Despite honey's delicious flavor, versatility, and medicinal properties, pure vegans choose to avoid this tasty nectar since it's harvested from bees. Thankfully, there are plenty of tasty alternatives to bee honey, all with their own special qualities. These five sweeteners are 100 percent vegan, and some even contain healthy vitamins and minerals that are lost in honey when it is processed. You can easily use these substitutes as you would use bee honey.
BEE-FREE HONEE This sticky “honee” is made with apples, sugar, and lemon. It’s lovely drizzled on vegan yogurt and granola! The only con with this “honee” is the high added sugar content, 16g per serving (1 Tbs.). As with all concentrated sweeteners, you’ll want to use this in moderation. beefreehonee.com
DATE PASTE Making your own gooey date paste is easy! While high in natural sugar, dates contain numerous antioxidants and minerals, and are high in fiber. To make date paste, simply soak pitted Medjool dates in water, orange juice, or apple juice for an hour or more, then blend in a food processor. Use more or less liquid, depending on how thick you want your paste. I like to add 1/2 cup liquid for every 1 cup dates. You can store the paste in your refrigerator for one week. Try it on warm vegan biscuits. Not into making your own? It's also available online. datepaste.com
COCONUT NECTAR Literally the reduced sap of coconut palms, this sweetener is high in amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Coconut nectar is made up primarily of inulin, but adds a mild coconut flavor. It is low-glycemic, and will not spike your body’s blood sugar levels. I love to drizzle it on raw buckwheat granola, pictured above. One to try: Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Nectar. livesuperfoods.com/coconut-secret-raw-coconut-nectar.html
AGAVE NECTAR The granddaddy of honey substitutes is definitely agave nectar. Agave is so similar in look and feel to honey, that when I worked at a vegan restaurant as a waitress, I would occasionally have customers who were mistakenly offended, thinking I had given them “real" honey! Though agave is not healthier than honey, or any other concentrated sweetener like sugar, it is a fine replacement for honey. One to try: Now Foods Certified Organic Agave Nectar. nowfoods.com/Foods/Real-Food/Products/M099720.htm
Jenné Claiborne is a vegan chef, cooking instructor, and health coach based in New York City. On her vegan food blog, Sweet Potato Soul, she shares delicious healthy recipes inspired by her Southern upbringing and world travels. She also has a vegan cooking show on Youtube. Follow Jenné on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest. MEET OUR BLOGGERS