Often referred to as "Devils on Horseback," these dairy free bacon wrapped dates are the perfect party appetizer. Easy to make, pretty to look at, and the perfect balance of salty and sweet!
This devils on horseback recipe is just one of five recipes in my paleo super bowl snacks post – where I walk you through (in the form of a football game!) preparing an entire super bowl spread that is healthy, paleo, and Whole30 compliant. Game on!
The Origin of "Devils on Horseback"
Devils on Horseback. What a weird name for a food. Why not just call them "bacon wrapped dates?"
I was super curious as to where the name came from, so I turned to the always-trusted-must-be-true-cause-its-on-the-internet Wikipedia page to find out. Apparently, 'Angels on Horseback' is the name for a bacon wrapped oyster.
I found a few different sources that said that Devils on Horseback are often times prunes or other dried fruit, are served hot, and can be stuffed with an almond.
An almond? This is weird to me - I feel like that would provide an incredibly hard crunchy thing and throw the texture off.
Whenever I've had a devils on horseback recipe in the past, they've been stuffed with cheese. Glorious, glorious cheese. ("Cheeeese, Grommit!")
Michelle Tam over at Nom Nom Paleo is one of the OG paleo bloggers out there. She's got this recipe in her cookbook for macadamia nut ricotta, and I was completely and totally skeptical - until I had it.
The first time we tried it was in her eggplant stacks (and I'm not even really a huge eggplant fan) where you stack eggplant, tomato, this "cheese" and fresh basil and drizzle the whole thing with balsamic vinegar. Ermagawd. It was amazing.
So I started thinking - where else could I use this dairy free ricotta? This devils on horseback recipe immediately came to mind. The perfect place with the need for cheese, but a volume of cheese that would make me likely feel terrible the next day.
There's a little bit of prep work involved in this devils on horseback recipe. You'll have to cook the bacon, obvi, but that's pretty passive because you're going to bake it in the oven.
Other than that, the most time consuming thing is actually wrapping the dates and stabbing them through with a toothpick to pin down the bacon.
Devils on horseback "unwrapped"
About halfway through, I got sick of wrapping the dates, and figured if I were sick of it, you probably would be too.
So, I decided to try some other methods that would provide the same flavor combo.
Round 2: My next go at it involved chopping some of the bacon up into crumbles, then sprinkling that on top of the filling to make it stick. They look pretty cute, but can also look like little miniature loaded baked potatoes, which is probably not what we're going for.
Round 3: This was by far my favorite. I took the chopped up bacon, mixed it up into the "ricotta," and stuffed it into the date. Boom. No wrapping, no stabbing, no trying to make bacon balance on top and not fall off.
If you're going for simplicity, this option is where it's at. If you're taking them to a party or a friend's house, the wrapped ones make a much prettier presentation, though.
Up your devils on horseback recipe game
Want to make them extra delicious? Drizzle with some balsamic vinegar.
Want to make them extra extra delicious? Reduce the balsamic vinegar in a pot on the stove while you're stuffing the dates and the bacon is cooking. It will thicken and get sticky.
If you're not sure how to do that, you can find it in this post!
- ½ lb bacon
- 10 ounces macadamia nuts, about 2 cups
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds pitted medjool dates
- Preheat the oven to 400 °.
- Lay the strips of bacon out on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. You want it cooked through, but not crispy, otherwise you won't be able to wrap with it!
- While the bacon is cooking, combine the macadamia nuts, lemon juice, water, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and run until the texture resembles ricotta cheese. (You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.)
- Split each date open lengthwise, then stuff with the macadamia nut mixture.
- When the bacon is finished, allow to cool slightly, then wrap each date with a piece of bacon and hold in place with a toothpick.
- Alternate endings: crumble the bacon and top each date with it, or crumble the bacon and stir it into the nut mixture before stuffing.
- Bonus: drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
- Double bonus: Reduce the balsamic before drizzling.
This devils on horseback recipe uses a homemade, dairy free "cheese." If you are not concerned about dairy free, simply substitute a regular soft cheese (I recommend ricotta or goat cheese) for the macadamia nut cheese.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 25 Serving Size: 1 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 220Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 29gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 5g