Semolina Halva

Semolina halva is a traditional Greek dessert that it’s not only Greek! It’s made with olive oil, fine semolina and a syrup made of sugar and water :-) The syrup is perfumed with cinnamon and lemon zest! The original recipe also uses cloves but when I used to make this recipe in Greece (more than 20 years ago), I did not use any cloves so I did not add them in this recipe, just to be sure that I will have the same taste I had back then! There are also almonds and dried raisins because I just love them both! Try to make this delicious dessert, it’s easy and 100% vegan!

In two words:

“I was also the poet of many destinies”

To Start...

difficulty easy
preparation– 5’
cooking - 2’ (to remove the skin from almonds) + 10' (to roast almonds) + 20’ (for cooking the halva)   
serves - 4-6 (for a round pan of 20cm of Ø)  


  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • 1 + ½ cup of fine semolina
  • 2 + ¼ cup of caster sugar
  • 3 cups of water
  • ¾ of a cinnamon stick
  • 1 vertical strip of lemon zest made with a peeler
  • 65gr of unsalted almonds
  • 40gr of dried brown raisins (eg sultanina type)


  • Preheat the oven at 180°C
  • Add some water into a small casserole and place the almonds in it
  • Cook for 2’
  • Drain and let them cool a little
  • Once you can touch the almonds, scrub them between your fingers to remove their skin
  • Place them into a tray going in the oven and roast them for 8’ to 10’
  • In another small casserole, add:
    • the water
    • the sugar
    • the cinnamon
    • the lemon zest
  • Boil for about 5’
  • In a casserole that is large enough, add the olive oil
  • Heat up the casserole in high heat
  • Once the oil is hot, add the semolina
  • Start to stir with a wooden spoon
  • Stir constantly, and at some point, the semolina will start changing color
  • Once it’s golden brown, add with a lot of precaution the syrup, after having removed the cinnamon stick and the lemon zest
  • (Be very careful because once you add the hot syrup, the semolina will start to boil and drops of hot semolina will start to pomp out of the casserole and maybe on your hands if you are not careful)
  • Reduce the heat
  • Continue to stir the semolina until all the syrup is fully absorbed
  • When there is no more syrup, add the almonds (not the roasted ones) and the dried raisins and stir one last time
  • Remove from heat, and place a clean napkin on top of the casserole and then put the lid on
  • Let it rest for 10’
  • Place the halva into a round pan of 20cm of Ø and decorate its top with the roasted almonds
  • Taste the dessert either slightly warm or cold
  • It’s delicious :-)

What’s the story behind this recipe?

The halva or χαλβάς it’s a traditional Greek dessert that’s 100% vegan and this since ages :-) It’s a dessert that we eat during Lent and even if it’s quite heavy in calories, it’s worth eating just a little bit :-)

I found this article in English that describes its story very well and presents the different types of halva we have in Greece.

Il est clair que le halva est une gourmandise du bassin Méditerranéen et d’autres pays le fabriquent comme la Turquie, l’Algérie etc. Il est même préparé (autrement) en Asie et au Moyen Orient.   

So everyone has its version! It’s up to you to find yours because you really worth such a wonderful treat in your life :-) (to be eaten in small portion though!)


his recipe comes from a recipe in the book Alexiadou Vefa, Greek Pastries and Desserts, Vefa Alexiadou, Thessaloniki, 1995, p. 101 by Mrs Alexiadou. As I mentioned, I did not add cloves but if you love them you can certainly add one or two.


Please note that the usual proportions for this dessert are: 1 part olive oil – 2 parts of fine semolina – 3 parts of caster sugar – 4 parts of water.

So, for a pan of a 28cm of Ø, you can use the cup as a measure and you will have the adequate quantity!

I must say that I used caster sugar for this recipe because I wanted to have the same result as 20 years ago! But I am very curious to taste this dessert while using rapadura sugar which is very aromatic! I will try it some day and I will update this post, so stay tuned!

o-o C'est si bon ! o-o

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2 thoughts on “Halva à la semoule”

    1. Lol! Well, there isn’t any 🙁 But it’s so easy to make that you will have no problem about it 🙂 It will be your first (?) great dessert! But be careful because when you add the syrup, you might burn if you are not careful 🙂 For more or any other info or help I am here 🙂 Bises 🙂

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