While most of us don’t give much thought to sesame beyond, maybe, our morning bagel, it’s a superfood well worth considering adding to your diet. “Sesame is high in many beneficial minerals, including copper, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc and fiber,” explains Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN and founder of Real Nutrition NYC. “This is a great source of nutrition for vegetarians and vegans as these little seeds contain nutrients found in many animal products. The fiber in sesames is a specific type called lignan, which has been shown to help manage cholesterol, prevent high blood pressure and help to protect the liver from oxidative damage.”
Shapiro suggests adding sesame seeds to your snacks instead of nuts to mix up your nutrients and flavors. “I like to dip cucumber slices in sesame seeds or add them to salads,” she says. She also recommends making your own tahini dressing to use on veggies and salads to add nutrition and flavor, and to make sure to store your sesame seeds in the fridge to prevent them from getting rancid quickly. Two notes of caution, however. “Don’t forget to count sesame seeds in your daily calorie limit. Just like nuts, they are high in fat and calories (albeit good for you), so portion control is important.” Also, Shapiro says, if you are on a restricted oxalate diet, limit your sesame seeds and make sure if you indulge in tahini that it is made from hulled sesames.
To kick off some gastronomic inspiration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite sesame recipes.
EMM Group‘s Executive Pastry Chef Thiago Silva‘s Sesame Granola Bars (makes 12 to 18 pieces)
- 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup black sesame seeds
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup coconut flakes
- 1 cup dried sour cherries (chopped)
- 1 cup honey
- 1/3 cup sesame oil
- 1/2 cup sesame paste
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups 64 percent chocolate
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place sesame seeds, rolled oats, sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes in a sheet pan, stir and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and mix in sour cherries, then place in a bowl. Place honey, sesame oil, sesame paste, maple syrup and salt in a stainless steel pot, cook to 245 degrees Fahrenheit while mixing with a rubber spatula. Once temperature hits 245 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from heat and add to granola mix. Stir until well incorporated, then place onto a sheet pan, press to desired thickness. Let cool. Once cool, cut into desired size and dip into dark chocolate (64 percent or darker), let chocolate set and serve.