These dates are great for a dinner party, since you can do all of the cheese-making, date-filling, and bacon-wrapping ahead of time. Just excuse yourself from your guests for a few minutes to give them a quick fry, and you’re good to go. Makes 40 dates.
1package Upton’s Naturals seitan bacon(or 8 ounces of your favorite vegan bacon)
Organic canola or vegetable oilfor frying
Start by making the cashew cheese. Drain the cashews and put them in the food processor with miso paste, nutritional yeast flakes, and extra-virgin olive oil. Blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides, add the chopped fresh basil, and continue to blend until fully combined. (The cheese will be very thick and paste like. That is a good thing, because it will stay in the dates and not ooze out during the frying process.)
Slice each date down the center long-ways, being careful not to cut all the way through it. Using a spoon, put a generous amount of cashew cheese into each date.
Open the package of Upton’s seitan bacon, and slice as many pieces of bacon as you’ll need down the center long-ways, making two equal pieces for each strip of bacon. (The amount of strips vary slightly in each package. There are about 20 strips of bacon in every package, and so ideally one package will be enough for 40 dates.) Roll each date in its own half-strip of bacon, securing it with a toothpick through the center.
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 3-5 minutes. (If necessary, fry in batches so that the pan isn't overcrowded.) Move the dates as needed, so that every side gets evenly fried.
Once they are evenly browned, put the dates on a towel-covered plate to drain. Remove the sticks from the dates if desired, move them to a serving platter, and serve immediately.
I recommend using smaller dates, as opposed to Medjool dates, to insure that the bacon can easily wrap around each one. Plus, for each date to be equal parts salty, sweet, and smoky, a smaller date is ideal.