Could pasteli be the original energy bar? I’m not sure, but I don’t see why not. Pasteli is an incredibly simple, natural, and common Greek treat. And when I say incredibly simple and natural, I really mean it. Pasteli has two ingredients: honey and sesame seeds. That’s it (although you could add some raw pistachios–which are delicious).

I used to love it when my grandparents would bring home bars of pasteli from the Greek market. I’d devour it! It’s a great combo of sweet and nutty, and has a nice chewy texture.  I’ve been wanting to make it myself for a while but just never got around to it. I was talking to my mom recently and she told me she was going to make some, so I decided now is as good of  a time as any for me to make some, too.

Since this only has two ingredients (and makes a ton of pasteli), please  use good honey. Really, it is definitely worth it. I found a Greek honey that I got at the market, which I would recommend, but any good quality, tasty honey will work. Tasting it beforehand is a good idea. I really like thyme honey for pasteli, too.

I decided to cut half of these very small, almost like little pieces of candy and leave the rest of the pan in bigger pieces. Of course you could cut these in big bars/squares or however you like.

This recipe calls for equal parts by weight of sesame and honey. So, to increase or decrease the recipe you should plan accordingly. One pound of honey is about 1 and 1/3 cups and 1 lb. of sesame seeds is about 3 cups. This will make a large sheet pan of pasteli. It definitely makes a lot, but this stuff will keep forever so there’s really no reason not to make the whole batch.


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1-1/3 cup good quality honey
3 cups toasted sesame seeds
1/2 lb. raw pistachios (optional, I didn’t use any this time)

Prepare a sheet pan with some parchment paper.

Bring the honey to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir in the sesame seeds (and pistachios, if using) and stir, bringing it to a second boil. Stir for a few more minutes until the mixture thickens and darkens a little and everything is coated in the honey mixture.  Pour onto the prepared pan and then smooth it out so it’s all even.

Allow it to cool at room temperature until it’s set (you can put it in the fridge for a bit, too, if you want) and then cut into pieces.  Store the leftovers in a covered tin, in a cool/dry place.


  • mmm…looks good! It reminds me of a Chinese treat I used to eat growing up. It might even be made the same way!

  • This is really similar to a Filipino snack using pili nuts and honey. The best part is that this only involves 2 ingredients! It’s great catching up with your blog with all the delicious entries you’ve posted recently and hopefully I’ll have more time in the future to stop by and comment!

  • Oh wow! I forget how simple this is. It really is the best energy bar around!

  • I love sesame bars!!!! I never knew it would be this simple to make!!!Thx for sharing!!!

    BTW I made your Mongolian beef on Saturday and will post later!!!Was delicious!!!

  • I brought tons of these back when I visited Greece. They always reminded me of my childhood favourite which is widely available here “Sesame Snaps”. You can still by 3 for .99 cents.Thans for sharing your recipe Elly.

  • Wow, this really is easy…and I, too, love them. Just thinking if you layered it really thin (like a brittle), it would make a great garnish for a dessert.

  • brannyboilsover

    I would love to try this!

  • Ooh yum! I love chewy, nutty candies. I have got to try this sometime.

  • Oups! I was going to post exactly the same recipe this weekend!!!

  • These look great, Elly! Nice photos!

  • I love the combination of sesame seeds and pistachio…chewy…yummie!

  • Angel

    do you think it’s alright if i replace the sesame seeds with oatmeal?

    • Hmm, I’m not really sure, Angel. I don’t know what the texture would be like. If you try it let me know!

  • I enjoyed these tasty treat when I was on vacation in Greece. Making your own sounds like fun!

  • These look really tasty and easy to make at home! I would love to try them with pisatchios!

  • The wrapped ones look so cute for giving away as gifts! I think they sell these at HarvesTime, right? I’m going to have to look and see, and then I can try some and see what I think. I”m usually a big fan of sesame seed flavors, so I bed I”d like this!

    • Yup, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it at HarvesTime, Erin! Hope you like it.

  • I have been meaning to make this for ages…I’ve only done it once, with a recipe out of Mark Grant’s “Roman Cookery” for an ancient Greek/Roman dinner back in university a few years ago…now I’m definitely going to go get myself some extra honey to do it again!

  • Yum, Elly! I see a batch of these in my future!

  • these look so yummy. i don’t think i’ve tried them before.

  • Opa! These are going to be bookmarked for later, for sure!


  • I love pastelli nor never tried to make some myself. very encouraging that you posted the recipe. thanks.

  • Wishful Bohemian

    These look delish – I’m a fan of honey and I also happen to have a surplus of sesame seeds, so this works great for me! Thanks!

  • Pingback: When I grow up… [Recipe; pasteli aka sesame seed balls] « A sugar-coated ink()