Trail Chef: Blue Cheese-Stuffed Dates

Power up the trail with these healthy energy bombs.

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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!