Have you ever had a date shake? A southern California staple, this creamy treat typically contains a blend of vanilla ice cream, whole milk and the sweet, caramel-like dates grown in the Coachella Valley. Date shakes are also a tradition in my family. My dad, who grew up in the desert, would whip them up almost every Sunday when I was a kid. Nick and I kept the tradition alive on our recent babymoon in Palm Springs, which included a mandatory trip to a date orchard to get our date-shake fix. If I give birth to a 10-pound baby, this decadent drink may be to blame.
Thankfully, it’s possible to make a healthy version of the date shake at home. Dates are packed with potassium and fiber, making them a wonderful source of natural sweetness and a mainstay in many health-conscious desserts (see exhibits A, B and C). To thicken up this shake without ice cream, I used frozen banana (more potassium!) and raw cashew butter, which tastes like cake batter but better (no salmonella, way more protein). Almond milk adds calcium without dairy, while a little vanilla extract and sea salt finish things off in the flavor department. The result is a creamy, vanilla-caramel shake that’s actually good for you.
And there’s even better news for expecting mamas. A study showed that women who ate dates during pregnancy had easier labors, so drink up!
Healthy Date Shake (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 pitted Medjool dates
1 heaping tablespoon raw cashew butter
1/2 ripe, frozen banana
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pinch sea salt
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
To shake things up, add a shot of espresso to make creamy date coffee, or blend in a teaspoon or two of raw cacao powder for a chocolate-flavored shake.