Benefits of Tahini and One Deliciously Sweet Recipe

Tahini Bread
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The Mediterranean and Middle Eastern populations are well known for their highly nutritious diets, even when they are jam-packed with the calories. They are often voluptuous, love to cook, and between the scents and the tastes of their dishes, their culinary world seems a magical space. In truth, my own home kitchen has always been thus.

Tahini, among other staples of this particular cuisine, is used in many a dish, particularly in sweets. Sugar alone is great, but when you add nutrients to your sugary snack, that's when you have the best of both worlds. Tahini provides the perfect balance, and makes for a deliciously healthy high-fat but low-cholesterol munchie.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, "tahini is a mixture of toasted sesame seeds and olive oil, pureed to a consistency like peanut butter. It is especially common in Middle Eastern cuisine, where tahini is a key ingredient in hummus (a purée made with chickpeas, garlic and lemon juice) and baba ghanoush (a purée made with eggplant, garlic and lemon juice). Nutritionally, it also has a lot in common with peanut butter: almost 80 percent of its calories come from fat, but little of it is saturated fat (the kind that raises blood cholesterol). So while it is a healthy choice, just be mindful that tahini is concentrated in calories, with about 170 in a two-tablespoon serving and enjoy it in small amounts." Apparently it might also be a great option for preventing or fighting cancer!

MindBodyGreen promotes tahini for these great reasons:

  • It’s rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron.
  • It's a good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification.
  • It’s one of the best sources of calcium out there.
  • It’s high in vitamin E and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.
  • Helps to promote healthy cell growth.
  • Prevent anemia.
  • Helps to maintain healthy skin and muscle tone.
  • It has 20% complete protein, making it a higher protein source than most nuts.
  • It's easy for your body to digest because of its high alkaline mineral content, which is great for assisting in weight loss.
  • It is high in unsaturated fat (good fat!)

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As for an amazingly delicious Armenian sweet cookie style snack, tahini bread makes for the perfect Lenten dessert option. Serve them with coffee or hot tea and enjoy!

Ingredients to make 6 medium tahini breads

Dough:
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup warm water

Filling:
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar

Preparation:
1. Use an electric cake mixer to sift flour,baking powder, salt. Add the oil, mix with the dough for a few minutes, and gradually add the warm water. Mix until the dough is soft.
2. Divide dough into 6 parts and keep aside for 15 minutes.
3. Prepare the filling by mixing tahini,oil and sugar in a small bowl.
4. Roll out each dough into a circle that's about half a cm thick and spread the tahini mixture generously and evenly on top, without getting close to the edges. Roll and pinch the sides together all the way up, and keep rolling until you have a rope about 6 inches in length.
5. Shape each rope into pinwheel, press and flatten with the palm of your hands, smoothing it out.
6. Grease a baking sheet pan with oil, cover with wax paper and grease again. Place the prepared tahini bread dough on the baking sheet.
7. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes, then broil for 1-2 minutes to give it a nice brown color.
8. Remove from oven let it cool before enjoying the savoury taste!

Note: It's even better if you sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top, or even some cinnamon!

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