Make This Secret Weapon Spread, Be Rewarded with a Week's Worth of Meals

February 19, 2017

Get halfway to dinner with date paste—really! We partnered with Natural Delights to share how to make a date paste with Medjool dates that'll last for a week's worth of evening meals, from steak to salad to grain bowls.

Date paste (aka dates pulsed with water until you get a sweet, thick, rich spread) is a natural sweetener commonly found in baked goods and smoothies. It delivers a deep caramel flavor in an easily mixable, swirlable form. Sounds familiar, like honey and maple syrup, huh? So why can’t date paste also go to the savory side? It keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for a week and is scoopable right from the freezer, too, ready to add dates' flavor to your dinners in a jiff (no more surprise date pits in your salad).

What's that? Date paste? Photo by James Ransom

Put dates to the grind so you don't have to. Here's how date paste can turn into a week of not-boring dinners:

your grocery list

  • 2 cups of Medjool dates
  • Gochujang or similar chile paste
  • Hot honey (or make it yourself)
  • A little quinoa
  • Israeli couscous (or substitute more quinoa)
  • Can of chickpeas
  • Prosciutto
  • A steak for every mouth you're feeding
  • Any kind of squash you like
  • Parsley
  • A shallot
  • A selection of the prettiest oranges and grapefruits
  • Arugula
  • Some feta
  • Greek yogurt
  • A baguette

Your 5 dinners

Sunday: Make the date paste by pouring 1 1/3 cups hot water over 2 cups of pitted dates. Let them soak for about an hour, and then blend well using a food processor.

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Monday: Cook your steak to your liking. While it rests, stir some date paste with the gochujang—the ratio of ingredients depending on how sweet or spicy you want the dipping sauce for your steak.

Tuesday: Halve the baguette lengthwise and cut into sandwich-sized pieces. Toast the bread, then slather the insides with date paste (you could add some mustard, too, if you had it around). Layer on the prosciutto and arugula.

Wednesday: Heat your oven to 375°F. Peel your squash and chop it into bite-size pieces. Drain and rinse your chickpeas. In a big bowl, mix them together with some salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spread the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to package directions (or you could use quinoa). Mix in some chopped parsley. Spoon some date paste onto a plate, and spoon over couscous, squash, and chickpeas.

Thursday: Toast quinoa in a dry skillet (like Amanda taught us here). Make a puddle of yogurt, swirl in some date paste, and sprinkle the quinoa over top.

Friday: You made it through the week! Doesn't it feel good? Wasn't it easy? End the week with something sunshiney. Mix the date paste with some warm water until it reaches a dressing consistency. Grate half to a quarter of the shallot and mix it in, along with salt and pepper. Peel the citrus and slice it longitudinally. Spread slices out on plate, dab with pieces of feta, garnish with some parsley, and then drizzle over the dressing.

Tell us: What are your favorite ways to eat dates?

We partnered with Natural Delights to share a date paste made from Medjool dates that'll last for a week's worth of evening meals. Find out more about Natural Delights Medjool dates here.

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Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.