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One of the mainstays of Middle Eastern cuisine is tahini, a ground paste made from sesame seeds. It is found in humus, baba ghanouj, and halvah. In the Nouveau Raw Kitchen it can be found in granola! Unopened tahini can be kept at room temperature, but once the container is opened, it should be refrigerated so that the oil from the sesame seeds does not go rancid. When you open the jar you will notice a separation between the butter(tahini) and oil. Stir to combine before using.
Tahini is an excellent source of copper, manganese and the amino acid methionine. And is a great source of the healthy fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. It has relatively high levels of calcium and protein which make it a useful addition to vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as to raw food diets when eaten in its unroasted form. Compared to peanut butter, Tahini has higher levels of fiber and calcium and lower levels of sugar and saturated fats. And is a great alternative for those who are allergic to nuts.
Keep in mind that different brands of tahini can taste dramatically different. So, if you are trying it for the first time and find that you don’t care for the flavor, please try another brand. As with most nut butters, the seeds can be roasted or not prior to being processed into a butter. This will also change the flavor. For a raw version I recommend the Artisana Raw Tahini or the Living Tree brand. It tastes very mild, subtle, has minimal bitterness and is creamy. Since it is made from raw sesame seeds, its color is much lighter.
I decided to use Turkish apricots to compliment the flavor of the Tahini. They add a bright flavor and chewy texture to the granola. Dried Turkish apricots are darker in color and emit an earthy, sweet, peachy flavor. Other than flavor, they add great nutrients to the granola such as iron, vitamin A, and especially potassium – in fact many with potassium deficiencies see their blood counts leap up after adding dried apricots, dates, peaches, figs, prunes or raisins to their diets!
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yields 5 cups batter – Made 6 (4 3/4″) tartlet pans
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.