Cooking with Maria Hines: Sour Cherry Date Nut Roll Recipe

James Beard Award-winning chef Maria Hines helps you level-up your next outdoor gathering with a recipe for a grab-and-go outdoor snack.

Published January 14, 2022

Ingredients for date nut rolls

Sour Cherry Date Nut Roll

Makes 4-6 servings | Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo, Keto

Tip: For easier grab-and-go, wrap cut pieces in small individual squares of parchment paper before storing.


  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 6 medjool dates, halved and pitted
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds


Step 1

In a food processor, add all ingredients except for the sunflower seeds. Pulse until the mixture is blended thoroughly and resembles a thick, chunky paste.

Step 2

Scrape the mixture from the food processor directly onto a piece of parchment paper, spreading it into a rough log shape with a rubber spatula; it will be very sticky. Fold the parchment over the mixture and use your hands to roll the log back and forth, shaping it into a more even cylinder, about 1 inch in diameter. Roll the log up fully in the parchment and place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the chilled log from the refrigerator and unfurl the parchment. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on the parchment paper and roll the log back and forth to cover it completely in sunflower seeds, pressing lightly with your fingers or a spatula to help the seeds stick. Try to maintain the log shape while rolling.

Step 4

Once the log is lightly covered in sunflower seeds, cut it with a sharp knife into approximately 2-inch sections; store in an airtight container for up to 1 month in the refrigerator, or freeze for 2 months. You can also leave them at room temperature for up to 2 weeks without sacrificing quality.

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Recipe from Chef Maria Hines, Peak Nutrition: Smart Fuel for Outdoor Adventure.

This year, REI collaborated with West Elm to co-create a collection that makes it easier than ever to make yourself at home outside. To celebrate, we invited Maria Hines, a James Beard Award-winning chef and co-author of Peak Nutrition: Smart Fuel for Outdoor Adventure, to show you how to level-up your next outdoor gathering with tasty and nutritious dishes.