Vegan bacon wrapped dates are an ideal appetizer for a dinner party. Filled with vegan cheese or nut butter & wrapped in seitan bacon, it’s a starter that feels fancy but is so quick and easy to make.
Serve them for romantic holidays like Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, or any special evening with friends.
If you love when smoky and sweet come together, you’re going to be a huge fan of vegan bacon wrapped dates.
While non-vegan stuffed dates usually involve animal-based bacon & non-dairy cheese, it’s super easy to veganize this standard with a couple simple swaps.
Seitan bacon is great for wrapping foods, because of its pliability.
And any spreadable vegan cheese or nut butter will work for the filling. (I give loads of options below!)
Then it’s just a matter of filling, wrapping, and frying.
It’s an appetizer that’s sure to impress. No need to let them know they were super simple to make!
This recipe uses just four ingredients:
- Vegan cream cheese (or any spreadable non-dairy cheese or nut butter)
- Seitan bacon
- Oil for frying
What does a date taste like?
Dates have an almost caramel-like sweetness and texture. They have a gentle give, pull, and chew when you bite into them. Some call it nature’s candy!
They somewhat resemble a large raisin in appearance with its dry, wrinkly exterior. But once you pull them open, dates have more moisture and stickiness inside.
Where to find dates
Look for dates in the produce section of the grocery store. You can find them at Trader Joe’s and most natural grocery stores, as well as Indian & Middle Eastern markets.
If you can’t find them in the refrigerated area, look for them near the other dried fruits.
You can use either pitted or unpitted dates.
If you buy dates with pits, you’ll need to remove the pits first. (Directions & pictures showing how to do that below.)
For this recipe, if you prefer a higher ratio of salty to sweet, use a smaller date like Deglets. If you like a sweeter, more caramel focused appetizer, go with Medjool dates, which are larger.
Deglets also tend to be less expensive than Medjool.
Spreadable vegan cheese
For these vegan wrapped dates, use any spreadable vegan cheese that you enjoy – store-bought or homemade.
- Vegan cream cheese
- Homemade vegan feta cheese – soft from the blender or baked
- Homemade tofu ricotta (Blend until creamy in the food processor)
- Miyoko’s Cheers to Cheddar
You can even cut a block of non-dairy cheese into small, skinny rectangles. Then stuff it inside of the empty date cavity. Cheddar-style is especially nice.
Another option instead of vegan cheese is nut butter. Almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, or pistachio butter are all delicious here.
Nut butter adds a delicious salty, nutty element that is super addictive.
Or you can use a whole Marcona almond inside the date for crunch.
Seitan bacon is my favorite vegan bacon option. It’s full of protein & made of wheat. It’s also nice & pliable for wrapping dates.
Seitan is a fully cooked product right out of the package. So you don’t have to worry about cooking it a long time like you would animal-based bacon. Just browning it is enough for texture & heat.
There are loads of seitan bacon brands on the market. My two favorites are Herbivorous Butcher & Upton’s Naturals.
Seitan bacon varies in size. So get out your kitchen shears for this recipe. You’ll want to cut the bacon into long, thin strips for easy wrapping.
Upton’s Naturals has shorter, smaller bacon. So plan on cutting that in half length-wise down the middle.
Herbivorous Butcher has large pieces of bacon that can accommodate anywhere from 2 to 4 dates, depending on the strip of bacon. You can cut it in half lengthwise & possibly in quarters.
Step by step instructions
Use a kitchen knife to slice into a date down the center length-wise. Be careful not to cut all the way through it.
Use your fingers to spread it open, and remove the hard pit inside with your fingers.
(If you’re using pitted dates, you won’t need to remove it, of course.)
Use a butter knife to spread vegan cheese (or nut butter) generously into the empty date cavity.
Use kitchen shears to cut seitan bacon into long skinny strips.
Wrap a strip of seitan bacon around each stuffed date, and secure with a toothpick. Continue until all of the dates are wrapped.
Fill a skillet with a shallow layer of organic canola oil (or other high heat oil). Bring to a medium high heat.
Fry the wrapped dates until they are browned on one side. Carefully flip using the toothpicks and/or a spatula. Continue frying until they’re fully browned on all sides.
Move the browned dates to a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil. Then serve while hot.
Can they be made ahead of time?
Vegan bacon wrapped dates are great for making ahead of a party or get together.
Remove the pits (if necessary), stuff with vegan cheese, wrap with seitan bacon, and secure with a toothpick.
Once you’ve stuffed & wrapped all of them, pop them into a covered container in the refrigerator, so that they don’t get dried out. They will keep for about three days that way.
Once your guests have arrived, put a shallow amount of oil in a skillet, bring to a medium high heat, and fry your stuffed dates.
How to store leftovers
Keep any leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator. They will keep for about three days. Enjoy them cold or at room temperature.
Or you can gently re-fry them in a little oil in a skillet to reheat.
The original fry should have sealed the bacon together. So you likely won’t need to add toothpicks again.
Vegan bacon wrapped dates
- 20 dates
- ¼ to ½ cup vegan cream cheese or any spreadable vegan cheese or nut butter
- 5 ounces seitan bacon
- Organic canola oil or your preferred high heat oil, for frying
- Slice each date down the center lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through it. If the dates still have their pits and/or hard stems, remove them using your fingers.
- Using a butter knife or spoon, put a generous amount of spreadable vegan cheese or nut butter into each date.
- Use kitchen shears or a serrated knife to cut seitan bacon into long thin strips. You'll need 20 long strips in total.(If you're using Upton's Naturals seitan bacon, you can cut each strip in half lengthwise. If using a larger bacon like Herbivorous Butcher, you may be able to cut each strip into quarters, depending on the specific slice & the size of your dates.)
- Roll each date with a skinny strip of bacon. Then secure it with a toothpick through the center.Continue until all of the dates are wrapped.
- Heat oil in a non-stick skillet to a medium heat with enough to fully cover the bottom, about ¼ inch. When the oil is hot enough to easily bubble around the dates when added to the skillet, shallow fry them for a total of 3-5 minutes. (If necessary, fry in batches so that the pan isn't overcrowded.) Use the toothpicks and/or a spatula to carefully turn the dates as they brown, until they are fully browned all over.
- Once they are evenly browned, put the dates on a towel-covered plate to drain. Remove the toothpicks from the dates if desired.
- Move the dates to a serving platter, and serve immediately.
Content, recipe, and photos updated February 17, 2022. Originally posted September 11, 2013.