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The Whole Foods Kosher kitchen

Quick Halva Recipe. Halva Energy Balls. Gluten-Free Friendly

Posted on 30th of July, 2013 by Lévana


Quick Halva and Halva energy balls: 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, lightly sweetened with agave syrup.

The past part is, my Halva Recipe makes Halva go from a guilty indulgence to perfectly delicious and super healthy energy balls: 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 energy balls 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 to shape halva balls, 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, not-too-sweet and healthy Halva dessert.

There’s no reason you can’t explore with other nut butters: Peanut, almond or cashew butter will be perfectly suitable for these energy balls as well: That won’t make you halva, but it will make the perfect energy balls or energy bars!


1½ cups tehina (sesame paste). Explore with other nut butters
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 2 cups old fashioned oats, toasted in a skillet or in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes)
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
Optional: throw in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped dried fruit

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

Variation: chocolate-covered halva balls
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, Energy Balls Recipes, Gluten Free Recipes, Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes, Granola Recipes, Halva Recipes, Jewish Recipes, Natural and Kosher Recipes, Natural Foods Recipes, Oat Recipes, Recipes, Sephardi Recipes, Sesame Recipes, Tehina Recipes

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10 Questions

  1. DebbieC, on Said:

    I love the idea of adding the coconut! That is awesome. I made the gluten free version. You would have to hold a gun to my head and convince me you would shoot before I touched agave syrup, so I did use honey, but these were still awesome.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Debbie LOL I wouldn’t shoot, and I wouldn’t harm a fly. You know what: I will share with you a Facebook post I put up recently, with its update: It will make my whole point for me, and explain why, knowing what I know now for sure, I would simply use unrefined sugar, just like I do in all my baking, across the board. Here comes:
      Question to you if I may, I would love your feedback soon, as I am busy developing natural recipes with no sugar for special-needs people: Erythritol: Friend of foe? What’s the scoop on it? We are told that ALL sweeteners ending with OL are broken down, reassembled and therefore not healthy. What’s your take? Please elaborate. TIA.

      My own update: From everything I read this week, here’s what I understand: Real revelations. And real savings!
      – Honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, brown rice sugar: nutritionally identical to sugar, only much more expensive. (Honey does have nutrients, maple syrup is delicious). If all you want is use sugar moderately in coffee or in baking, then SuCaNat (for brown sugar) and evaporated cane juice (for white sugar) are the best deal, as they are naturally processed (unrefined) cane sugars. They are all I ever use in Baking.
      – The absolute winner in all natural sugars is date sugar.
      – The absolute winner in all alternative no-sugar sweeteners is erythritol.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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:-))))