7 Date Recipes Putting a Sweet Spin on Savory Dinners

Sweet, delicious date fruits make an exceptional accent to both savory and spiced dinner dishes. Although dates may be high in sugar, they’re also rich sources of energy, fiber, and antioxidants, and leading sources like Livestrong deem them “superfoods.”

Although dates are mostly commonly grown in the Middle East, their popularity as an addition to savory and spiced dishes has expanded worldwide. Try any one of these 7 recipes to enjoy the sweet taste of date fruit in tonight’s dinner.

Stew Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Dates and Almonds

Source: iStock

1. Lamb and Date Tagine

The term tagine refers to a succulent stew-like dish popular in North Africa. About Food notes that a typical tagine combines meat, chicken, or fish with a medley of vegetables in a thick and spice-infused sauce. The Delectable Feast shares this recipe for Lamb and Date Tagine, in which tender, fall-apart chunks of lamb are smothered in a distinctive sauce, bursting with the flavors of ginger, saffron, curry powder, and other spices.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds tender lamb
  • 1 cup seeded dates
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • Parsley or cilantro (optional)

DirectionsSlice the onions into very thin rounds.

Remove the fat from the lamb and cut it into ½-inch pieces. Halve the seeded dates.

Cover the bottom of a tagine or crockpot with all of the oil. Next, layer the onion slices delicately, so they make a base for the pan. Cover the onions with the meat, dates, garlic, and spices. Cover with water.

Place the cover on the tagine or crockpot and heat on a low simmer until the meat is completely tender about 1½ hours. Stir and serve with fresh parsley.

couscous with Chicken and Vegetable

Source: iStock

2. Brazilian Sweet and Hot Chicken

Sick of serving the same old chicken dishes for dinner every night? If so, then Brazilian Flair in the USA’s Brazilian Sweet and Hot Chicken is the recipe for you. Brown sugar and dates lend a mouthwatering sweetness to the dish, offset by the flavors of dry white wine, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and hot sauce. This sweet and hot chicken is exciting, easy to make, and sure to be a new family favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, mashed

DirectionsPreheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Place thighs, skin side up, in a 13-by-9 baking dish.

Pour remaining ingredients over the top and place into the oven. Cook, uncovered for 30 minutes, then increase oven temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. and continue baking for 10 minutes until skin is golden brown.

Serve in a bowl with lots of the delicious broth!

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Orange and Date Salad

Bring fresh flavors and a burst of color to tonight’s dinner spread with Foolproof Living’s Orange and Date Salad, adapted from Ottolenghi’s classic cookbook Plenty More. Foolproof Living blogger Aysegul Sanford recommends using blood oranges if you’re able to find them, but notes that navel oranges will make a perfectly suitable substitute as well. Refreshing dashes of mint, cilantro, and radish flavor the simple salad and date base, but it’s the cinnamon and fennel dressing that truly makes this salad a standout.

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Salad:

  • 6 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 cup arugula
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 Medjool Dates, pitted and sliced lengthwise
  • 4 ounces radishes, sliced paper thin
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced thinly into rings
  • 5 oranges (2 pounds), peeled and cut in slices

DirectionsStart with making the dressing: Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

To assemble: Mix all salad greens, arugula, radish and red onion slices, dates, and fresh herbs in a bowl. Pour half of the dressing over it and give it a toss.

Place the oranges on top and pour the rest of the dressing over the oranges. Serve.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Butternut Squash Pizza With Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Hazelnuts, and Dates

It’s hard not to love the subtle sweetness of Dishing Up The Dirt’s Butternut Squash Pizza With Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Hazelnuts, and Dates. The pizza’s cinnamon-infused butternut squash topping is loaded with vegetables, dates, and hazelnuts for a perfectly sweet and salty finish. This recipe takes about 35 minutes to make and yields 1 pizza.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball of pizza dough, homemade or store bought
  • 2½ cups peeled and cubed butternut squash, about ½-inch to 1-inch cubes
  • 1½ cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half (for larger sprouts quarter them)
  • ¾ cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided) + additional for baking
  • 1 to 1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Small pinch of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt to finish
  • Minced parsley for serving (optional)

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss cubed butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Place on a prepared baking sheet.

Toss brussels sprouts and onion with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and place on a separate prepared baking sheet. Place both baking trays of vegetables in the oven and roast until squash is fork tender and brussels are lightly browned. About 13 to 15 minutes. Toss veggies halfway through cooking. Keep a close eye on the onion and remove it from the oven sooner if it starts to burn.

Once butternut squash is cool enough to handle place it in a food processor or blender with a pinch of cinnamon and process until smooth.

On a floured surface roll out your pizza dough. Spread the butternut squash evenly and top with brussels, onion, and dates. Sprinkle with a small amount of crushed red pepper flakes, drizzle of olive oil and a few pinches of sea salt. Bake in the oven until the crust is browned on the edges, about 10 to 15 minutes. When pizza looks like it is almost done remove it from the oven and evenly sprinkle the hazelnuts. Place back in the oven for a few more minutes or just until the hazelnuts begin to brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Spiced Chicken Skillet

The Wanderlust Kitchen’s Spiced Chicken Skillet boasts the sophisticated flavors of a special Moroccan Spice Blend. The spice blend can easily be made at home, consisting of ginger, coriander, white pepper, cinnamon, allspice, and turmeric (see The Wanderlust Kitchen’s recipe here). The dish requires just 30 minutes in the kitchen and makes 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeño
  • 2 teaspoons Moroccan spice
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup halved dried dates
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • Couscous for serving (optional)

DirectionsCombine the flour, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Pat the chicken pieces dry and add to the flour mixture, tossing to coat both sides.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add the chicken thighs and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until browned. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook 5 to 7 minutes until softened and brown. Stir in the Moroccan spice mixture, garlic, and jalapeño. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the broth, dates, and apricots.

Return the chicken to the pan. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Stir in the chickpeas and vinegar. Taste and add salt as needed. Garnish with sliced almonds and serve with couscous (optional).

chickpea curry on rice

Source: iStock

6. Peanut-Ginger Curried Chickpeas and Chopped Dates

Healthy Happy Life’s delectable and guiltless Peanut-Ginger Curried Chickpeas and Chopped Dates make a creamy, spiced, sweet, and altogether exotic choice for tonight’s meal. Curried chickpeas are enhanced with peanut butter, veggies, spices, and nuts to culminate in a hearty meal that only requires 30 minutes to make. The vegan and gluten-free recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium-large red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup cashews, raw
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, grade B
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • Salt, black pepper, cayenne, and turmeric, to taste
  • 4 to 6 cups fluffy cooked brown rice, to serve
  • Optional: diced mango to serve
  • Optional: chopped peanuts and fresh parsley as garnish

DirectionsWarm up a skillet over medium heat. Add in half of the onion and ginger. Dry saute for a few minutes until onion softens.

Add in the peanut butter, non-dairy milk, curry powder and maple syrup. Stir well until a yellow thin sauce forms. Lower heat a bit if edges being to brown.

After about 1 to 3 minutes of simmering the sauce and onions and ginger, turn off heat and transfer ¾ of this mixture to a high-speed blender.

Blend until smooth and golden. Turn the stove back on to warm the skillet over medium heat. Add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, chopped dates, cashews and rest of the onion, the other half. Spoon about half of the blended sauce over top the chickpeas and stir continuously for 2 to 5 minutes until chickpeas are cooked and sauce thickens. Again, watch for over-browning of the sauce.

If desired, pour more sauce into the chickpea skillet. Do a taste test and then add salt, pepper, and optional cayenne and turmeric to taste.

When the chickpeas are tender and sauce thickened, sprinkle the parsley into the mixture and stir. Turn off heat and set aside.

Serve with a bowl of warm cooked fluffy brown rice and the chickpea mixture spooned generously over top. Add optional mango as a side garnish, and optional crushed peanuts over top. Fresh green parsley too. Serve warm, but delicious warm or chilled!

chickpea stuffed eggplant

Source: iStock

7. Barley, Chickpea, and Date Stuffed Eggplants

These Barley, Chickpea, And Date Stuffed Eggplants are an elegant choice for an evening meal, and surprisingly simple to cook in your kitchen. Barley, chickpeas, and dates are wed with onion, tomato, and parsley for the stuffing, while a unique cinnamon-chili dressing offers a flavorful finish. Roasted eggplant makes a great melt-in-your-mouth base for this spiced combination. This recipe from Coconut and Berries yields 2 to 4 servings, plus some extra salad.

Ingredients:

Barley, Chickpea, and Date Salad:

  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup barley
  • 6 Medjool dates, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ red onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley or coriander

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Directions: For the salad: Cook the barley according to package instructions. Add to a mixing bowl along with the cooked chickpeas, halved cherry tomatoes, red onion, and dates.

In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to coat everything. Stir through the chopped herbs. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to come together.

baheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Halve eggplants and make deep criss-cross score marks in the flesh with a knife. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place, cut side down, in a roasting pan and cook for 35 to 45 minutes, or until very soft. Remove from oven and pile the salad on top. Serve with toasted pita wedges and non-dairy yogurt.

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