No Meat Zone Recipes: Vegan Halvah Sweet Confection

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For the halvah base:
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) cashews, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup ( 180 ml) sesame tahini
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) yacon syrup or agave nectar
  • 10-20 drops plain, vanilla or chocolate stevia liquid, to your taste
For the Chocolate Swirl:
  • 1 ounce (30 g) unsweetened chocolate, preferably organic (I used Cocoa Camino)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) vegetable glycerin or agave nectar (for ACD stage 2, use glycerin)
  • 10-20 drops plain or vanilla stevia liquid, to your taste

Make the halvah base: In the bowl of a food processor, whir the cashews until they resemble a coarse cornmeal. There should be no pieces left bigger than a sesame seed.

Add remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture comes together in a ball. It should have the consistency of a thick dough (resist the temptation to add liquid to make it blend more easily; you want it to be fairly dry, but just moist enough to hold together). Break up the ball with your fingers or a spatula and crumble it evenly around the processor bowl. Set aside.

Make the chocolate swirl: Pour enough water into a small pot to fill it about 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to lowest possible heat. Place a larger metal or heatproof bowl over the pot (it should be large enough that the bottom doesn’t touch the water in the pot) and add the chocolate to the bowl. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts, a couple of minutes. Remove the bowl from the pot (turn off the heat) and then stir in the glycerin or agave and stevia. The mixture should remain smooth and pourable.

Finish the halvah: Drizzle the chocolate mixture directly over the halvah in the processor bowl, pouring in a ring shape. Don’t worry if it’s not even or if it doesn’t cover the entire halvah mixture. Replace the processor cover and pulse once or twice ONLY to barely incorporate the chocolate in rivulets through the mixture (any more than this and you will end up with chocolate halvah). You want the chocolate to be distributed between the bits of halvah, but not blended into it.

Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter and turn the mixture onto it. Folding the plastic over the halvah mixture, press the mixture into place to form a compact rectangle. Cover with
plastic and refrigerate until firm. Once firm, cut into small squares for serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator up to one week. Makes 20-30 small squares.


This is the kind of dessert that looks great on a candy tray alongside chocolates or truffles. At the same time, it contains so many healthy ingredients and is so packed with nutrition that you can feel just fine eating a few pieces as an afternoon snack.

Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN | @RickiHeller
Ricki is the author of Sweet Freedom: Desserts You'll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar. Find Ricki posting delicious, healthy recipes on her blog, Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

Photo credit: Ricki Heller

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