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

hometown heroes

i recently attended food tank, an event-based "think tank" for all things food, where i was surrounded by individuals pushing the envelope for better food policy. it was so energizing to be packed into a room with people who have dedicated their lives to building better, more equitable, more sustainable food systems from the ground-up. those who lived with low-income mothers around the world for months on end to make sure their voices were heard when we talk about malnutrition. those who get their hands dirty in the plots of urban gardens. these are the change-agents who have made and continue to make dc the city it is.

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matt and i served these honey-roasted carrots with pan seared salmon and a light goat cheese pasta (in retrospect, that sounds like a lot of food...). but, for a lighter option, i've found that the leftover carrots also work well tossed in a kale salad with extra tahini dressing, feta cheese, a nut of your choosing for crunch (i've used salted pumpkin seeds). the tahini dressing would probably also be fab as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries or brussels sprouts. 

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