for cheesecake. You can dry them and process them until you have amazing, unrefined date sugar that’s low on the glycemic index and has that wonderful caramel flavour that dates have. You can put them in a savoury quinoa salad for a sweet and chewy contrast. You could stuff them full of walnuts and cashew cheese (or dairy cheese if that’s your thing) and serve them as an appetizer.

And best of all…

HEALTHY Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters made with Medjool Dates #vegan #glutenfree

You can eat them fresh. When eaten fresh, they are nature’s caramels: soft…a little gooey, wonderfully chewy…

And the best thing about them is that they’re so good for you.

Full of fibre, antioxidant polyphenols (like blueberries or cranberries), potassium (50% more than a banana per 100g), and it’s low on the glycemic index, which means that your blood sugar doesn’t get a drastic spike in your blood sugar because the fibre helps you digest the sugars more gradually. With dates, the sugar doesn’t go straight into your blood stream, meaning that you get steady energy that doesn’t result in a sugar crash. Yay happy pancreas!

HEALTHY Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters made with Medjool Dates (aka vegan Turtles) #vegan #glutenfree #turtles #copycat

Oh my god, look at that chocolate.

Pecans are also great for antioxidants, full of protein, potassium, manganese, thiamin, vitamin E, calcium, B vitamins (that for you, vegan/vegetarians!), folate, iron, and oleic acid. Both dates and pecans are great for your cholesterol, meaning they lower the bad cholesterol and promote the good cholesterol.

And let’s not forget that they make adorable turtle feet. It’s like an awkward turtle on the back of its shell. It’s little feet are buttery pecans and belly is wonderfully smooth dark chocolate.

HEALTHY Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters made with Medjool Dates #vegan #glutenfree

I love dark chocolate. The darker, the better in my opinion. I used just regular dark chocolate bars for these, but those 70-90% bars. Mm. Once more, dark chocolate has lots of anti-oxidants, iron, magnesium, and the cocoa butter used in chocolate is a great mono-unsaturated fat, good for lowering your cholesterol.

So basically these are heart-healthy, cancer-preventing, digestive-happy, and diabetic-friendly pockets of delicious. That doesn’t mean you can eat a whole batch, but it’s definitely a better alternative than the box of processed sugars, unpronounceable ingredients and preservatives.

Let’s not forget that these badboys are gluten-free and vegan. I can’t stress this enough, guys. Vegan.

HEALTHY Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters made with Medjool Dates #vegan #glutenfree

They’ll make a wonderful Valentine’s gift, because what shows someone you love them more than something heart-healthy? Your valentine will jump your bones after they fall in love with the almost buttery, caramel-flavoured dates, the soft crunch of pecans and the satisfying snap as you bite into the dark chocolate.

Go seduce that special someone with these. You’re welcome in advance.

Recipe inspired by Nutritionist in the Kitch

Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters
 
Ingredients
  • 200 g dark chocolate (no milk ingredients to keep vegan), finely chopped
  • 1 box Organic Natural Delights Medjool dates (1 lb or 454 g)
  • 1 cup whole natural pecans
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates by using a sharp knife to cut lengthwise. Pull open and flatten (kind of looks like a butterfly), removing pits and laying them out, sticky side up.
  2. Stick three pecans per date, arranging them like the head and feet of a turtle.
  3. Chop your dark chocolate into as small bits as possible, and melt in a heat-safe bowl on top of a pot over medium heat (or a double boiler if you have one), stirring constantly until mostly melted.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the last few chunks of chocolate (this is my method of lazy tempering)
  5. Drizzle about 1 tsp of chocolate per cluster, to seal the inside of the dates (so they don't dry out) and securing the pecans. Let them set in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes, and enjoy!
  6. Keep stored in fridge in an airtight container.

See an ingredient listed that’s not in your pantry?

No problem! Check out my substitutions page to see if you can use an ingredient that you DO have in your pantry, or for ways to make this recipe vegan, gluten-free, etc. =)
About Lisa Le

Lisa is the twenty-something, nerdy, procrastinating, feminist blogger and photographer behind Je suis alimentageuse. She loves lemons, avocado, butternut squash, and is a bookworm.

Comments

  1. What an awesome snack idea! I’ve been meaning to go out and buy these fabled all-purpose dates (it seems like they can be made into anything these days!), so I’ll definitely leave a good handful with which to make these clusters. Yum!
    Ala recently posted…Buttery Moist Lemony Glazed Strawberry Swirl Pound CakeMy Profile

  2. What the what!!! This is my dream treat! I crave medjool dates 24/7 and I can’t think of a better way to eat them than smothered in chocolate. Awesome idea!
    Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan recently posted…baked grapefruit donutsMy Profile

  3. Thank you so much for this delicious and easy treat! Love it, love it, love it!

  4. These are genius!! I think I’ll make some tonight! Thank you for sharing :)
    Deryn @ Running on Real Food recently posted…Lime & Coconut Energy Bites – Vegan, Gluten-Free, No Added SugarMy Profile

  5. OMG, can I just say….brilliant! How much better can it get?
    Love this easy, decadent and sexy treat so much. Thank you for the beautiful photos.
    Love your site.

    • I know right? I had to give these away because I ate probably 5 or 6 in one sitting. Daaangerous but perfect for Valentines haha. Thank you so much for reading!!

  6. Incredibly easy and creative….which to me, makes the best recipes!! No fuss! These are awesome and pecans are my very favorite nut! Yum!
    The Vegan 8 recently posted…Raw Caramel White Chocolate HeartsMy Profile

  7. These were great!! These are the chocolate chips I used. Awesome chocolate is the key to a great treat :). http://bit.ly/1gzMf2Y

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