These tahini brownies are a fantastically soft and fudgy dessert. Have you ever tried tahini? It is sesame seed paste and is a key ingredient in hummus. Tahini provides heart-healthy fat, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium according to this article by Sara Haas RD. This is a vegetarian recipe with a vegan version.
Tahini can also be used in desserts: like these tahini brownies, or even chocolate chip cookies. I also have a recipe for an easy tahini salad dressing.
This recipe is from the latest cookbook from Deanna Segrave-Daly, RDN and Serena Ball MS, RD: Easy Everyday Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: 125 Delicious Recipes From the Healthiest Lifestyle on the Planet. Here is my interview with co-author Deanna:
Interview with Deanna Segrave-Daly about the Mediterranean Diet
Q: I will hear people say they just don’t know where to start when it comes to switching to more plant-based foods, whether it’s a vegetarian or a Mediterranean diet. What tips would you give them?
A: We like to have people start with a familiar recipe and just tweak it a bit to include more vegetables, whole grains, fresh herbs, etc. For example, we like to swap in zucchini noodles for some of the pasta (but don’t take all of the pasta!), or add cooked quinoa/oats to ground meat when making meatballs (you use less meat and get more plant-based nutrients into a recipe), or add cupfuls of herbs vs. a few spoonfuls into soups, chilis, sauces, etc.
But when it comes to eating more plant-forward meals, flavor is KEY. We roast a lot of our ingredients because this method of cooking actually adds a lot of flavor (bringing out the sweetness in vegetables for example) and adding acid (citrus or vinegar) to a recipe also really brings forward the natural flavors.
Q: What myths do you think people have about the Mediterranean diet?
A: Often people think the Mediterranean diet is expensive and perhaps you need to buy exotic ingredients, but we made sure that every ingredient in this book can be found at your local grocery store (no need to shop at a specialty market or spend a lot of money on a spice you’d only use one time.)
We also made sure to include chapters on meat and chicken – for people who don’t necessarily eat a lot of vegetarian or fish dishes. Our chicken and meat recipes focus on how to incorporate more whole grains, vegetables, olive oil, herbs, etc. into those typical “meat and potato” recipes. But on the other end, over 60% of our recipes in the book are vegetarian so plant-based and plant-forward eaters can find plenty of recipes to enjoy too.
A: Each recipe has been tested by both of us and we also had a community of 40+ recipe testers – friends, family members, colleagues, and our readers – retest recipes to make sure they a) made sense, b) were not complicated, c) featured easy-to-find ingredients, and d) tasted great!
Q: What makes these recipes easy, especially for new cooks?
We also made sure that we stuck to using basic kitchen equipment and the vast majority of our recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less. And we were consistent with how described each direction – always giving a visual and a timing cue for each step.
Q: Some people worry that eating healthier will cost more. What do you think?
A: That’s another myth that I love to bust. We take advantage of using frozen and canned foods – like frozen fruits and vegetables, frozen fish, canned tuna, canned tomatoes, etc. but also make sure we include strategies on storing food to last longer when you may purchase fresh ingredients, like herbs for example.
Every recipe in our book includes Healthy Kitchen Hacks that often discuss ingredient alternatives and we even have an entire page in the introduction chapter with lots of tips on how to reduce food waste.
Q: Can you eat foods from other cuisines that fit into the Mediterranean Diet?
A: Of course! We love the idea of mash-ups – taking concepts/flavors from other cuisines and combining them with the Med Diet. Our Greek Zucchini Pita Nachos are a great example of that – taking the idea of crispy corn tortilla chips but replacing them with whole wheat pita bread.
Our Tahini Brownies are another example – using the concept of an American comfort dessert but mixing it up by using the Middle Eastern staple of tahini and replacing the typical butter with olive oil and most of the sugar with honey.
Deanna, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about healthy eating in the Mediterranean style. I liked the idea of the tahini brownies so much that I made them for my birthday instead of a cake!
Tahini Brownies: Vegan Version
Instead of using 2 eggs, mix 2 tablespoons of finely ground flaxseeds with 6 tablespoons of warm water. Then, substitute maple syrup for the honey. I baked the brownie for 20 minutes. Now, this may have been due to the pan size I used, which was a heart shape so the tahini brownies were a little thicker than if made in a square pan.
While making the frosting, I was really tempted to add powdered sugar – because I always do for frosting. But it was great to see that you don’t need to. The frosting is sweet and there is plenty of it.
I was also unsure about including lemon juice. But it goes well with the tahini and tastes great. These brownies are really rather addicting…don’t say you weren’t warned!
I used to have trouble finding tahini. Now I see it at most grocery stores. Check in the Asian or Middle Eastern section, or try an Asian market. I much prefer tahini which comes in a jar instead of a can: it seems to have a looser consistency.
More Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies – Instant Pot Recipe
- Homemade Vegan Oatmeal Date Cookies (Gluten-free)
- 5-minute Double Chocolate Pumpkin Mug Cake
Rich and Fudgy Tahini Brownies
- 8-or 9- inch square metal baking pan
- ⅔ cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat pastry flour
- ⅓ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons tahini divided
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey divided
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium lemon cut in half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8- or 9- inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the tahini, the sugar, ⅓ cup of the honey, the eggs, olive oil, and vanilla. Pour into the dry ingredients. Mix together until a thick batter forms.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly to each corner. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until the edges are visibly baked through and the center is just set. Remove the pan from the oven, place on a wire rack, and cool for 15 minutes.
- While the brownies bake, squeeze 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into a small bowl. (Save any remaining lemon for another use.) Add the remaining 6 tablespoons tahini, remaining 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 tablespoons water to small bowl. Whisk together until the icing is thick and smooth.
- Once the brownies have cooled, spread on the icing over the top, then cut into 16 squares.
Here are some other recipes in this cookbook that looked appealing to me:
- Kale and Chickpea Pappardelle
- Lemon-Barley Pilaf with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms
- Spaghetti Squash Noodles with Chickpea “Meatballs”
I love Deanna and Serena’s creative ideas. These easy recipes can help people find ways to include more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains in their lives!
I was provided with a review copy of this cookbook.
Please let me know if you tried these tahini brownies and leave a star rating in the comments below:
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