Most food enthusiasts have probably already heard the buzzword “Agave Nectar” at some point in conversation throughout the last few years. I’m here to assure you that Agave Nectar is definitely worth the buzz. Not only is it a lighter, all-natural substitute for sugars and honey, it has a low glycemic index and is a great alternative for vegan and raw food eaters because it comes from a plant and is not cooked over 118 degrees during production.
If you haven’t heard of it already, let me introduce you: The natural sweetener is produced from the Agave tequiliana plant, which is native to Mexico. Yes, that’s right – the same plant used to make tequila. It can be 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than sugar, which means that you can use less of it to get just as much sweetness in flavoring your food.
I recently came across Wholesome Sweeteners, a company that produces organic Blue Agave syrups, flavored Agave syrups, sugars, and honey. They also sell organic light corn syrup, which is great for lowering your sugar counts in baking. I tested out their Organic Blue Agave Syrup in a salad dressing recipe and was pleasantly surprised. The Agave added a nice hint of sweetness without overpowering the dressing and I only had to use about 2 tablespoons. Furthermore, the nectar has 60 calories per tablespoon. This is about the same as honey (60-64 calories per tablespoon) and higher than sugar (40 calories per tablespoon), but since the Agave gives off such a potent, sweet flavor, you don't have to use as much of it compared to honey and sugar.
I also tried the vanilla flavored Organic Blue Agave syrup in a cup of hot tea. You can taste the vanilla and the Agave adds a nice sweetnes to the tea. The syrups also come in Strawberry, Cinnamon, and Maple flavors.
So give the bees a little break and go out and give Agave nectar a try. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Recipe: Balsamic Agave Vinaigrette (from Wholesome Sweeteners)
- 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
- 2/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Blue Agave Nectar
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 tablespoons minced Chives
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
Whisk all ingredients together and mix with your favorite leafy greens or salad combination. Feel free to cut recipe in half for small serving portions.