For the longest time, I'd walk past the bags of dates at the grocery store and never take a second glance. It's not that I never liked them — I just never was quite sure what to do with them besides snack on them straight. But the truth is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy them! Once I finally gave them a chance, I realized the possibilities are nearly endless. From blending them into a morning smoothie, to chopping them up for a salad topping, to tucking them into dessert, here are our 13 most favorite recipes that feature the sweet dried fruit.
Both bananas and dates have enough sweetness tucked inside of them that this cardamom-spiced smoothie doesn't need any added sweeteners. Plus adding chia seeds to the mix gives it a protein boost to power your morning.
This hearty breakfast is between a cakey treat and a wholesome porridge, making it a welcome addition to your morning table. The dates dot the oatmeal with chewy caramel flavor without making it too sweet.
These decadent, dairy-free caramels couldn't be easier to make. Just blend tahini, dates, and coconut oil together; transfer the mixture to a pan; let it firm up in the freezer; and then cut it into bite-sized squares.
Chopped dates add surprising sweetness and chewy texture to this wholesome and satisfying salad. The best part is it keeps very well, so assemble it Sunday (dressing and all) and pack up portions for lunch throughout the week.
If you can't find tart kumquats or prefer a fruit that's a bit sweeter and juicier, try using thinly sliced Mandarin oranges instead.
You don't have to be following a Paleo diet to enjoy this snack. These bite-sized squares are sweet, salty, and savory all at once and provide an instant boost of energy whenever you might need it.
This colorful fruit salad is the ideal option when you're in the mood for something that's light and bright, but still satisfies your sweet craving. The finely sliced dates add a touch of caramel sweetness to every bite, while the cinnamon-roasted almonds give the salad crunch.
You can definitely have chocolate for breakfast when it's boosted with fiber-rich dates, frozen bananas, and protein-packed almond butter.
Similar to the tahini-date caramels, these sweet treats are vegan, raw, and come together with ease. Here almond butter and flour hold the caramels together while also adding a nutty, rich flavor.
Fruit crumble makes for a crowd-pleasing dessert, but it doesn't always fit the bill for those with dietary restrictions. This one does, however, as it's vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free. It's also infinitely adaptable, so you can use just about any fruit you like.
If you've never wrapped a date in bacon, you don't know what you're missing. This irresistible appetizer is sure to win over even those who say they don't like the dried fruit. The dates are stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, baked, and served warm.
While some smoothies can leave you hungry in an hour, this one is sure to keep you full until lunch. Dates and cooked sweet potato bulk up the mix with fiber and provide natural sweetness, while tahini and coconut milk add protein.
This alternative sweetener can be used wherever you might use maple syrup or honey: Try baking with it or drizzling it on biscuits, oatmeal, and pancakes. It's also awesome stirred into your morning mug of coffee.