The best thing about these—or second best actually, after the taste—is how incredible your house will smell while they’re baking. All those middle eastern spices in the meat, along with the dates themselves … it’s a beautiful cacophony of aromas. Also a great option for Tu Bishvat, when we eat the seven fruits of Israel, including dates.

Ingredients

  • 20-25 medjool dates
  • ½ lb ground beef or lamb
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts
  • ½ heaping tablespoon medium-heat harissa paste
  • 3 tbsp very finely diced or minced onion
  • ⅛ cup chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Slit the dates open and remove the pits. Set aside.
  3. Mix the ground beef with all the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Take small amounts of the ground beef mixture, approximately 1 heaping tablespoon at a time (depending on the size of your date), and roll into a small ball. Press into the date and spread out so it fills the date. Keep in mind, the meat will shrink when cooked, so don’t skimp on the filling.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Cut one open to make sure they are cooked through.
  6. Serve warm, with tahini sauce (tahini paste mixed with water, lemon juice, salt and garlic) on the side or drizzled on top.

Yields: 20-25 stuffed dates