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Have you seen the New York Times bestseller list recently? In the category of Paperback Advice and Misc., there are three plant-based diet books in the Top 10! I think this is a huge step in the right direction to get folks thinking about increasing portions of plant foods on their plates.

I’ve been making this delicious apple dip for years now, thanks to Sheri of Green and Crunchy.  At one point, she posted the recipe on her blog, but I never got to write it down before her blog was taken down.  Since then, similar recipes have popped up everywhere.  The one I’ve been using most recently is from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen blog.

Chia Caramel Fruit Dip (Dairy-Free and Sugar-Free)

This version is inspired by Sheri and adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

  • 1 cup of raw cashews soaked for a couple hours in water
  • 1 cup (approximately 8 pitted medjool dates) soaked for a couple hours in water
  • 1 T of chia seeds (I use white, but either white or black will work)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • date soaking water (1/3 cup to start; more to achieve desired consistency)

Drain the cashews and discard the water.  Drain the dates, but KEEP the water.  Add all ingredients above to a blender and blend until you get a creamy (and somewhat aerated, or fluffy) consistency.  You may need to add more than 1/3 cup date soaking water.  (Keep the leftover date soaking water to sweeten your smoothies!)

Dip away! I love it with apples, but it’s good with any fruit or even on top of plain yogurt or oatmeal.

The addition of the chia seeds boost nutrition (good source of fiber, protein and omega-3s) and give the dip a full-bodied consistency.

Want to learn all about dates and how to use them instead of sugar? I stumbled upon this wonderful resource, bakewithdates.com and will be adding the book Bake with Dates by Susan Lowenberg to my wish list! (The Kindle version of the book is just $4.99.)