March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Dates — a very sweet fruit that's high in potassium and fiber — have a 5,000-year history in the Middle East and parts of the Mediterranean. Often mixed into sweet-savory main dishes and desserts, dates are traditionally eaten as the first food when breaking the fast during Ramadan. Stuffed with nuts, soft cheese and dried fruit, dates provide a sweet complement to savory dishes during autumn and winter holiday dinners … and they're a fast, elegant, seemingly "decadent" option with sweet desserts.
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons finely-snipped fresh rosemary
¾ pound (about 24) pitted fresh Medjool dates
½ cup (about 1½ ounces) coarsely-chopped walnuts
Fresh rosemary, for garnish
- Combine mascarpone cheese and rosemary in a small bowl, incorportating well. Cover. Refrigerate for about 1 hour for flavors to blend.
- Slit the dates along one side. Stuff each date with about 1 teaspoon mascarpone cheese mixture, leaving the slit slightly open to expose the cheese mixture.
- Dip the cheese-stuffed dates in the walnuts along the slit, allowing the walnuts to coat the cheese mixture.
- Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.
- Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
Serving size: 2 dates
Calories: 150; Calories from fat: 70; Total fat: 8g; Saturated fat: 2.5g; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 5mg; Total carbohydrate: 22g; Dietary fiber: 2g; Sugars: 19g; Protein: 2g