For a healthier take on a classic dessert, try vegan caramel slice. This guilt-free treat is made with sweet potato, banana, protein powder and rolled oats.
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Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease and line a 10cm x 20cm (base measurement) loaf pan with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang.
Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for 10 mins or until potato is tender. Drain. Place in a medium bowl, use a fork to mash until smooth.
Add 3/4 cup (65g) of the oats and 1 tbs of the maple syrup to the sweet potato and stir to combine. Press mixture into the base of the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 mins or until cooked through and firm.
Place banana, cashew butter, protein powder, 1/4 cup (60ml) of the maple syrup and the remaining oats in a blender and blend until just smooth. Pour banana mixture over sweet potato base and smooth surface. Place in the freezer for 3 hours or until firm.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on High in 30-sec intervals or until chocolate melts. Stir through remaining maple syrup. Pour over the slice and spread until smooth. Return to the freezer for 15 mins or until chocolate is firm.
Stand for 5 mins to soften slightly. Use a hot, sharp knife to cut into 8 bars. Serve immediately.
Keep slice frozen in an airtight container until ready to serve. Freeze for up to 3 months.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Clever Storage: Unlike pure maple syrup, the sugar-free version doesn’t have to be stored in the fridge and will last in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a year.
Because cashew butter is rich in healthy oils, it needs to be stored in the fridge so it doesn’t go rancid.
Smart swaps: If you already have peanut or almond butter in your fridge, either can be used in place of the cashew butter.
Root to tip: Reserve the sweet potato skins and toss with oil and salt. Bake them in a 180ºC oven until crisp and eat as a snack.
One thing you might hear from fitness trainers or health professionals is to up the protein in your diet. Protein helps build and maintain muscle mass, oxygenate the body, and create new blood cells. These important physiological processes weren’t typically associated with an indulgent caramel slice until now. We’ve swapped flour for rolled oats to create that iconic crispy base and added sweetness with sugar-free maple syrup and gold potatoes. Banana and cashew butter provide the fudgy texture for the filling, which is given its signature butterscotch flavour from caramel protein powder. Melted sugar-free chocolate chips provide the shiny top. Keep this gluten- and sugar-free vegan salted caramel slice in the freezer for an after-school snack, work or workout pick-me-up or serve it up as a better-for-you dessert.
Sweet potato provides the base for our dairy-free caramel slice. Rich in fibre, sweet potato is also low GI, which, along with protein, helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. By cooking the sweet potato in just a small amount of water, its antioxidant properties are still intact whereas roasting decreases them. Cook the sweet potato until a knife or skewer inserted into a piece has no resistance. We need it to be soft enough so that it can be mashed to a puree. After mashing, give it a good whisk to ensure there are no lumps.
Coles Perform Salted Caramel Plant Protein Powder uses a combination of brown rice, yellow pea and fava beans for protein, and cocoa powder and pink salt for flavour. When making a banana bread, you need your bananas to be overripe, but in our protein caramel slice you don’t want the flavour to be that intense. You only need the banana to be ripe enough to mash. It enhances the sweet caramel taste and adds moisture. Oats do double duty in our healthy caramel slice recipe. They give the base structure and, when blended, they add to the creamy texture of the filling.
To change the flavour profile, you can use vanilla protein powder in the filling and swap the dark chocolate for sugar-free white chocolate chips. Cashew butter is the sweetest of the nut butters, which is why we use it in our banana and caramel slice, but you could also use peanut or almond butters. If you want to up the protein even more, try sprinkling with hemp seeds.
We use sugar-free dark chocolate chips to top our healthy vegan caramel slice. Although generally made from cocoa powder, vegetable fat and alternative sugar, these chips can still seize like regular chocolate, so care needs to be taken when melting them. If melting in the microwave as we have done, heat in 30-second increments and stir in between. Alternatively, place a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water. Add the chips to the bowl and turn the heat off. Stir occasionally until smooth. In either case, use metal or silicone utensils to stir the chocolate. Wood utensils can retain moisture which will cause the chocolate to seize and go lumpy.
We cut our banana caramel slice into eight pieces, which gives a solid-sized piece for a dessert. You can cut it into smaller pieces for a bite-size snack that can be nibbled on when you feel you need an energy boost. If serving for a celebration, our caramel slice with rolled oats base is firm enough to hold candles or it can be sprinkled with tiny edible flowers or served with a dollop of dairy-free ice cream.