Add pitted dates and water to a pot on the stovetop, and crush while they are simmering. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add pitted dates and water to the Instant Pot, and cook at high for 10 minutes. Use natural release.
Remaining process for either cooking method
Remove the dates with a slotted spoon, and place in food processor or blender. Reserve the liquid.
Add remaining ingredients (cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt) and blend until well combined. Add about 2 Tbsp of the liquid (from the cooking process) so dates blend smoothly.
Store in airtight container in fridge. Store the liquid too - you can use it as a sweet addition to many different recipes.
You can use this recipe to make paste for a bunch of different items, from breakfast to dessert. Use it in cinnamon buns, swirl it into oatmeal or breakfast quinoa dishes, spread it on toast. It's spiced so it's edible on its own.