Raise your hand if you want to see something a little less carb-heavy and a little more healthy on the party table!
Don’t get me wrong, I love french fries and pretzels as much as the next party-goer, but these kinds of foods can quickly lead to a not-so-pleasant food coma.
Enter: Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates. These are one of my all-time favorite party snacks.
They’re ridiculously easy to make and everyone loves them!
People usually eye them for a few minutes because they’re not sure what they are, then say, “wow, that’s so good!” after trying one.
This appetizer is:
Healthy & Delicious
My dear friend Ann Wolter first taught me how to make these years ago with fresh figs.
She suggested using dates when I couldn’t find fresh figs and I’ve made them this way ever since. Thanks, Ann!
Dates are easier to come by and usually easier on the budget, but if you have a pile of fresh delicious figs they work beautifully here, too.
What I love about this healthy appetizer is that it’s a little unexpected and really stands out in a sea of bread-heavy appetizers.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates ingredients:
Goat cheese: I don’t use a lot of dairy, but one exception I occasionally make is goat cheese.
Goat’s milk is full of medium-chain fats that are much easier to digest than cow’s milk. It’s a little tangy and pairs really well with the sweetness of the dates and acid in the balsamic.
Use organic goat cheese if you can, but as always just buy the best ingredients you can afford. You can substitute a vegan cream cheese here to make this completely dairy-free and vegan.
Dates: Use Medjool dates here if you can, they are usually a little bigger and more plump. I recently found a big pack of Medjool dates in the produce section of Costco for a really good price.
You can also find them at most grocery stores. Dates are a dried fruit that are full of enzymes, minerals and fiber.
They do contain a decent amount of natural sugar, but they’re much better for you than anything with refined sugar.
Almonds: I prefer plain, raw, unsalted almonds here. The crunch of the almonds paired with the soft dates and tangy cheese make these little bites delightful.
The almonds will slightly toast in the oven, giving them a really delicious flavor. I’ve never tried this with another type of nut, but if you’re allergic to almonds you can leave them out.
Balsamic vinegar: The range in quality of balsamic vinegar goes somewhere between so acidic that it hurts your tongue, to sweet and balanced. Balsamic is one area that you want to get the best you can afford—the longer it’s aged the better.
There are also different textures of balsamic and the longer it’s aged, usually the thicker and more syrupy it is.
I use the Grand Reserve Balsamic Vinegar from Thrive Market for this dish. It’s thick and drizzles really well, plus, it’s a good price.
When buying balsamic, just make sure there isn’t any sugar added to it. A high-quality bottle won’t contain any additives.
The sweetness and silky texture come solely from the aging process.
- 12 Medjool dates
- 4oz soft goat cheese (chevre)
- 24 raw unsalted almonds
- Balsamic vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice each date in half, lengthwise, and remove the pit and stem.
- Set out a 9×13″ baking sheet. Fill each date with about ½ teaspoon of goat cheese and press one almond into each.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes, to warm through.
- Finish by drizzling the stuffed dates with a good quality, aged balsamic vinegar.
- If your vinegar is thin, reduce it in a saucepan over medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes to thicken it. Let cool before drizzling.
- Serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.
If you try them, let us know how they turn out in the comments below!