Dates are sticky, juicy, and incredibly delicious. They are also versatile fruits that pair well with numerous dishes. You can catch dates featured in various dessert recipes around the globe, including Chef Gordon Ramsey’s iconic sticky toffee pudding to Netflix' Antoni Porowski's "Perfect Bite". Although, they are key ingredients in many savory dishes as well.
Not only do these sticky fruits taste delightful, but they are loaded with nutritional value. Dates are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and gut-healthy probiotics. Thus, we could not think of a better fruit to incorporate into your meals.
In this post, we will go over some exciting ways you can feature dates on your restaurant’s menu. Luckily, almost all of these recipes are perfect for home cooking as well. We will also discuss what beverages and foods pair well with dates. There is so much to enjoy about the dried fruit, and we are sure that one of the unique options below will entice your tastebuds.
Why You Should Add More Dates Into Your Diet
Thanks to the dried fruit’s stellar health benefits, dates have quickly transitioned into a superfood over the last few decades. Dates contain numerous essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, and vitamin B. They are also extremely high in antioxidants, particularly flavonoids that are known to reduce inflammation. Lastly, dates are packed with prebiotic fiber that will keep your gut happy and healthy for many years to come.
If you want to learn more about their nutritional profile, be sure to check out our blog post on the health benefits of incorporating dates into your diet.
What Beverages Pair Well With Dates?
You can easily incorporate dates into beverages like smoothies, cocktails, and even water. Date-infused water is considered a popular beverage served throughout Southeast Asia. It is an excellent way to reap all the benefits the fruit offers without having to eat it. Plus, you may also store any leftover infused water in the refrigerator to enjoy the next day.
It is pretty common to infuse liquor with fruits and spices before consumption. Certain spirits pair exceptionally well with dates, including rum, tequila, and vodka. Therefore, we totally recommend adding fresh dates or date syrup to your liquor next time you plan to make a cocktail. Several cocktail recipes also feature Medjool dates, cinnamon, and vodka to create a sweet yet balanced alcoholic beverage.
What Foods Pair Well With Dates?
The spectacular dried fruits complement a variety of different foods. Whether you are making a tangy tamarind sauce or baking banana nut bread, we are sure that your meal can benefit from dates. The fruits are on the sweeter side, so many chefs tend to include them in desserts or as an organic substitute for sugar. They also taste great alongside other fruits, including apples, pears, and oranges.
However, dates make a remarkable addition to various savory dishes. Thus, it is common to find dates in soups, salads, and meat-based dishes. Dates taste lovely when paired with cured meats and cheeses, making them a popular addition to charcuterie boards. The fruits are also used in many plant-based recipes. Lastly, the fruits pair well with many assorted spices, especially cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Although, some date-based recipes call for chili and other spicier seasonings depending on the dish.
Ways You Can Feature Date-Infused Dishes On Your Menu
Below we have compiled a list of a few tasty beverages and meals that highlight the superfood’s sweet flavors. Our team hopes you may discover some ideas on how to feature more dates on your menu after reading through this list.
Date-Infused Fruit Smoothies
Like most fruits, dates make a terrific addition to blended smoothies. They act as an all-natural sweetener while simultaneously infusing your drink with essential vitamins and probiotics. Plus, smoothies are the perfect beverage to enjoy on the go or after a long gym session. The Dessert Valley Date’s team loves to make these delicious orange date nutmeg smoothies that also contain probiotic-packed Greek yogurt. The beverage offers the ideal combination of fall spices and citrus flavors, allowing one to enjoy it year-round.
Dates are essentially earth’s all-natural sweetener and, as a result, make a fantastic addition to baked goods. They taste great in freshly baked oatmeal cookies, dipped in decadent dark chocolate, and even ice cream (especially in our scrumptious caramel date chocolate chunk version). Furthermore, you can substitute date paste or syrup for sugar in various recipes as a vegan-friendly and gluten-free alternative. We also feature an entire blog post dedicated to baking with dates if you are interested in how to begin featuring the dried fruit in your own sweet treats.
Charcuterie & Cheese Boards
Charcuterie boards are featured on menus and at dinner parties around the nation. Dates pair well with cured meats, cheeses, and nuts (aka the most common additions to boards). Thus, you cannot go wrong by adding these dried fruits to your next charcuterie board. Dates can be presented on their own or stuffed with other tasty ingredients. Goat cheese and sharp cheese varieties are the ideal cheeses to serve with dates. When it comes to cured meats, just about any option will pair well with dates. If you are unsure what to choose, we suggest you go with prosciutto or chorizo. The salty flavors of these meats will balance out the sweetness of the fruits.
Date Syrup Based Cocktails
As mentioned earlier, the sticky fruit pairs well with several spirits. You can directly infuse liquor with fresh dates for a more potent flavor. However, this process does take a few hours to complete. Using date syrup is a quick and easy way to feature the fruit in your drinks. It is also a great natural alternative for sugar-filled simple syrup, which is often shaken with your cocktails. So, feel free to add date syrup into your next Martini, Old Fashioned, or Spiced Rum for a healthy yet flavorful alcoholic beverage.
Coffee & Chai Tea Lattes
Date syrup is also a splendid sweetener for coffees and teas. It tastes particularly delicious in spiced Chai tea lattes that feature a blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, star anise, and occasionally black pepper or fennel. All of these spices pair well with date’s sweet flavor, making the syrup the perfect addition to your next chai tea latte. Plus, you can enjoy the fruit’s health benefits without having to figure out what to cook.
Dates, date paste, and date syrup are all ingredients you can add to your ice creams. Whether you’ve gone plant-based or want a full-dairy indulgence, dates are a sweetener that adds caramel flavor, rich brown color, and increased health benefits to your ice creams.
Confit is a cooking method that preserves food by simmering it over a long period. The practice originated in France but has quickly spread to chefs across the globe. Making date confit is an excellent way to develop your culinary skills further and preserve the dried fruit for future meals. They are also a versatile fruit that pairs well with various meats and vegetables, including popular confit options like duck or lamb. Thus, you may incorporate dates in your confit regardless of what type of protein you plan to use.
French Toasts, Pancakes, & Waffles
Dates and maple syrup are sticky, sweet, and oh so delicious in their own respective ways. Therefore, fans of breakfast meals like French toast, pancakes, and waffles are sure to love this stellar flavor combination. Tossing a few dates on your meal alongside any other desired fresh fruit will leave you feeling energized and ready to tackle your busy morning.
Leafy Green Salads
All of the salad lovers out there may have just discovered their new favorite topping. Dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, and of course, dates, add sweetness and texture to your leafy green salads. We have prepared a tasty kale salad recipe that features avocado, chopped or diced dates, and pomegranate arils. It is the perfect winter salad to serve for lunch or dinner with some extra protein. Plus, there is simply no denying the incredible nutritional benefits that this superfood has to offer. Adding dates to your salad will leave you (and your gut) feeling satisfied and healthy throughout the day.
While it technically falls under baked goods, we felt that date-infused pudding deserved a section of its own. Dates make for an excellent pudding base due to their natural sweetness and spongy texture. They also taste delightful when paired with chocolate and other fruits. World-renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsey include dates in their pudding recipes. Ramsey’s famous sticky toffee pudding is a best seller at his Las Vegas restaurants. The dish is also a traditional dessert served across Australia and New Zealand.
Roasting your dates is one of the best ways to consume these tasty, dried fruits. It is also an extremely straightforward process that takes under ten minutes to complete. You can add other fruits, vegetables, nuts, and proteins to your roasting pan to elevate your dish further. We highly recommend using chopped bacon or pancetta for a bit of saltiness. Roasted dates make a great side dish or a quick snack.
Soups & Stews
Since it is officially winter, that means it is finally soup season! Dates are often featured in broth-based dishes like soups and stews. Those who enjoy Hot Pot, a Chinese cooking method that simmers a large tabletop pot of soup, may recognize dates in the traditional herbal broth. Allowing the dried fruit to simmer infuses your broth with essential nutrients and flavor. It is super a fun way to cook and enjoy a meal with your loved ones, considering it is typically served family-style.
Date Protein & Energy Bars
Protein bars are a fantastic snack that keeps you energized and full until your next meal. Dates are packed with numerous vital nutrients, including vitamin B, that will elevate your protein bars to new heights. Energy balls, which are a popular alternative to protein or granola bars, are also super simple to make with the help of date paste. Feel free to check out our date-infused energy ball recipe that features other superfoods like oats, chia seeds, flax seeds, and peanut butter.
Suppose you are hosting a party or looking for new appetizers for your restaurant’s menu. In that case, we highly suggest looking into stuffed dates recipes. Stuffed dates are a terrific appetizer option that easily adjusts to various dietary restrictions. In addition, we have a delectable stuffed bacon-wrapped dates recipe on our website. They are sure to be a hit at your next event! Be sure to contact our team if you choose to make this yummy dish. Dessert Valley Dates always loves to hear from our happy customers.
You can incorporate date paste into a myriad of different sauces for some extra sweetness and nutritional value. The tasty dried fruit makes a great addition to tangy and tart sauces, including the famous tamarind sauce, which is featured in many African, Asian, and Mexican dishes. You may also add fresh dates or date paste to Middle Eastern-inspired Tahini, a condiment made from toasted sesame seeds. Since dates are also sweet, they can be incorporated into baking sauces like brown sugar or caramel-based varieties. Our date paste barbecue sauce recipe is an excellent alternative to traditional store-bought varieties that often contain much sugar.
How desert Valley Dates Can Help
Desert Valley Dates is located in Coachella, California, a region known for producing some of the juiciest and most flavorful dates in the world. We offer both Medjool and Deglet Noor dates in our online shop. In addition, you will also find other fantastic products like date paste and syrup that are ideal for cooking delicious date-infused meals. Our team is passionate about our dates and believes they are essential in one’s diet. We could not be happier to play a role in serving our customer's high-quality dates for them to use in their future recipes.