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The Versatility of Tahini: Chocolate Tahini Tart With Date Walnut Crust

posted on: Feb 16, 2022

By: Blanche Shaheen / Arab America Contributing Writer

While most anyone that makes homemade hummus on a regular basis has tahini in their cupboard, many do not realize the versatility and nutritional value of this Arab household staple. By the spoon, tahini is a great source of phosphorus and manganese, both of which play important roles in bone health. Tahini is also high in vitamins B1 and B6, which are vital for energy production.  Even the fat in tahini is beneficial, as 50% of the fat comes from monounsaturated fatty acids. These have anti-inflammatory properties and have been linked to a decreased risk of chronic disease.

In Palestine and Lebanon, families treat tahini like they do peanut butter in the west, spreading the paste on bread with a drizzle of grape molasses. Tahini plays a key role in salad dressings and toppings for wraps and sandwiches combined with chopped vegetables. But this sesame paste can also work for scrumptious desserts, adding a nutty richness and creaminess.  Tahini is interchangeable with peanut butter, you can use it to make tahini butter cookies or cakes for a different flavor profile that is surprising to the palate. Tahini also pairs great with chocolate in this whole foods-based Chocolate Tahini Tart with a Date and Walnut crust.

Other than the sugar in the chocolate, this dessert has no added sugar, as chewy dates add plenty of sweetness. This tart is no-bake, egg-free, and easily vegan if you replace the cream with coconut cream. You can store the tart in the refrigerator for up to a week, and serve whenever you are ready to entertain, or of course, eat it yourself. 

For the full cooking tutorial, check out the video below:

Chocolate Tahini Tarts With Date Walnut Crust

For Crust:

½ package Date Paste – or 7 ounces pureed dates

1 ½ cups walnuts

2 tbsp almond, cashew, or sun butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

For Filling:

4 oz. milk, white, or dark chocolate (depending on your preference) 

1/4 cup tahini paste

1/4 cup heavy cream (or coconut cream for a vegan version) 


Slivered almonds

In a food processor, grind the walnuts, cinnamon, and nutmeg and pulse until the walnuts are coarse. Add the dates and nut butter, and pulse until the mixture forms a pliable dough. Press the walnut mixture into 4 mini tart pans, or one 9 inch pie or tart pan. For the filling, melt the chocolate and cream in a double boiler and stir until melted. You can also use the microwave by setting it at 30 seconds, stirring, then microwaving 30 seconds more. Stir in the tahini paste until smooth. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes, then pour over the date walnut crust. Top with the slivered almonds and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set. 

Blanche Shaheen is the author of the cookbook called “Feast In the Middle East, a Journey of Family and Cuisine”  which you can order here:   She is also a journalist, and host of the popular cooking show called Feast in the Middle East. She specializes in Arab cuisine of the Levant and beyond.  You can check out her cooking video tutorials at  Her recipes can also be found at: 

Check out Arab America’s blog here!