Spicy Lemon Date Spread

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by Amy on November 12, 2012 · 5 comments

Seems like most people know how to cook their Thanksgiving turkey; what brine to use, how to stuff it, etc. And they are usually pretty committed to certain sides – glazed carrots, yams or mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce. But there’s a lot of wiggle room where the appetizers are concerned. That’s where I seem to deviate the most, anyway. 

Last year, I made 4 batches of the candied pecans. And this year I’m definitely putting out the chocolate acorns. But there has to be some type of dip with crackers, no?

I actually made this date spread for last year’s Superbowl party, but I remember thinking how perfect the flavors would be for Thanksgiving. And here we are, 11 days away!

Spicy Lemon Date Spread
Makes about 2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

• 2 1/2 cups pitted, pre-chopped dates (I used SunSweet)
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• 1 tablespoon fresh peeled grated ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 teaspoon salt

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add all ingredients to the pan and bring to a boil. Then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the water is evaporated, about 30 minutes. (The dates will begin to break down, and the simmering mixture will resemble a very thick stew.)

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Puree mixture until smooth.

Serve warm or at room temperature with naan or pita bread. (Spread will last, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.)

(adapted from Joy the Baker)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

the wicked noodle November 24, 2012 at 4:37 am

What an elegant appetizer! Had I seen this before Thanksgiving it would have definitely been on my list. Christmas it is!!


Joanne November 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm

What?!?!? No cream?!?!? Haha just kidding. I never seem to feel like there’s THAT much cream around here. I’ve never seen dates prepared in this savory way though…usually it’s all sweetsweetsweetsweetsweet. Definitely need to give this a go.


Katherine November 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm
Heather @ SugarDish(Me) November 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

I actually think I have everything I need to make this! I think maybe I should give it a “practice” run! My sister will be all over this. Thanks!!


Yasmin November 12, 2012 at 6:19 am

Excellent timing! I have a ton of dates and was wondering what to do with them. I must try this!


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