Butterscotch Tahini Bars

Since I eliminated dairy, I’m often asked how I get enough calcium. It’s understandable, as when we think of calcium, cow’s milk is usually the first thing that springs to mind.

But you know what? There are plenty of plant-based calcium sources: almonds, Brazil nuts, broccoli, collards, kale, spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard, parsnips, parsley, tofu, kidney beans, raisins, blackstrap molasses, kelp, raisins, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, oranges. And these are good sources, too – they don’t have calcium in piddly amounts.

Sesame seeds, which are ground into a paste called tahini, offer more than 1,000mg of calcium per 100-gram serving. Of course, 100 grams is a lot of sesame seeds – about ¾ cup – which is more than I would eat in a single serving, as they are also rich in calories and fat. But they are very nutrient dense, and also contain things like magnesium (nature’s relaxant), iron, zinc, fibre and tryptophan, which induces sleep and boosts mood.

I quite enjoyed these bars; they were mellow and satisfying. I’d use less coconut oil next time, maybe ¼ cup or so, as the bars melted quickly in my hand as I was eating them. And then add in some more tahini or almond butter to make up the difference.

How do you make sure you get enough calcium?

Butterscotch Tahini Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup lucuma powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar, or 20 drops of stevia
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • Sesame seeds, for topping
  1. Melt coconut oil, then combine with tahini, lucuma, vanilla, coconut sugar and salt. Stir until combined.
  2. Pour into mold of choice (I used a loaf pan lined with parchment).
  3. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Freeze and then cut into bars.


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10 Responses to Butterscotch Tahini Bars

  1. itsybitsybrianna August 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    These look SUPER delicious
    please stop by and say hi

  2. Jesse @ Happy Go Lucky Vegan August 18, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    These look great! So creative! May I ask what lucuma powder is and where to find it?

    • Sondi Bruner August 18, 2011 at 10:01 am #

      Lucuma is a fruit from Peru. It’s low glycemic and it’s filled with fibre, vitamins and minerals – especially vitamin B3, beta carotene and iron. And it’s got a lovely, caramel-ish flavour. It’s available in my city at a number of health food stores, and you can find it online.

  3. Dawn August 18, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Too funny. That was the FIRST thing my mother in law asked me. And her diet is beyond horrible. She drinks a 64 ounce diet coke every morning and then however many additional diet cokes she can fit in the remainder of the day because “she is thirsty”.
    I wanted to say, why not let me worry about the calcium….

    • Sondi Bruner August 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      Next time, you can tell your mother-in-law that Diet Coke contains high amounts of phosphorus, which actually binds to calcium and prevents calcium from being absorbed in the digestive tract. So even if she’s consuming a lot of dairy, she’s not getting any of the calcium from it.

  4. Jac and Jenn @sketchfreevegan August 19, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    yay! glad you got around to making these! they look great!

  5. Elizabeth March 2, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Did you use refined or unrefined coconut oil?
    Also, if vanilla stevia is used should the vanilla extract be omitted?

    • Sondi Bruner March 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      I opt for unrefined whenever possible. If you have vanilla stevia, you certainly could leave the vanilla out if you want.

  6. NJ April 22, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

    are there any possible substitutes for Lucuma powder?

    • Sondi April 22, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Lucuma has a pretty distinct taste. You could try subbing in a little more coconut sugar, or adding in cacao powder and making them chocolate-y!