Sesame is the Matt Damon of seeds – quiet, shy and underappreciated yet unquestionably tasty.
In Hinduism, the sesame seed stands for immortality. Eyebrows sufficiently raised? Wait until you taste the halva recipe below.
Notions of everlasting life might come from the sesame’s stash of lignans. These are a group of plant-based chemical compounds associated with fighting cancer. Or perhaps such fancy can be attributed to its bank of B vitamins? This is the vitamin responsible
for recharging batteries, massaging frayed nerves and mending marriages. Not bad for half a cent per gram, and notably less than a psychotherapist.
There’s a nice whack of omega oils to keep madam’s skin feverishly soft, and zinc to boost libido. Take a bow Mother Nature!
Sesame also contains a fair dose of plant-based protein, without the side serving of cholesterol. In fact, studies from Yale suggest that sesame seeds could help reduce the risk of arteriosclerotic lesions (that’s Doctor speak for sticky arteries) and high blood pressure.
If you’re worried about acquiring dodgy hips later in life, brittle bones or treacherous dance moves, then jack-up your calcium foods. These include tinned salmon and sarnies, chickpeas, broccoli, figs, sesame seeds, tahini, almonds, hazelnuts and green leafy veg.
We know that good bone health is intimately linked to what we eat. Dr Marilyn Glenville, specialist in women’s health, is dubious about dairy’s monopoly on ‘calcium’ in our diet. Why, Glenville asks, is our rate of osteoporosis much higher than Japan’s rate? (where they don’t even eat dairy?) A good question, worthy of further head-scratching. Glenville is not alone. New York Times best-selling author, Dr Joel Fuhrman, doesn’t rate dairy at all. Fuhrman’s medical research and experience as a GP has entirely reversed his thinking about dairy.
So lets explore alternative sources of calcium, without having to mourn our cheese board. Lucky for us, this sesame halva is a great place to start. Find more flavours here, and a 3-minute demo on how to make a coffee version here.
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
up to 1/2 cup maple syrup or raw local honey
2 teaspoons of real vanilla extract (or the seeds from half a pod)
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
300-340g jar of light tahini (this is just 100% sesame butter)
10-15 roasted almonds / hazelnuts
4 dried figs, diced**
On a very gentle heat, slowly melt the coconut oil. Remove from heat, and stir in maple/honey, vanilla and salt.
With a fork, beat through the tahini, nuts and figs**. Smash a few roasted hazelnuts to tickle the top.
Scoop the halva mix into a small rectangular container lined with cling film. Freeze for 5 hours, remove cling, wrap in parchment, and store it there until the munchies come calling.
Expect the block to give 32 portions. And euphoria.
** just swap out the figs for whatever you fancy, like pomegranate and pistachio, coffee beans and raw caca nibs, vanilla and popped quinoa for kids. Make it your own!
Taking the hell out of healthy.
Hit “BOOM” at the top left corner with your email address my friend, to receive a new weekly recipe direct to your inbox.
[…] far, I’ve made healthy breakfast bars, the INCREDIBLE halva (this has to be tried to be believed. The best thing I’ve eaten in ages) curried […]
I made this with pomegranate, honey and hazelnuts. Yum!!! Only thing is it melted completely outside the fridge. Did I do something wrong? It’s in the freezer now reformed and I can keep it there but just wondering. I’ve been looking for a healthy halvah for awhile. tHank you!
Yes, I keep mine always in the freezer, and just slice shards from it as and when the mood hollers 😉 So glad you made it! x SJ
I made the healthy halva at the weekend and I am addicted!! It is just divine. Are there any other combinations you would recommend to vary it from the fig/nut combination in recipe? Thank you.
Yes! Definitely! Pomegranate & honey; goji berry; or walnut, carob powder and raisins. Have fun!
Brilliant…thanks for the reply 🙂
Goji Berry with pistachio!
Ah man. Fabulous!
Hi. Do you store the halva in the freezer?
Absolutely. It won’t set in the fridge!
I made it with pomegranate. Absolutely delicious!! Yum!
tiny portion size, is there a reason you have made them so small?
To share with more people! I find them very dense and filling, but you’re welcome to make a lot less squares from it 😉
Hi Susan, I’m type 1 diabetic and wondering if halva is suitable or could be made more diabetic friendly?
If you stick to using dark agave, your blood sugar levels should behave! (provided moderation is the mantra too!)
p.s. also leave out any dried fruit. Instead, go for pomegranate seeds or goji berries in the halva which have a very low glycemic load
Can a diabetic have raw honey? Wondering if u can hve the vanilla extract?
For diabetics, I’d recommend pure vanilla beans (scraped from the pod) to avoid sugar syrups. Instead of honey, agave nectar has a much lower GL as does brown rice syrup. There are pluses and minuses to all sweeteners! Maple and honey still require insulin to break them down, I believe. I was pre-diabetic for years, and found agave useful but not perfect )it’s high in fructose). Hope this helps!
[…] bee pollen and cut into pieces. Pop it back into the freezer and freeze for a few more hours. The original recipe is from the phenomenally talented Susan Jane White. I skipped the nuts since the other two sweets […]
[…] And what about the food we eat? Nothing wrong with a good turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce and plum pudding. All delicious stuff! But I was thinking the other day, why not serve up a menu of Middle Eastern fare. After all, that’s the part of the world Jesus is from. I’m thinking roast chicken, tabbouleh, and hummus, and for dessert, halva. […]
hi there! this looks so tasty and decadent… do you know how long it keeps in the freezer?
3 months, but we find it can be challenging 😉
I made this earlier having never before tried halva. My mind has been blown. My entire family loved the stuff and we cut it into little sweet sized squares and got about 55 out of it! It’s absolutely delicious and I can’t wait to experiment with different flavours 😀
THRILLED you made it! This is our favourite for over a decade. You can never tire of the combos. Enjoy xxx
Ah soo lookin forward to making this halva, would it be ok to do half half with surup and raw cane sugar.
Thanks can’t wait to make..
Sugar won’t work I’m afraid. You could try any other liquid sweetener (even stevia drops work). Hope it rocks your kitchen! SJ
Hi Susan Jane!
I met you briefly in Fumbally Exchange before 🙂 I hope you are doing well!
I’ve just made this and put it in the freezer – so excited to taste it in a few hours or tomorrow.
Was just wondering what the purpose of the cling film and parchment are. Is it just to make the block easier to remove from the rectangular container?
How long will it take to defrost if it’s too hard to cut into pieces when I take it out of the freezer?
Yes exactly – it will stick to the container otherwise. And don’t worry – you can slice it immediately! (If your freezer is -18 industrial one, wait 3 minutes before attempting to slice). Enjoy!
Thank you so much for your reply and for the recipe. It’s so so good! I’m surprised there’s still some in the freezer. This will definitely a staple snack in my freezer from now on! 🙂
Hi Sarah Jane, tried halva for the first time in NYC over the bank holiday weekend and looking forward to making your recipe today!quick questions for you (or others who have made it)…if I want to add pistachios do I substitute the hazelnuts/almonds, or are they an addition? Thanks!
So sorry, SUSAN Jane!!! Giddy with halva excitement (and jetlag..)
Exactly! It’s a very forgiving recipe, so switch out the hazelnuts or pistachios for whatever you fancy. Raw nibs. Pistachio. Rose petals. Pomegranate.
Go rock that halva!
Hello Susan Jane,
I made this as outlined, except instead of nuts and figs I used 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) of pomegranate arils. I found it to be really soft, as soft as soft ice cream. It started to melt as soon as it landed on a plate and became like goo. Also, it was too sweet, and I’ve discovered a large blob of honey in the centre. I’m sad that it didn’t turn out well because I was really hoping it would be nice, like fudge for Christmas. Has anyone else had this problems?
Next time I’m going to increase the amount of coconut oil to 1/4 cup (4 tbsp), and decrease the amount of honey to 1/3 cup. I am also going to beat the mixture really well BEFORE adding the pomegranate arils.
Hello Susan Jane…just made and have popped this into the freezer. Is there a recommended time to take out before serving. I imagine it may go soft if out too long though perhaps it doesn’t really freeze?? Hanks for the recipe and for getting back to me
You’ve probably found out my now! You can serve straight away. It’s always fudgy. Enjoy every crunch and crumb!
“and store in there” refers to the parchment or the parchment, placed back in the freezer? Will this keep its shape at room temp?
This looks really great, looking forward to trying!
Hi! Thanks for making the recipe – tis one of my faves. No, it doesn’t keep its shape after 20 minutes of room temperature (and less if you live in a hot country) but I serve it straight from the freezer. It’s like frozen caramel. Glorious. xx SJ
If you heat the maple syrup to about 230 or the honey to 250, before mixing in with the tahini it should set at room temperatures.
Wow so classy and mouth watering halwa recipe i loved it and please keep posting such tempting halwa recipe because i am Learner of making new and different halwa.
This is so good! This recipe has less that half the amount of sweetener to tahini that I see in other recipes and it was fine. So glad this is the first recipe I tried. I added pistachios and a little almond extract.
Oh delicious! What a super idea!