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Breakfast, Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Superhealthy Halva

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.



Superhealthy Halva

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.

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  • Reply Hey, good looking… | Louise O'Neill February 28, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    […] 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 […]

    • Reply Nada Khodlova December 23, 2018 at 6:10 pm

      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!

      • Reply Susan Jane March 14, 2019 at 11:51 am

        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

  • Reply Colette March 10, 2014 at 11:47 am

    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.

    • Reply Susan Jane March 11, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Yes! Definitely! Pomegranate & honey; goji berry; or walnut, carob powder and raisins. Have fun!

  • Reply Colette March 12, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Brilliant…thanks for the reply 🙂

  • Reply Orla April 2, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Goji Berry with pistachio!

    • Reply Susan Jane April 2, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Ah man. Fabulous!

  • Reply SFW June 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Hi. Do you store the halva in the freezer?

    • Reply Susan Jane June 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

      Absolutely. It won’t set in the fridge!

  • Reply Emma June 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I made it with pomegranate. Absolutely delicious!! Yum!

  • Reply Joseywales July 22, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    32 portions?……………
    tiny portion size, is there a reason you have made them so small?

    • Reply Susan Jane July 24, 2014 at 10:46 am

      To share with more people! I find them very dense and filling, but you’re welcome to make a lot less squares from it 😉

  • Reply Catherine August 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Susan, I’m type 1 diabetic and wondering if halva is suitable or could be made more diabetic friendly?

    • Reply Susan Jane August 26, 2014 at 11:06 am

      If you stick to using dark agave, your blood sugar levels should behave! (provided moderation is the mantra too!)

    • Reply Susan Jane August 26, 2014 at 11:07 am

      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

    • Reply fray July 2, 2015 at 2:40 am

      Can a diabetic have raw honey? Wondering if u can hve the vanilla extract?

      • Reply Susan Jane July 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

        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!

  • Reply Health Edited Have a Yummy Diwali! - Health Edited October 20, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    […] 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 […]

  • Reply Do you play with Christmas traditions? | La vie quotidienne December 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    […] 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. […]

  • Reply Elise April 30, 2016 at 1:33 am

    hi there! this looks so tasty and decadent… do you know how long it keeps in the freezer?


    • Reply Susan Jane May 3, 2016 at 10:42 am

      3 months, but we find it can be challenging 😉

  • Reply Sorcha May 20, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    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 😀 

    • Reply Susan Jane May 24, 2016 at 8:54 am

      THRILLED you made it! This is our favourite for over a decade. You can never tire of the combos. Enjoy xxx

  • Reply Louise March 22, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    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..

    • Reply Susan Jane April 3, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Sugar won’t work I’m afraid. You could try any other liquid sweetener (even stevia drops work). Hope it rocks your kitchen! SJ

  • Reply Eleanor June 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    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?

    • Reply Susan Jane June 9, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Hi there!

      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!

      • Reply Eleanor June 13, 2017 at 1:02 pm

        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! 🙂

  • Reply Rubey August 31, 2017 at 8:59 am

    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!

    • Reply Rubey August 31, 2017 at 9:01 am

      So sorry, SUSAN Jane!!! Giddy with halva excitement (and jetlag..)

    • Reply Susan Jane September 2, 2017 at 10:08 am

      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!

  • Reply Laurie L. December 6, 2017 at 3:49 am

    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.  

  • Reply Elizabeth June 21, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    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

    • Reply Susan Jane July 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      You’ve probably found out my now! You can serve straight away. It’s always fudgy. Enjoy every crunch and crumb!

  • Reply Ilana January 16, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    “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!

    • Reply Susan Jane March 14, 2019 at 11:57 am

      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

  • Reply Lawrence Pratt July 3, 2019 at 4:17 am

    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.

  • Reply Yukti Arora August 26, 2019 at 10:26 am

    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.

  • Reply Mer March 16, 2023 at 3:45 pm

    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.

    • Reply Susan Jane March 17, 2023 at 4:28 pm

      Oh delicious! What a super idea!

  • Reply Danae July 19, 2023 at 7:51 pm

    …there I was looking for some ideas if HALVA is healthy and found your post! Well, it made me devour my store bought honey halva without regrets… after reading your comments… “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!”
    ..Thank you for making me laugh… needed that as much as the treat. Very well written little article with a smile…

    • Reply Susan Jane December 10, 2023 at 10:06 pm

      Oh I am so glad to assist! I hope it continues to bring joy and giggles to your kitchen Karina

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