There are many types of halva, but, when I think of halva, I think of the fudge-like sesame confection. I combined sesame seeds with cooked sweet potato for this satisfying smoothie. The fat and protein from the sesame seeds and the bulk from the sweet potato makes it more filling than an all-fruit smoothie.
½ cup water
2 dates (remove pits and stems; 34 g)
¼ cup sesame seeds (33 g)
1 medium sweet potato (cooked, chilled, & quartered; 150 g)
6 ice cubes (120 g)
pinch of salt
pinch of cardamom
Makes 1 medium serving.
Blend on high until smooth (about 60 seconds).
I’ve been using dates lately, but I bet this would also be good with honey. Or, you could make it less sweet by skipping the dates/honey.
For sweet potatoes, I prefer the ones with orange flesh (e.g. Beauregard). The market I go to sells them as yams. This time around I cooked them by steaming, which is my new preference. Cooking time depends on their size and shape—these ~150 gram ones steamed in about 20 minutes (they should be fork-tender). You can cook them faster by chopping them first, but I opted to leave them whole to possibly lose less nutrients (it probably doesn’t make much difference). In the past I’ve baked them, which also works fine. If you are only cooking one, microwaving probably makes the most sense. I store the cooked sweet potatoes in the fridge for up to a week. You can freeze them for longer storage, in which case you should cut them into ~1-inch chunks before freezing.
If you have a Vitamix, you can quickly turn sesame seeds into tahini. You can add the seeds directly into blends like this or hummus or dressing. I’ve found sesame seeds to be cheaper and more convenient than tahini. You can keep them fresh in the freezer pretty much indefinitely, and you can scoop them out without having them stick to your scoop. Just make sure to get hulled sesame seeds, because the hulls are bitter (hulled are white, unhulled are brown or black).
If you already have tahini, you can of course use it instead of sesame seeds. According to the USDA, 2.5 Tbsp of tahini is equivalent to the ¼ cup of sesame seeds in this recipe.