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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Trail Chef: Blue Cheese-Stuffed Dates

Power up the trail with these healthy energy bombs.

by: Kristin Bjornsen



Last Saturday, my friend Shelly introduced me to what I'm tempted to call the most brilliant pairing of ingredients since peanut butter and M&Ms: baked dates stuffed with blue cheese. Unwrapping some aluminum foil, she handed me one of these still-warm morsels, and I bit into it somewhat skeptically.

I was immediately converted. 

The sweet date instantly dissolves in your mouth, while the cheese rounds things out with a smooth, savory flavor. Compact and high in fruit sugars and protein, it's the perfect trail snack. Plus, because of the fiber, your body digests the dates gradually, so you have a continual stream of energy, rather than a spike followed by a sugar crash. I do, however, recommend nibbling them, rather than scarfing, so you can savor the rich flavor. Here is the recipe, originally from Vegetarian Times:

Blue Cheese–Stuffed Dates

24 dried dates
1/4 cup nutritional yeast or dried breadcrumbs
4 oz. blue cheese (you can also use goat cheese or cream cheese)

At home
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slit dates down one side and remove pits. Place nutritional yeast or breadcrumbs on a small plate. Stuff each pitted date with 1 teaspoon blue cheese, pressing sides together. Dip the slitted side of each date into the nutritional yeast to coat the cheese. Place the dates on a baking sheet, slit side up, and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until dates are hot and cheese is soft. Let stand five minutes. 

Now you're ready to wrap a handful in some aluminum foil, place them in a Tupperware container or a zip-top bag, and hit the trail. At your first rest break, offer the tasty tidbits to your unsuspecting friends and be prepared for lots of ooohs, awws, and mmms!






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Brittany
Apr 06, 2012

My aunt made these last summer and she calls them devils on horseback. But she wraps the dates with prosciutto or bacon then top it off with a sage leaf. Their best served on the grill. yum o

Mike O.
Dec 05, 2011

Made these last week. Make sure the dates you use are fresher or at least not packaged in a vacuum sealed bag. The only new I could find to try this recipe came that way and while they were still very tasty, the skin of the dates weren't exactly delectable. I still highly recommend these little buggers, just make sure to use quality ingredients unlike *this guy*...

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winnowedsoul
Sep 12, 2011

dates with soft cheese of your desire, blue, goat, borsin, whatever you have and pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)....they are addictive, I ate these as an app but never thought about them as trail food but OMG I am glad I ran across the idea before My AT hike next year

Laurie Ann
Jun 11, 2011

It's also delicious to stuff dried figs with a walnut half and some goat cheese and do the same thing. Yummy stuff for a day hike or the first day on the trail.

Seton
Jun 03, 2011

Yes we did love them Alissa, especially with your addition of the bacon wrap!

Alissa
Jun 01, 2011

Made these last weekend for a day hike along the PCT near Campo. Oh, how my trail mates love me!!!!

Dicentra
May 20, 2011

Well yum!!

Warm them back up in the campfire? And I agree. Walnuts. Or pine nuts!

Sasquach
May 19, 2011

These are rediculously tasty! Made some for my weekend trip with my mom (Used St. Andre instead of blue because it was in my fridge) and gave a few to my boyfriend (also an avid hiker.) Kudos to the tasty combo! Thanks for posting

Jason
May 05, 2011

Made a few of these for my trip this weekend. Finely chopped some bacon bits, walnuts, and mixed with the blue cheese. Melted the blue cheese slightly, then stuffed the dates. Awesome stuff.

Ed
Apr 29, 2011

Walnuts...add walnuts...trifecta.

D. Phipps
Apr 29, 2011

If you're not a fan of blue cheese, try a cheese like Manchego aged 6mo. My recipe also includes wrapping in a half piece of bacon and broiling rather than baking (probably for the bacon). But dates and cheese are a great combo. Mmm...nom...nom...nom...

Mike
Apr 28, 2011

How long do you think these would keep at room temperature?

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