Stuffed Dates are a healthy appetizer made with fresh Medjool dates, a touch of honey, and creamy Boursin cheese. Sweet, chewy, and savory these look impressive but take only 10 minutes to make!
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Gourmet stuffed dates appetizer looks impressive, yet no one will guess that it only takes 10 minutes to put together! Soft sweet dates are stuffed with savory, garlic herb cheese, then topped with crunchy, salted nuts or seeds for a flavor combination that is so outstanding, I bet you can’t eat just one.
This Medjool dates recipe is not only the perfect seasonal app, it makes great healthy snacks or use as a side for a light meal, without even turning on the oven or stove! The simplicity, will make you love it just that much more.
Why Make Savory Dates Recipe?
- Finger food: Perfect for snacking on while mingling with holiday guests.
- Gluten free: Naturally gluten-free for gluten sensitive guests.
- Vegetarian: A meat free starter everyone will love!
- Easy to make: Minimal ingredients and only 4 steps makes this a quick app to pull together at the last minute.
- Healthy: Medjool dates are high in calcium, fiber and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals!
Ingredients for Stuffed Medjool Dates
- Medjool dates: This variety of dates is a tropical stone fruit known for its natural sweetness. It differs from the more common date, Deglet Noor, in that it is larger, darker and has a more caramel-like taste.
Fun fact: Medjool dates are a fresh fruit- not dried, although, their wrinkled appearance may have you think otherwise! After they are harvested from the date palm, they are packaged immediately and do not go through any drying process.
- Boursin cheese: This soft Gournay style cheese is infused with garlic and herbs and has a creamy texture, that is perfect for stuffing into dates.
- Honey: A very small drizzle enhances the sweet flavor of the dates.
- Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds: Adds a salty crunch that elevates and balances the other sweet and savory ingredients.
- Green onion: Savory green onion with its mild flavor complements sweet dates and creamy cheese.
- Red pepper flakes: Adds a small bit of fiery heat to balance the naturally sweet dates.
Stuffed dates are usually described as addicting due in part to how they delight four out of the five taste sensors located on our tongue- sweet, salty, spicy, and savory!
How to Make Stuffed Dates
- Remove the pit from dates: With a sharp paring knife make a slit at the top of the date, then pop the pit out.
Be careful not to slice all the way through the date, this will leave you will date pieces that are not able to be stuffed!
- Mix: In a small bowl mix Boursin cheese and water, stir until a creamy consistency is reached.
- Stuff: Using a teaspoon, stuff dates with cheese, then press date gently closed on both sides.
- Add toppings: Drizzle dates with honey, sprinkle with chopped green onions, red pepper flakes, and salted pumpkin seeds. Serve immediately!
Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Other cheese: Soft cheese works best like goat cheese, ricotta or cream cheese. Experiment with blue cheese or feta as well!
- Dairy free: If you are lucky to find dairy free Boursin, use that! Any other soft plant based cheese could work.
- Honey: Maple syrup or agave could be used, taste may slightly differ.
- Nuts: Roasted and salted almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pine nuts.
- Red pepper flakes: If you are not a fan of this spice, try a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
- Sweet orange: Replace water with orange juice and add a small pinch of orange zest to the filling. You may also like this winter massaged salad with a zesty orange and ginger dressing!
- Nut butter: Replace cheese with your favorite nut butter for a healthy snack. Drizzle with chocolate for a
- Additional fresh herbs: Add minced fresh parsley, rosemary or thyme to your cheese mixture.
- Bacon: Add cooked chopped bacon to the filling or make bacon wrapped dates by stuffing dates with Boursin, sprinkling with red pepper flakes and green onion, wrapping a slice of bacon around the date then drizzling with honey and baking at 400 F degrees for 20-25 minutes.
- Water chestnut stuffed dates: This version is best wrapped with bacon and baked. Stuff water chestnut into date, wrap with bacon and bake until bacon is crispy.
- Parmesan and prosciutto: Stuff date with fresh parmesan, wrap prosciutto slice around the date, bake at 375 F degrees for 10-15 minutes or until crispy.
- Peanut butter and bacon: Don’t knock it until you try it, sort of thing! Fill split date with peanut butter and add a whole almond (or chopped almonds), wrap raw bacon around date and bake in 375 F degrees oven for 10 minutes on each side.
You could also serve this recipe as is but warm! After stuffing dates with cheese, place in 375 F degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove, then proceed with honey drizzle and toppings.
Tips for Best Results
- Large dates: Medjool dates are recommended to use because of their larger size.
- Soft dates: If you find that your dates have gone stale, you can try covering them with boiling water for 10 minutes to soften.
- Keep dates intact: Be careful not to slice all the way through when making your opening on the top of the date. Use a small paring knife for best control when cutting (vs a big butcher knife!).
- Trouble removing the date pit?: Sanitize tweezers and easily remove the pit with tweezers.
- If adding (optional) bacon: Secure the date with a toothpick so filling stays inside date and doesn’t leak out all over the pan.
That is always hard to say, as ‘healthy’ differs from one person to another and is very personal. As for a starter, Medjool dates appetizer is lower in calories and filled with wholesome ingredients, that is a win enough for me!
Yes, and this is a very popular addition! Above in the section on optional add-in’s I have included the directions for a bacon wrapped date. To recap, stuff date with cheese mixture, wrap raw slice of bacon around date, secure with toothpick, drizzle with honey. Bake until bacon is crispy.
Deglet Noor, more commonly known as regular dates, are smaller, firmer and not as sweet. Medjool dates are larger in size, sweeter to the taste and have a dark rich color. For this recipe, we are making stuffed Medjool dates.
Store covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator to retain moisture. Dates can be stored up to 6 months.
Yes and that is an optional variation for this healthy stuffed dates recipe. Warm in oven for 10 minutes and then enjoy!
So many. This is the opportunity to get creative and use your favorite – blue, feta, goat, parmesan, I am not sure about cheddar, but if you try that, leave a note in the comments!
You can buy either, just remember to buy Medjool as they are larger.
How to Serve Dates?
This simple dates recipe is best served as a finger food healthy appetizer for the following occasions:
- Holiday entertaining on a cheeseboard or charcuterie platter.
- Super bowl or game day party with other potluck dishes.
- As part of a light lunch with soup or a healthy salad recipe.
- Starter dish for a Mediterranean meal of Greek chicken kabobs or falafel.
Can I Freeze Stuffed Dates?
Make ahead: Dates can be made ahead up to 24 hours in advance without toppings of honey, green onion, red pepper, and nuts. Store in refrigerator. Drizzle with honey and top with reserved toppings when ready to serve.
Store: Leftover cheese stuffed dates can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days. Always check before eating! Note that the nuts may get soft.
Freeze: Stuff dates with cheese filling, place on a cookie sheet in freezer. Once frozen transfer to freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, then drizzle with honey, and top with green onion, red pepper flakes and nuts/seeds. Note that because Boursin cheese is soft, the texture may change when frozen.
More Healthy Appetizers
- Using a paring knife, make an incision in the top of the date lengthwise (not cutting through), open and remove pit. Repeat with remaining dates, place on a large plate and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add cheese and water; stir until smooth.
- To stuff each date, slightly open it up, add cheese with a teaspoon, and close pressing together slightly.
- Drizzle with honey, then sprinkle with red pepper flakes, green onion and pumpkin seeds. Serve cold.
- Store: Leftover cheese stuffed dates can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.
- Freeze: Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw, then drizzle with honey and add toppings. Note that because Boursin cheese is soft, the texture may change when frozen.
- Large, soft dates: Medjool dates are recommended for their larger size. Soft dates are not only easier to cut, but they are easier to chew. If you find that your dates have gone stale, you can try covering them with boiling water for 10 minutes to soften.
- Keep dates intact: Be careful not to slice all the way through to the bottom of the date when making your opening on the top of the date. Use a small paring knife for best control when cutting (vs a big butcher knife!).
- Trouble removing the date pit?: Sanitize tweezers and easily remove the pit with tweezers.
- Warm appetizer: After filling with cheese, place in 375 F degree warm oven for 10 minutes.