Dietitian Jaqueline Neid and Marisa Christensen from the USU Extension shared 3 summer recipes with us that incorporate using dates.
o Peanut Butter Cocoa energy bites:
2 cups pitted Medjool dates
2 cups raw almonds
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup all natural peanut butter
3 Tbsp Agave
⅛ tsp sea salt
1. Place almonds into a food processor and process on high until you`ve created a fine almond meal.
2. Next, pit 20 Medjool dates. Then, add those into the food processor along with the cocoa powder, peanut butter, maple syrup, and sea salt. Process on high until everything is pulverized. You may need to add a few teaspoons of water to the mixture depending on how sticky your dates are.
3. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into your hands and roll into a ball. Repeat.
o Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese:
8 slices bacon
4 ounces goat cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Slice the dates lengthwise on one side to create an opening. Remove the pit.
3. Using a spoon, stuff a small amount of goat cheese into the cavity of each date and press the sides together to close.
4. Cut the bacon slices in half. Wrap each date with a slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
5. Arrange evenly on a baking sheet with raised edges (otherwise grease will get everywhere) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dates and use the toothpick to turn each one so it's laying on its side. Bake for another 5-8 minutes, until browned to your liking, and turn the dates to the other side and repeat. Remove from the oven, place on a paper towel-lined plate, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
o Date, Walnut, and Gorgonzola Grilled Cheese:
2 slices sourdough bread
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Few thin slices of red onion
1 handful baby spinach leaves, chopped
⅓ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
4 dates pitted and chopped
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1. Butter one side of each slice of bread and place buttered side down on a plate.
2. Begin heating a grill pan or skillet over medium heat.
3. Brush each slice of bread with balsamic vinegar. Layer onion, spinach leaves, gorgonzola, dates, and walnuts on one slice of bread and place the other slice atop it, balsamic side in, buttered side up. Place in heated skillet and cook, using a spatula to press down on the top slice, until the bottom slice is browned and cheese is melting, 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another two minutes, until browned and hot. Serve immediately.
o Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites:
8 ounces/1 cup packed chopped dates
½ cup honey
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup dried cranberries
1. Combine the dates, honey, chia seeds, flax seeds and salt in a food processor, and pulse until smooth and combined. You should be able to stir the mixture — if it is too thick, add in another tablespoon or two of honey.
2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and stir in the oats, pistachios, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Once the mixture is cool (and easier to work with), use a spoon or cookie scoop to shape it into your desired size of energy balls. (Mine were about 1-inch in diameter.) Alternately, you can line a small baking pan with parchment paper, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, let it cool, and then cut into bars.
4. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Storing them in the refrigerator especially helps the energy bites hold their shape.)