Inspiration from Meghan

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Open Sesame Halva


We've so enjoyed meeting, teaching, eating, laughing and learning with the CNE program this past semester.  How quickly time flies, and already the final class dishes were prepared.  First up was our own Flexi Lex, and now dear Joanne Hall shares her healthy alternative to a family favourite dish!

These past 3 months I have had the pleasure of participating in the first of its kind Culinary Nutrition Program. I had contemplated for awhile attending a holistic nutrition school but decided that I wasn't so much interested in the scientific background, but more so interested in how to apply nutrition knowledge to everyday living.

When Meghan made the announcement last spring about this brand new program I applied right away. Well, I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but what I didn't anticipate was how much FUN I was going to have and the wonderful friendships that were formed along our journey. Part of our learning experience was developing new recipes. The following is one of my creations: Open Sesame Halva

Halva is a sweet dense confectionery that can be found in various forms in many different cultures around the world. It can be made from wheat semolina, sugar, honey, butter and vegetable oil. Nuts, raisins and other dried fruits can be added for extra flavour. This type is gelatinous and has a texture similar to polenta. Another type of halva is made from grinding sesame seeds to make a paste and adding a hot sugar syrup to the hard-cracked stage. This is the type that I (and my family) have been obsessed with for years.

Living in a smaller community, halva is not readily available in our stores. We would actually make the drive to Toronto to get our halva stock.

Well, during my journey to nutrition enlightenment I sadly realized halva is NOT GOOD FOR ME. Thus began my new obsession to develop a healthier version of my much loved treat.

The term “Open Sesame” refers to the distinguishing feature of the sesame seed pod, which bursts open when it reaches maturity. Sesame seeds are very good source of copper, manganese, tryptophan and a good source of magnesium, calcium and iron.

The whole heating sugar to a hard-cracked stage has always met with disaster, so I decided a raw version was the way to go.

Open-Sesame Halva
makes two 3x5x1 brick

1.5 cups sesames seeds
3/4 cup raw honey
3/8 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 Tbs Pure vanilla extract

Grind sesame seeds in coffee/seed grinder to a fine powder. Don't over grind or it will turn into a paste. (You should grind the seeds in small batches to achieve the right consistency.)

  • Add ground sesame seeds to a medium sized bowl.
  • Add honey, tahini and vanilla.
  • Mix well until completely combined.
  • For an extra yummy version you can divide the halva in two.
  • Add 3 tbs. Raw cacao powder to one half.
  • Add 3 tbs. Lucuma powder to the other half.
  • Mix in the added flavours thoroughly. You can knead the halva like dough to help assimilate the add-ins.
  • Form the halva into two blocks approximately 3x5x1. Place in an airtight container (or wrap tightly in plastic wrap- though you know here in the kitchen we're not such fans of the stuff). Chill for a few hours to set.

Enjoy a small slice at a time. Be careful, it is addictive!

Question of the Day: Have you modified a delicious but not-so good for you dish to be so great for you?

13 Responses to “Open Sesame Halva”

  1. Adeline said…
    Oh Meghan! I'm so glad we have you!! I won't have to say goodbye to Halva after all. :)

Before you post your comment, please note that I am unable to offer nutritional advice or recommendations via my blog.

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