Honey substitute that’s not sugar?

Intrigued by any recipe starring pork tenderloin but when I read honey in both the marinade and the vinaigrette, my balloon of glee began a slow leak. Desperate as I am to find new dishes to cook for my 93-year young mum, in recovery from colon cancer — no sugar is non-negotiable. Hoping for help here. Thank you!

LionToes
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9 Comments

Nancy June 12, 2022
If only refined sugar is forbidden, and complex sugar in plants is ok, consider using a small amount of fruit… tree fruit, berries, stone fruit… in the main dish or dressing.
 
LionToes June 12, 2022
Ooooh, great idea! Thank you!
 
702551 June 12, 2022
The safest strategy would be to simply leave out the honey (no substitute) and proceed. After all, you can eat pork tenderloin and vegetables with nothing on them (although they would be very bland). It would lack a little unctuousness and of course sweetness but I think that compromise is acceptable given the current circumstances.

You can remake this recipe with the honey after she has recovered.

Best of luck to the two of you.
 
LionToes June 12, 2022
Thank you! She has come very far in the past five — no, wait! — seven months since her surgery and a complete nutritional overhaul, a metabolic reboot. It’s been amazing to watch if not more than a little challenging to live alongside.

My search for tasty recipes has increased because as you say, pork loin and veggie dishes can be incredibly bland.

To satisfy her craving (deep need) for something sweet, I introduced monkfruit to sweeten a 90-second keto bread recipe if adapted and made into mini muffin bites flavored with lemon zest and vanilla (surprisingly yummy!)

I wonder if a monkfruit substitute could mimic the complexity of this dish that the honey provides. Or would it just add a touch of sweet without the requisite texture of honey…and so best, as you suggest, to just leave it out altogether.

Thank you again for taking the time to read and reply 🤗
 
Gammy June 12, 2022
If the monkfruit worked in the bread recipe and helped introduce that touch of sweetness, I would definitely try with this pork recipe. Tasting as you make the marinade (and before adding the pork!), I would add just enough monkfruit to mimic that sweetness and taste your mom craves. It may not be the exact taste of the original recipe, but would still be good. Same with the vinaigrette.
 
LionToes June 12, 2022
Thank you, I will try it - tasting as I go along - and report back here with the results! My hope is there are other ingredients with strong flavor profiles to mask any residual aftertaste. 🙏🏻 So far, the monk fruit has been the most natural (and purest) sugar substitute with the least aftertaste. Even in whipped cream, though I’ve never tried it without adding vanilla. Stay tuned!
 
702551 June 12, 2022
Since you have already successfully baked with monk fruit and apparently have it on hand you could try that.

There's already plenty of flavor in the other ingredients here.

The main point I was trying to make about simple foods is that you don't *NEED* any of these flavoring ingredients. You can grill a pork loin roast with salt and if the meat is good quality, it'll taste like roast pork. Same with the veggies, if you steam some green beans and put them on a plate and maybe sprinkled some salt, they could be enjoyable assuming the beans are in season and fresh.

I know a lot of people enjoy massive flavor bombs drowning in sauces. But withholding honey out of these two preparations for dietary restrictions isn't going to make the dish fail.
 
LionToes June 12, 2022
You are so right, and in the past, that’s been our go-to. Recently though, I’ve been told her sodium count is way too high so we’ve had to cut back a ton on salt. After a week or so of zero salt, i had to sneak it in (maldon or diamond crystal kosher salt, crushed finely between fingers…even a little does a lot for flavor.)
 
Gammy June 13, 2022
Unfortunately, I think there are many people whose sodium count is way too high and who either don't realize it or refuse to give up/cut back on salt/sodium. Do some research on sodium amounts in processed food and you may be shocked. Canned foods are notoriously high as are many condiments. Surprisingly, potato chips are not as high as you might believe... because the salt is all on the outside and hits your taste buds immediately. I think your idea of adding just a bit of kosher salt upon serving should do the trick for your mom. Best of luck to you both in her recovery!
 
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