Dates, a sweet and sticky fruit that taste like caramel make for a delicious and healthy snack. Removing the seed and making a small incision opens up the possibility for Stuffed Dates. This 3-ingredient recipe can be ready in minutes and makes for an ideal snack, appetizer or dessert!
Dates grow in warm climates on giant trees called Date Palms, and grow in clusters similar to bananas and grapes. Date Palms are native to the Persian Gulf area of the Middle East, and can be found growing in arid, hot climates globally. In the United States, Southern California is the largest producer of dates.1
California grown dates have a long harvest season, extending from August to March! A fresh date is like a cross between a fig and a prune. As they dry, either on the tree or in a processing facility, the sugars concentrate leaving us with a super sugary delicacy that taste even better as Stuffed Dates!
Unless you are at a farmers market in a date growing region or a specialty grocery store, you are most likely purchasing dried dates. The skin of the dates will become wrinkled and gain a tough, chewy texture. Not all dates are created equal, when shopping for them make sure they are not overly dry and leathery. This will make them too chewy and makes for a less enjoyable mouthfeel.
Compared to dried fruits like raisins and apricots, dates typically have a higher moisture content. I recommend storing in the refrigerator to maintain this moisture content. Dates can be purchased as pitted/seedless or with the seed intact. I usually find dates with the seed to have a higher moisture content and a bit more delicious, but either will do for my Stuffed Dates!
When you are looking for a sugary treat, dates are a great option. My Stuffed Dates will satisfy your sweet tooth, and provide an impressive nutritional profile. Unlike most sweets, dates are more than just sugar. Dates offer 1.5 grams of fiber and are a significant source of potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. The fiber in dates will increase the feeling of fullness so you are less likely to overindulge like with a bag of candy.
There are over 1,500 varieties of dates, but at most grocers you are most likely to only see Medjool, and possibly Deglet Noor dates. My Stuffed Dates use Medjool dates. There large size is ideal for stuffing.
My Stuffed Dates use simple ingredients that you probably already have and highlights the natural sweetness of dates. With my Stuffed Dates I like to create a mini meal and am always sure to include a fat-cream cheese, protein-pistachios and dates have the carbohydrates covered! There are so many delicious combinations and this recipe focuses on pantry staples and big flavor.
The cream cheese adds moisture and a smooth, creamy taste thanks to the healthy fats. Feel free to use whole milk, low fat or a no fat variety of cream cheese. Alternatively, if you are craving more of a savory flavor try using ricotta or mozzarella cheese in my Stuffed Dates or even my vegan cream cheese!.
Pistachios truly have no replacement! They have a higher protein and lower fat content then most nuts, and are really the perfect size to fit into the dates without having to break out your chef’s knife and cutting board.2 My favorite brand is Wonderful Company, they source ethically and offer many different flavors. You can buy them with or without shells and have a few different flavors in shells. My favorite for Stuffed Dates is definitely Sweet Chili!
Dessert Stuffed Dates
There are countless combinations that you can use to make your own Stuffed Dates. If you are craving more of a desserty, sweet taste I have some delicious ideas! One of my all-time favorite desserts is chocolate-dipped pecans. Place a pecan inside the date and then dip the whole thing in melted chocolate. Yum!
Some other sweet ideas are Stuffed Dates with peanut butter and chocolate chips. It’s a healthier peanut butter cup that is possible more tasty than the original. For some more Stuffed Dates inspiration try using almond butter, coconut flakes, Nutella, cacao nibs, and Goji berries.
- Dates | Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/fruits/dates. Accessed April 30, 2020.
- Hernández-Alonso P, Bulló M, Salas-Salvadó J. Pistachios for Health. Nutr Today. 2016;51(3):133-138. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000160
- 2 ounces 1/4 package cream cheese, softened
- 16 pitted dates
- ½ cup roasted shelled pistachios
- Cut a slit into each date lengthwise.
- Spread cheese mixture into each date; top with 2 pistachios.