Halva Nice Cream

The recipe index of this site reveals my unabashed love of tahini and pistachios. The perfect blend of creamy and crunchy, this combination can be dialed up or down to be savory or sweet. Sweet takes the form of toast slathered with tahini, a swirl of honey and a sprinkle of crushed pistachios. Savory is a perfectly roasted sweet potato topped with a spoonful of this spectacular sesame paste, a crumble of briny feta and some nutty crunch. 

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

There is perhaps no more iconic combination of tahini and pistachios than halva, a classic Middle Eastern dessert made of ground sesame seed paste, vanilla, sugar and mix-in's of your choice. I recently heard halva described on The Splendid Table as having the consistency of the center of a Butterfinger, and I can't think of a more perfect comparison.

It's sweet and flaky, and a beautiful palate for an amazing array of other flavors. If you need some inspiration, take a peek at Seed + Mill, where this humble sesame paste is transformed with cardamom, rose oil, cinnamon, sea salt and chocolate. As evidenced by the example below and the ode above, I've always been partial to halva of the pistachio variety. 

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

Because I love this flavor combination so much, I found myself often turning to a bowl of Greek yogurt, the aforementioned dream combination of seeds and nuts, and a drizzle of honey as a late night snack when I'm nestled in bed re-watching Gilmore Girls. However, after a few evenings of this, it dawned on me how fabulous this would be as an ice cream flavor.

Though tempting, developing an ice cream habit didn't seem like a wise idea. But, then I remembered "nice cream" is a thing that exists. What is nice cream, you ask? It's an ice cream alternative perfect for people who can't eat dairy, or who want all the taste, texture and deliciousness of ice cream with far less of the stuff that weighs you down, or who want to feel like they have a froyo bar in their own kitchen. I love ice cream, but I also want my FlyWheel classes to count for something.

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

In this case, homemade nice cream can be yours within an hour and just five ingredients. The base is bananas, and the inspiration is 100% pistachio halva. Simply blend bananas, tahini, honey and sea salt into a food processor, pour into a glass or plastic container, top with pistachios and freeze. Much like halva, nice cream is a blank slate for countless flavors. Leave a comment with the combinations you dream up!

Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

Halva Nice Cream

serves two

what you'll need:

2 bananas
1/4 cup tahini
1 tbsp honey
pinch of flaky sea salt
1/4 cup unsalted and roasted pistachios (skip sea salt if you can't find unsalted pistachios)

what you'll do:

  1. In a food processor, blend bananas, tahini, honey and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping sides with spatula as needed. Pour into glass bowl or tupperware. Top with half of pistachios. 
  2. Place in freezer and let rest for at least 40 minutes, or until frozen. When ready to serve, let rest a few minutes to thaw slightly. Top with remaining pistachios and serve immediately.
Halva Nice Cream || Planting My Roots

perfect pistachio and pomegranate hummus

i'm writing this from a hotel room, as i've unexpectedly ended up with a 24 hour layover in atlanta, georgia. i was supposed to be in starkville, mississippi yesterday in the early afternoon, but delta had other plans in mind! i tried to turn these travel woe lemons into lemonade, and ended up having a blast taking the evening to explore downtown atlanta. 

as soon as i landed and settled into my last-minute hotel room, i head downtown to do some market hopping. i started out at krog street market, then made my way to ponce city market. in both places, i weaved in and out of what felt like a mini UN of culinary creations. from indian to south korean to italian to middle eastern, it felt impossible to decide where to eat (or if i should've just "settled" on a big bowl of jeni's ice cream for dinner.)

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sean brock has been on my radar for quite a while thanks to mind of a chef, so i ultimately couldn't pass up finally trying out one of his restaurants, minero. i was not at all disappointed with the choice! i sipped on a pineapple agua fresco and ate every single bite of carnitas with salsa verde cocida, roasted pumpkin and pepitas (and 2/3 of their renowned warm corn tortillas). i was really craving some soul food or classic southern food while in atlanta, but minero snuck a bit in there since the carnitas were nestled on top of hoppin' john. 

after grabbing dinner, i walked along the beltline before heading back to my hotel. so many people were out on the trail i felt like the entire city of atlanta was in tow for a weekend evening stroll. i strategically placed myself behind a puppy and worked off some of those carnitas, but alas, didn't end up making enough room for some of jeni's. a heaping cone of roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream will just have to be on my bucket list for next time!

pistachio, mint and pomegranate hummus || planting my roots

having extra time on my hands also finally gave me the space i needed to get this new post up! as you have probably noticed at this point, i'm a sucker for all things pistachio > mint > pomegranate. for me, it's the trifecta of ingredients that can be made sweet (imagine as an ice cream topping!) or savory (mmmm on roasted chicken shwarama).

in this case, i've swirled together into a rich, creamy hummus. this dip comes together so quickly, and is wonderful to serve as an appetizer with some toasted, crunchy pita, or as a spread on a sandwich or wrap. you may also want to toss a big spoonful on the side of a veggie-heavy salad, as it adds a wonderful burst of flavor. 

as with happens every time i travel, i'm sure i'll be returning home from mississippi and georgia with a whole new world of flavors to be inspired by. something sweet with peach or pecan? something savory with fried catfish or sweet potato rolls? there's a lot more taste testing left, and someone's gotta do it.

pistachio, mint and pomegranate hummus || planting my roots

pistachio, mint and pomegranate hummus

what you'll need:

1 15 oz can chickpeas, skins removed and chickpea water (aquafaba) reserved
1/3 cup salted and roasted pistachios, plus extra for garnish
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2-3/4 cup tahini (depending on how creamy you'd like it)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
kosher salt, to taste
pomegranate arils, for garnish
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for garnish

what you'll do:

  1. remove chickpea skins (click for instructions to do this here - see steps 1 & 2 in recipe!).
  2. in food processor, blend pistachios for about 1 minute, or until a pistachio paste forms. then add chickpeas, garlic, lemon, tahini, mint, salt and aquafaba (should be about 1/2 cup). blend to combine until smooth and creamy.
  3. use a spatula to transfer into serving bowl. top with a light handful of pistachios, extra virgin olive oil and pomegranates. 

notes on processing pistachio pesto

this pistachio and mint pesto is the perfect flavor bomb in a colorful quinoa salad. it's swirled into a bed of quinoa, plump dried apricots and crunchy pomegranate arils. the colors alone are lovely, but the flavor is unbelievable. it's a perfect accompaniment to lemon-roasted salmon or chicken.  

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toast with a pop of pom

i love the blend of sweet and savory, crunchy and smooth for this festive holiday crostini. the pop of bright red makes it perfect for entertaining, or just a treat yo self breakfast. it comes together so quickly too! mission accomplished, winter toast.

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pistachio pasta

this recipe came from a dc food blog, and it's one of the first blogs that inspired me to begin planting my roots. when i think of this recipe, i'm instantly transported back to the first time i made it. it kicked off for me a tradition of sunday night pasta dinners, thanks to the idea from cupcakes for breakfast. i also devoured it after a marathon training run, so it felt like extra pasta pampering was deserved that sunday night. even if you aren't training for a marathon, this recipe really isn't that heavy. spring or summer, or even a warm fall evening, a scoop of pasta with a crunch of pistachio and crumble of cheese is always welcome. 

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