Basic Halva

Updated February 23, 2016


Living Raw Food

Published by William Morrow

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

The word halvah is derived from the arabic word for “sweet.” The confection comes in a variety of different types, but this recipe models itself after a halvah made with sesame paste and sugar that is popular in countries such as Greece, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestine. In this recipe, raw honey and date sugar are used as a natural, unprocessed alternative to white sugar. Stevie Blake, a talented Pure Food and Wine pastry sous chef, first created carob-marbled halvah and chocolate-covered pistachio halvah, but using the basic recipe you can get creative and make any other varieties you can dream up. Try adding lemon or orange zest or a touch of grated ginger, all of which also go well with the chocolate coating. These recipes call for a mix of both hulled and unhulled sesame seeds, which together give the halvah an ideal texture and flavor. However, if you use all of one or the other the results will still be great. Sesame seeds are remarkably rich in calcium and also contain significant amounts of zinc, iron, phosphorus, protein, niacin, and many B-complex vitamins. Hulled sesame seeds are milky white and softer, and have about 60 percent less calcium than their unhulled counterpart. They are also less shelf stable, so store them in the refrigerator.



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Cocktail Party

Recipe Coursedessert, snack

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, high-calcium, kosher, lactose-free, low cholesterol, peanut free, raw, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Equipmentblender, dehydrator, spice grinder

Five Ingredients or LessYes


Taste and Texturebuttery, chocolatey, nutty, sweet

Type of Dishdessert


  • 2/3 cup unhulled sesame seeds
  • 1¼ cups hulled sesame seeds
  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons finely ground date sugar or maple sugar (optional)
  • 1 batch of basic halvah
  • 2 tablespoons carob powder, or cocoa powder, preferably raw
  • 1½ cups pistachios (or almonds)
  • ¼ cup orange-flower water (or rosewater)
  • 1 batch basic halvah
  • 2 cups chocolate oil (below)
  • Makes about 2 cups
  • 1¼ cups coconut butter/oil, warmed to liquefy
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 3½ tablespoons maple syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • High-speed blender with dry blade or spice or coffee grinder
  • Dehydrator (for Chocolate-Covered-Pistachio recipe only)



Include a Photo Include a Photo

Click the button above or drag and drop images onto the button. You can upload two images.

Cancel Reply to Comment

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!


Report Inappropriate Comment

Are you sure you would like to report this comment? It will be flagged for our moderators to take action.

Thank you for taking the time to improve the content on our site.

Sign In to Your Account

Close Window
Sign In with one of your Social Accounts
Sign In using Email and Password