Similar to caramel flavor with a hint buttery texture, fully ripe dried dates have a plethora of functions in a variety of foods. Date dishes are perfect for hearty autumn and winter recipes, but they are not limited in potential.
They can be used to make salads, chopped into caramels, or blended in smoothies. Therefore, dates can also make a good snack, however they have a strong and bold sweet taste with notes of cinnamon, butterscotch, and toffee, selecting the pairing can become a tough decision.
What to eat with dates? Dates pair wonderfully with citrus fruits, cheese, chocolate, condiments and liquors. From baked goods to appetizers, dates can be used in various recipes.
For savory dishes, use dates to stuff or wrap with bacon to balance the sweet and salty taste.
On the other hand, nuts provide protein and complement the sweetness with a nutty taste. Try almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, and walnuts for optimal results.
Dates are easy to get during the holidays, and are even quite common throughout the year. This is especially true with Medjool dates compared to other varietals of dates.
There is no need to buy anything special because the delicious fruit will serve up a winning pairing when placed with the right ingredients. Here are some ways to enjoy dates the next time you have them on the menu.
Can dates be eaten with food?
Yes, dates can be eaten with food. In fact, dates are versatile and can make a sweet snack or delicious food pairing.
They are mostly eaten with foods such as soft cheese, almonds, or nut butter. Dates are also incredibly sticky, making them an excellent choice in baked goods like bars and cookies.
In baking, pair dates with chocolate, pudding cake, maple mascarpone and caramelized rum sauce to give a kick.
What goes well with dates?
Dates are a superfood that are often used in snacks, desserts, smoothies, and appetizers. But it require well established pairings to maximize the flavor and texture due to an overpowering sweetness when not controlled.
Dates can be paired with:
- Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
- Fruits: apples, apricots, bananas, pears, dried cherries, coconut, dried cranberries, currants, figs, lemon, lime, prunes, quince, raisins
- Cured meats: bacon
- Meats: chicken, lamb
- Liquors: brandy, rum
- Dairy: unsalted butter, buttermilk, cream, ice cream, cream cheese, creme fraiche, mascarpone
- Condiments: caramel, honey, maple syrup, brown and white sugar, vanilla
- Cheese: brie, explorateur, parmesan, pecorino, ricotta, Roquefort
- Herbs: chives, rosemary, thyme
- Spices: cinnamon, ginger
- Chocolate: dark, white
- Beverage: coffee
- Grains: couscous, oats
- Wine: red, sweet
What flavors go well with dates?
Dates are extremely sweet, therefore they work with salty flavors such as cured meats. But they can also go well with tangy flavors such as dairy and cheese.
For warm flavors, try pairing with fruit and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and other fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas.
Here are classic flavor combinations that chefs use when combining dates in recipes:
- dates + caramel + vanilla + walnuts
- dates + chocolate + walnuts
- dates + cream + rum
- dates + maple syrup + mascarpone + pistachios
- dates + orange + walnuts
Eat with Dates: Conclusion
Dates are a versatile dried fruit that pairs well with almost anything from yogurt to pancakes, oatmeal and bacon.
With the right ingredients, it makes a sweet afternoon pick-me-up, an evening snack, or an entree side dish that will match up with nearly everything.
Thanks to their natural sweetness, eating dates plain is the easiest way to use in the diet. Try with citrus fruits, cheese, chocolate, liquors, and basic condiments.
For healthy protein to match with dates, pair with almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, and walnuts.
From savory to sweet desserts, smoothies, and snacks, dates are an alternative sweetener instead of artificial sweetener. Use the tips in this guide to explore new ways to eat dates in combinations you would not have explored otherwise.