Have you had a date today?
3 quick, tasty recipes using this underrated super-fruit
Dates are arguably the perfect fruit. They’re tongue-tinglingly sweet and quite nutritious. They last practically forever. In fact, they are virtually indestructible.
Dates have to be tough. They’re a desert food. Date palms grow in North Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and California.
Imagine you’re part of a camel caravan on a weeks-long trek through the Sahara desert…
What other fruit could survive that brutal journey and provide critical sustenance? (Don’t get me wrong, I love bananas, but they can barely survive a ride home from the grocery store.)
Dates are a little intimidating (!). What are they exactly? Are they dried like a raisin, or what?
I’ll let Encyclopedia Britannica field this one:
The date is a one-seeded fruit, or berry, usually oblong but varying much in shape, size, colour, quality, and consistency of flesh, according to the conditions of culture. More than 1,000 dates may appear on a single bunch weighing 8 kg (18 pounds) or more.
Dates are super healthy. Meg Campbell, a certified personal trainer, has put up a great article on the health benefits of dates.
Campbell writes that dates are:
an excellent source of dietary fiber. [They are] especially high in a special kind of soluble fiber known as beta-D-glucan, which promotes normal blood glucose levels, blocks the absorption of cholesterol, increases the size of stools (!), and slows digestion in the stomach, thereby contributing to long-term satiety.
They are also:
high in several important minerals including potassium, manganese, magnesium and copper. They also provide significant amounts of calcium, iron, vitamin K and B vitamins, including vitamin B-6 and folate.
Finally, she points out that because dates can be up to 70% sugar by weight, they make an excellent source of quick energy.
Now you know what makes dates so awesome. Walnuts are also awesome, but you probably already knew that.
Using dates and walnuts as our core ingredients, we’ll look at 3 quick and delicious recipes: a portable snack, a rich and creamy shake, and an easy and filling breakfast.
Dates and walnuts: the ultimate snack
This recipe couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. Just try to find some decent dates. They should be large and moist. Try looking up your local Arab market on Yelp. Costco also carries California dates that aren’t bad.
Pit the dates if necessary, leaving the dates intact
Insert walnut chunks
Fold the dates to hold in the walnuts.
the Moroccan super-shake
This blended concoction tastes like a rich, creamy milkshake. If you make it with soy or almond milk, it’s vegan-friendly, too. Sweetened by the dates, oh-so-creamy thank to the frozen banana, hearty thanks to the nuts — this shake has it all. (editor’s note: we are using Moroccan-style measurements for this recipe.)
some dates, pitted
a handful of walnuts
1 banana (frozen, if possible)
enough milk (soy, almond and cow all work well)
a big ol’ spoon of peanut butter (or cashew butter, almond butter, tahini…)
a couple ice cubes
Blend and enjoy!
Oatmeal with dates and walnuts: start your day with a bang
This writer swears by oatmeal for breakfast. It’s a blank canvas on which you can exercise your culinary creativity. The Quaker traditional oatmeal (not instant!) from Costco is a great value, and it only take 3 minutes to make in the microwave. A bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts will keep you going strong through lunch-time.
milk (your choice)
Prepare the oatmeal according to the instructions. Add chopped dates and walnuts, honey, and milk. Enjoy!
This article is not, in fact, brought to you by the Date Advisory Board, the Date Council, or the American Society of Date Growers. It is brought to you by freelance writer Sam-Omar Hall, a guy who just happens to love dates. Maybe it’s his Moroccan heritage.
Got a date recipe to share? Get in touch: