Spicy Lemon Date Spread



Have you ever tried to peel dates?

Yea… me neither.  Except I totally tried.  It was hard. It was futile.

Did you know you’re not supposed to peel dates? You’re not.  All it takes is one text to a friend.. and you’ll know for sure.

Texting with sticky fingers. It’s just real.  No biggie.


I love this spread.  It’s bold.  It’s how I want to live my whole life:  sweet, spicy, tart, and good on everything.

Yea… that’s exactly how I want to live my life.  Most days.  Most days are tart days.


This spread is flavored with lemon zest, fresh grated ginger, earthy cumin, and spicy chili flakes.  There’s also a load of fresh lemon juice.  Just lovely.  It packs a punch.


You saw the closeup.  This is a less close up.

I just can’t resist.  He’s all fluff.


This spread gets cooked down and pureed.

This is the cooked down part of the process.

Maybe I ate a hearty amount of spread just like this?  So what.  Stop staring.


I served this spicy sweet spread on warm garlic naan. It was divine!  It was piled on.  It was double dipped.  It was alluringly spicy and irresistibly sweet.  This spread would also be incredible on a turkey sandwich, or as a thick sauce with roasted chicken or pork, and smashed potatoes.

Think big! Live big too!

Spicy Lemon Date Spread

adapted just slightly from Party Like A Culinista

Print this Recipe!

makes about 2 cups of spread

2 1/2 cups pitted, chopped dates (dates don’t get peeled)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger (ginger gets peeled)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

scant 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon sea salt

warm naan or pita bread

extra virgin olive oil for serving

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add chopped dates, lemon juice, water, zest, ginger, and spices to the pan.  Simmer until almost all of the water is evaporated.  The dates will begin to break down, and the simmering mixture will resemble a very thick stew., about 30 minutes.

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

Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor fit with a blade attachment. Puree mixture until smooth.  That’s it!  Serve it up.

Spread is delicious warm and at room temperature.  Spread will last, covered in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

96 thoughts on “Spicy Lemon Date Spread

  1. I’m not going to lie, when I first read this I thought it was Spicy Lemon ‘Date’ Spread. Like something to eat on a date to kick it up a notch. Which actually, now that I think about it, hell yeah this is total date food.

    In general I’ve really been into spreads a lot lately. Perhaps it’s the stress of everything and the fact that fingerfoods are the best things to eat all the time. But have you tried Nigella Lawson’s Red Kidney Bean Dip from Feast? It’s like this, but instead of dates, red kidney beans and instead of lemon – limes! It’s pretty glorious and feels healthy. Win-win!

  2. Joy, where’d you get that amazing green chest that you sometimes take photos on? It’s beautiful. Have you had it for long? I struggle so with backdrops. Most of my Christmas list is like “a white shudder from an old house,” “a wheathered piece of wood, pink” and my family is like “come again?”

  3. I’m still kinda stunned that you got your cat a couple months after I got mine, and he’s SOOO much bigger than mine! Not that I’m calling Jules fat or anything… no, I swear I’m totally not. Maybe my cat is just oddly small, or less fluff? Who knows, cats rule.

  4. OMG! Just in the knick of time…..I was trying to come up with a new idea for a dip or spread for the Holidays! This sounds so delicious! Wonder if it would work well coating a piece of Boursin or Brie? Any thoughts?

    Thanks Joy, and you have my wishes for a joyeous & blessed Holiday to you and your Family!

  5. It looks fabulous. And you know who would love love this? My four year old! She loves dates and also eats lemons out of my husband’s water like they are orange slices. And spicy things…she’d be all over this even more than me :) But I would be all over it too, of course!

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