Recently when I was buying our produce at the Market, I passed by the date stand (Dates by Davall) and thought I’d take a look. The woman at the stand encouraged me to try the samples, and I have to admit I was a little freaked out to eat one plain. I’d read about them since they’re used so much in raw cooking, and I’d eaten them in other things – just never on their own.
With that bite of date, I’m pretty sure my life changed. It tasted amazing! It was like eating a piece of caramel candy. It’s no small secret that I have a raging sweet tooth. To think that I’d been missing out all this time, that all those nights I wanted something sweet I could have been eating dates, which are so much healthier than what I’d used to deal with sugar cravings. It was a revelation.
Apart from eating them plain and using them for date cake (more on that in another post), I remembered bacon wrapped dates. I’d never actually had one – dates freaked me out, remember – but I’d had bacon wrapped water chestnuts back in my meat eating days. I looked up recipes to get a frame of reference and saw that many of them called for stuffing the dates with things like almonds or blue cheese.
All you have to do is cut the dates to remove the pit, stuff a little piece of blue “cheese” in the opening, close it back up and wrap it in about half a slice of tempeh bacon. You can secure the pieces with a toothpick if putting them seam side down isn’t enough to hold them together.
I baked these at 400 degrees for about ten minutes or so, but they could probably go a little bit longer. (I ended up reheating them after Ryan took the photos, and I liked them a bit crisper.) Just check them to see if the tempeh bacon is crisping up, or take them out while it’s still soft if you prefer it that way.
These were SO good. I couldn’t believe how much the filling tasted like real blue cheese, and the smoky flavor of the tempeh bacon complemented the sweet dates perfectly. I would be happy to serve these at a party, both because they’re so delicious, and also so easy! Next time I might even try baking them with a little barbecue sauce, which sounds awesome to me!
This is the kind of recipe that I would never think I would be able to eat as a vegan, and it’s always pretty great to get one of those back.