Miriam Olenick is an avid ice cream producer. On her weekly column, you can find all sorts of recipes for delicious, frozen treats. Find more recipes on her own blog www.scoopdujour.net.

Where I grew up in Brooklyn heights, there is a specialty Middle Eastern food store called Sahadi’s. On Friday afternoons my dad would buy all sorts of treats –  hummus, babaganouj, marinated olives, cinnamon-sugar covered almonds – that we would eat on Saturday, when guests often came for lunch. One of my favorite treats from Sahadi’s was Halvah – a flaky, melt in your mouth dessert made from sesame seeds.

I no longer live near Sahadi’s, and I haven’t had Halvah in ages, but when I was examining the contents of my kitchen cabinets to decide on an ice cream flavor to make for the week, my eyes set upon a container of tahini (sesame seed paste), and I thought of Halvah. I’ve never had Halvah ice cream before, but I figured that the laws of the internet meant that if I thought of it, there must be a recipe out there somewhere – and there was! A vegan recipe, actually, perfect for my dairy-challenged friends – and I have quite a few of those.

Here is the recipe that I adapted from a blog called Natural Noshing:

Halvah-Inspired Tahini Ice Cream



  1. 2 can of full-fat coconut milk
  2. 1cup soy milk
  3. 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 1/2 cup tahini
  5.  3/4 cup agave nectar
  6. dash of Himalayan pink salt (about 1/4 tsp)
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional

For garnish and serving

  1. Black or white sesame seeds
  2. Drizzle of tahini and/or drizzle of honey (or agave)
  3. OR chocolate/carob chips or chunks for a chocolate twist


  1. Combine all base ingredients together and whisk until smooth (you can put the mixture into a blender or food processor, but it’s not necessary)
  2. Place the mixture into the fridge to chill for half an hour.
  3. Pour into ice cream maker and turn on the machine.
  4. Let it churn for 25-30 minutes (depending on how powerful your ice cream maker is)
  5. Freeze for about two hours before you serve.
  6. Top with tahini, honey, sesame seeds, chocolate chips, or whatever else suits your fancy!

Everyone seemed to have a different opinion about what the ice cream tasted like. One of my roommates said it was nutty, another one said it was coconut-y (which made sense, because of the canned coconut milk), and someone else claimed to taste peanut butter. Everyone seemed to enjoy it even if they didn’t understand it, and my friends who had eaten halvah before made the taste bud connection.

The ice cream is almost completely finished now, and I’m beginning to think of what my next flavor will be. Stay tuned till next week to find out!

-Miriam Olenick ‘13