This incredible refined-sugar-free ketchup is easy as heck to make and so lip-smackin’ good you’ll never know it’s sweetened with only dates! All you need is a blender and a few pantry ingredients that you likely already have at home. Oven fries, veggie burgers, and carrot dogs, here we come!
Delectable Dates = Refined Sugar Free
The first time it occurred to me to make my own ketchup with some wonderfully sweet dates, the result made me giddy like a little girl. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to give one of my favorite foods a whole-foods plant-based makeover. I have never turned back, and once you try it, neither will you. When you can get all the ketchupy goodness you want with less sugar and more nutritional value, there’s just no reason to buy the bottled version again!
I have served this at many gatherings, and the reaction is always the same – wow, it tastes like…regular ketchup!
When I started being more careful about my sugar consumption, I became painfully aware of how badly I needed a ketchup replacement. I am EXTREMELY into my ketchup, and when I want ketchup, I want A LOT of it. With this recipe, I can really have as much as I want without worrying about sugar. If you want to know more about using dates vs. other sweeteners, check out my FAQ.
One thing I’ve found helpful is blending the dates with the liquid and spices before adding the tomato paste. This is because the tomato paste is very thick and can sometimes give the blender a tough time, requiring frequent stopping and stirring. Blending the dates first with everything else before adding tomato paste ensures that the dates get very well incorporated easily and faster. Then when you do eventually add the tomato paste, it won’t require much more blending at all.
Another thing that’s important to note is that date sizes can vary quite a lot. The dates I use in this recipe are the largest kind I’ve ever found. So if your dates are on the smaller side, that’s fine, but you might need to add more dates. Start with 3, see if it’s sweet enough for you, and add one more until you reach your desired sweetness.
I also usually like to triple the recipe and put one container of it in the fridge and a couple more containers full into the freezer so that I am good to go for a while – it freezes beautifully.
Now how good does it feel to know you’re mere minutes away from ketchup heaven?
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Water – thins out the ketchup and helps bring together all the flavors
White vinegar – gives the ketchup that characteristic tang
Salt (iodine free) – for the savory yumminess, though it can be omitted if you’re salt-free
Black pepper – for just the slightest hint of bite
Garlic powder – for a little savory zip
Medjool dates – for the perfect sweetness and texture
Tomato paste – for that classic ketchup flavor
OK…now let’s do this!
Date-Sweetened Refined-Sugar-Free Ketchup
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 1/4 teaspoon salt omit if avoiding salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3-4 large medjool dates
- 1 8- oz can tomato paste
- Blend everything but the tomato paste for at least 30 seconds until all components are extremely well incorporated and the liquid is as homogenous and smooth as possible.
- Add the tomato paste to the blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can just stir in the tomato paste if your blender is having a hard time blending the thick mixture.
- Taste and adjust as needed.