Guest Writers, What's Cookin?

Tahini: Nutrition for Moms and Their Families

1 Comment 16 September 2011

a guest post by Gabriela

The term “superfood” is bandied around a lot these days.

Every green powder, tropical berry or exotic ingredient, it seems, is a
superlative version of the boring old stuff we have in our pantry.

One of the characteristics that separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes
to food is its nutritional content – in other words, how much healthy bang do you
get for your well-intentioned buck?

In my opinion, superfoods don’t have to be expensive or hard to come by.

In fact, I would venture to say that simply by adding more whole foods into our diets,
most of us will be significantly enriching and enhancing what’s on our plates.

One food I like to encourage people, and especially Moms to experiment
with is tahini. In case you haven’t come across it, tahini is a popular Middle
Eastern paste made from sesame seeds. It is available in health food stores and
sometimes in the specialty sections of large supermarkets. Alternatively, you can
order it online.

Tahini is a real superfood in that it is choc-full of nutrition like calcium, zinc
and
fiber. What makes it fun to play with is that it is extremely versatile –
in the
Middle East, tahini is used in both sweet as well as savoury dishes.

But not all tahini is created equal.

For example, much like brown rice contains more health benefits than white
rice, tahini made from unhulled seeds contains more than double the amount of
calcium than its hulled counterpart.

Also, because it is high in Omega 6 fatty acids, raw tahini is your best bet. If you
prefer the taste of the roasted kind, why not mix them together so you’re getting
the best of both worlds?

Here are a few ideas for ways to enjoy tahini:

- Add a Tablespoon to your morning smoothie. It will help keep your blood sugar steady. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself belly dancing through the morning.

- Combine 1 part blackstrap molasses with 3 parts tahini for a fantastic iron,
calcium, magnesium, fibre-rich pregnancy and post-partum super-spread.

- For a happy little snack that will please big and small, mash a cup of
raspberries with a tablespoon of tahini, ½ tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and 1
teaspoon raw honey (or to taste). Spoon on top of sliced banana, garnish with a
dusting of raw cacao powder and enjoy as dessert for breakfast (or breakfast for
dessert).

- And lastly, perfecting classic savoury tahini is a challenge in and of itself.
Finding the right balance of lemon juice, cumin and salt, chopping the parsley
just so, figuring out how thick you like it and whether you prefer it with or
without garlic is nothing to turn your nose up at. Tahini preferences are as
personal and crucial in the Middle East as tea brewing is in the UK (and let me
tell you, they take their tea very seriously over here!).

I will leave you with a little-known hummus secret: when making your own,
make sure you’ve mixed together the perfect tahini BEFORE adding it to
the chickpeas. The quality and flavour of the tahini will make or break your
hummus.

*******************************************************************

As a result of multiple health challenges, Gabriela left a lucrative career in television production to become a Holistic Health Consultant, writer and, most recently, a mother. These days, when she in not blogging about health, working on new and delicious recipes or spending time with her family, Gabriela is leading workshops and writing about nutrition both on and off the plate. She lives between London and the US with her husband and baby girl as well as on the web at The Picky Foodie

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sesame halva « a very foodly diary - August 14, 2012

    [...] tahini as the main ingredient in the vanilla/almond layer for reasons of aesthetics and taste. Unhulled tahini is slightly bitter and more nutrient-rich, and I prefer to use it in the cacao/choc chip [...]

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