These goat cheese stuffed dates are an easy and delicious vegetarian appetizer for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, dinner parties, or any other festive occasion. They have the perfect balance of sweet and savoury flavours and a satisfying creamy texture with just a little crunch from the pecans.
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I find it’s best to use medjool dates in this recipe, because they’re bigger than most other varieties of date so they’re perfect for stuffing. If you buy them already pitted, just coax the dates open into a bowl shape. Or if they’re not pitted, simply cut a little lengthwise slit in the date and remove the pit first.
I love the combination of dates, goat cheese, pecans, and chives, so that’s the combo I went with in this recipe, but you can certainly substitute different cheeses and nuts (or seeds if you prefer a nut-free stuffed date).
Walnuts, blue cheese, and green onions would be a delicious alternative combination. Or cheddar, pumpkin seeds, and a small sprinkling of very finely chopped red onion would work well too.
How to make them
The basic formula for this appetizer is take a date, stuff it with cheese, add a nut or a few seeds, then sprinkle some chives or onion on top before baking.
The final step is to add a pinch of salt and pepper and bake these goat cheese stuffed dates in the oven to let all the flavours meld together and allow the pecans to toast a little. 10 minutes is just enough time to mellow the flavour of the chives a little and let the cheese get warm and melty.
You can prepare these stuffed dates a day in advance if that makes things easier for the holidays. Just get the dates stuffed and ready to go, then store them in an airtight container until party time. Then transfer them to a baking tray and pop them in the oven as your guests are arriving so you can serve them warm and toasty at your holiday party.
If you prefer to make a vegan version of these stuffed dates, you can certainly substitute the goat cheese with your favourite variety of vegan cheese. Or skip the cheese altogether and add a generous drizzle of tahini to replace some of the creaminess that the cheese provides.
Give these goat cheese and pecan stuffed dates a try and I suspect you’ll be serving them as a party appetizer year after year. Scale this recipe up if you’re feeding a crowd (2 per person should be perfect).
More vegetarian appetizer recipes
For another vegetarian appetizer for parties, try these stovetop candied pecans. They’re sweet and a little salty with just the right amount of spice.
Or try this vegan cheese sauce with nutritional yeast served with some chips, crackers, or cut up raw veggies. It’s easy to make and so tasty.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
- 12 medjool dates
- 140 grams of goat cheese (approximately 2/3 cup)
- 12 pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Pit the medjool dates (if not already pitted) and use your fingers to coax the dates into a bowl shape.
- Stuff each date with 1/2 teaspoon of goat cheese.
- Add a sprinkle of chopped chives on top of the goat cheese.
- Press a single pecan half into each date.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the dates.
- Place the stuffed dates on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
- Makes 12 goat cheese stuffed dates.
- These can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them.
- You can substitute other cheeses, nuts, or seeds according to your preference.
I’m Jennifer, the author at A Sweet Alternative. I create simple, gluten-free recipes made with nutritious ingredients.