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The Whole Foods Kosher kitchen

Quick Halva Recipe. Gluten-Free Friendly

Posted on 30th of July, 2013 by Lévana


Quick Halvah: We all love the wonderful taste of halvah, that great Sephardi dessert classic confection starring Tehina paste and sold all over Israeli and Middle Eastern markets, but hardly ever get near it because of the prohibitive amount of sugar it contains. I tinkered with the flavors, using Tehina as my base, until I obtained this delicious and infinitely less sweet approximation. The best part is, my quick Halva bars are all natural, and sweetened with agave syrup. These Halva bars are gluten-free friendly, take no time and don’t even cook or bake, and keep refrigerated for weeks. Attack of the munchies? One of these halva bars will hit the spot! You will never have to worry again that your teeth might walk away from one of those fabulous commercial halva bars we love but doesn’t love us back!

If you are making this treat on short notice and don’t have time to let the mixture firm up for halva bars, don’t worry about a thing: Pour the mixture into a serving bowl, and serve it with a spoon, which is the way I always serve it, never bothering to make halva bars. Great for sprinkling over yogurt too!

I love to tinker with tehina and halva flavors, in both savory and sweet preparations. I make my Maple Halva Mousse with store-bought Halva, and stretch the flavors to the hilt to end up with another wonderful and healthy Halva dessert.


1½ cups tehina (sesame paste)
1½ cups “toasted wheat germ and honey” (that’s the exact name of the product) in the cereal section of the supermarket (gluten-free: use crunchy granola, store-bought OK,  ground medium-fine in a food processor, using the pulse button)
1½ cups unsweetened grated coconut, packed
1 cup toasted sesame seeds or chopped almonds or pistachios (10–12 minutes in a preheated 325°F oven)
1 cup agave syrup (please do not substitute honey or maple syrup, as they will add a delicious but unnecessary layer of flavor)
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or orange flower water

Mix all ingredients by hand. Press firmly and uniformly into a 10-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares or bars.

Variation: chocolate-covered halva
Reduce the agave to 2∕3 cup. After the mixture firms up, melt 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon oil, and spread uniformly over the top of the mixture. Let the chocolate layer firm up before cutting into squares or bars.

Filed under: Agave Syrup Recipes, Chocolate Recipes, Coconut Recipes, Dairy-Free Recipes, Gluten Free Recipes, Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes, Granola Recipes, Halva Recipes, Jewish Recipes, Natural and Kosher Recipes, Natural Foods Recipes, Recipes, Sephardi Recipes, Sesame Recipes, Tehina Recipes

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8 Questions

  1. Faith Kramer, on Said:

    As you know, I love this recipe. I like to roll the “dough” into balls and roll them into extra coconut and sesame seeds to make little “truffles” of goodness.

  2. TasteofBeirut, on Said:

    Hardly a day goes by that I don’t dip into my container of havah; this is the first time I see it mixed with coconut! this recipe is easy and very tempting, thanks for the clever idea.

  3. Robyn Rozwaski, on Said:

    Hi Levana, Can you recommend the best tahini brand to use?

    Thanks very much!

    We are friends of Sol and Nechama…
    Robyn and Mordechai Rozwaski

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Robyn I confess I have very plebeian taste about tehina, as long as it says pure or all-natural. Recently a brand called Soom Foods recommended I try their tehina (from Ethiopia). I’ll look out for it and give everyone feedback:-))))