DATES are not only a favourite accompaniment on the table during Ramadan, it is also a versatile fruit that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

There is a common misconception that dates, derived from the Phoenix dactylifera (date palm), can only be used in desserts because of its sweet, rich texture. Dates also provide a pleasant earthy flavour to savoury dishes such as couscous, hummus, spreads, salads, fried rice and chutneys, for example.   Because they are naturally very sweet, it makes for a great alternative to sugar, especially in breakfast smoothies, cookies and cakes.   Like the stuffed gourmet dates you see in high-end stores, it costs much less to make them on your own where you can experiment with the stuffing.  

1. Date, Coconut and Cashewnut Smoothie

Smoothies are excellent for sahur (pre-dawn meal), as they are nutritious and filling. You just need a blender and can play around by adding fruits and nuts.

Date Coconut Shake (1)

2. Vegetarian Couscous with Dates

Couscous (tiny granules made from steamed and dried durum wheat) is great to replace rice and pasta for sahur or iftar (breaking fast). It is so versatile that you can add a host of accompaniments from nuts and fruits to vegetables as well as meat.

Vegetarian Cous Cous with Dates

3. Hazelnut Chocolate and Orange Peel Stuffed Dates

This is one way to jazz up plain dates and serves as a great dessert on its own.

Chocolate, Orange Peel Stuffed Dates

4. Coffee Chicken Sandwich with Goat Cheese, Date Spread

Ground coffee, which serves as a dry rub for the chicken, provides an excellent smoky flavour. Together with the cheese date spread, it creates a nice balance with rustic sourdough bread.

Coffee Chicken Sandwich with Goat Cheese, Date Spread

5. Apple, Pecan and Date Crumble

Unlike apple pie, this is much easier to make as you don’t have to deal with a pastry crust. A great comfort food dessert for any day of the week. The dates already provide sweetness, so you can reduce the amount of sugar according to preference.

Apple, Pecan, Date Crumble (1)

6. Apple, Dates and Cheddar Muffin


7. Sticky Date Pudding Muffins

8. Date Loaf

9. Fruit Chutney

10. Date Pudding in Cream Sauce

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