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Sesame comes from a type of hardy oilseed crop, and after extracted from the plant, the seeds are extremely rich in oil with a distinctive nutty flavor. Today, sesame is commonly used to make dressings, oil, it’s added to foods, and the actual seeds are used in a variety of different cuisines, including Japanese, Chinese, and Middle Eastern. If after eating sesame products you break out in hives or experience other symptoms, it’s possible you have an allergy to the seed and might be directed to…

eat a sesame-free diet. The biggest problem with avoiding sesame is that there are several different ways that food labels describe the ingredient. Some keywords to look for are gomasio, (it means sesame salt), sesame flour, sesame paste, and tahini. Those are pretty easy ingredients to look for. Experts also advise staying away from sesamol, sesemolina, sim sim, and halvah. Sound confusing? Maybe just stick to a few of these sesame-free suggestions.

Sesame-Free Hummus

If you’ve been told you have a sesame allergy – or should avoid eating sesame products for other reasons – you might have thought that you need to say sayonara to hummus. Hummus is a type of spread made from ground chickpeas. It contains sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Some types of hummus are made with tahini, which is a sesame-based butter. The great news is that there is a delicious sesame-free hummus recipe that anyone on a non-sesame regime can enjoy anytime. It calls for garbanzo beans or chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, ground cumin, salt, and olive oil. You have the option of garnishing the hummus with paprika, pine nuts, or whole chickpeas if you’re into that. Do you know what goes great with homemade hummus? Homemade bread! And the best part is that you control every ingredient that goes into every loaf in the oven.

Sesame-Free Comfort Food

No matter who you are or how old you are, it’s crucial to have some comfort food recipes on hand for a rainy day, when you have a cold or are craving a little TLC in the form of a warm bite to eat. Comfort food recipes are also great for kids with picky tastes and an allergy to sesame. Here are a few recipes to stash in your box of goodies: chicken nuggets, lasagna, turkey meatloaf, Russian-inspired stroganoff, and mini corndogs. This sesame-free stroganoff recipe contains just a few ingredients, including ground meat (chicken, beef, or turkey), onion, celery, margarine or butter, flour, milk (which you can substitute with rice milk), and broth. Before serving, pour over egg noodles or rice and add a dollop of sour cream. A sesame-free meatloaf contains ground meat (you can use beef, chicken, or turkey) and onion, and then here are some additional ingredients that can add some zing to your loaf: salsa or ketchup, mustard or brown sugar. For little ones who can’t eat sesame products, make mini meatloaf fingers, for their enjoyment.

Sesame-Free Desserts

Unless you typically make Asian, Greek, or Middle Eastern-inspired desserts (plus many other types), you may not encounter a lot of desserts that contain sesame or sesame products. But they’re out here. Especially these days when grocery stores and restaurants love to offer a variety of creative dessert ideas and mixes. Sesame, seeds, sesame oil, or sesame salt can be used in lots of different recipes, like pudding, cheesecake, ice cream, pastries like cream puffs, sweet foods like pancakes and waffles, and even chocolate cake. But here are some sesame-free dessert recipes to file away for when you need a no-sesame day.

Homemade ice cream cookies. Ice cream churners are very inexpensive these days, and all you need to make a batch of vanilla on your own is sugar, cream, milk, and a little bit of salt, plus vanilla extract or vanilla bean to flavor your batch. To complete your ice cream sandwiches, use these ingredients to make the perfect non-sesame-containing chocolate chip cookies: butter, brown sugar, white sugar, milk, vanilla, flour (or gluten-free flour mix), salt, baking soda, and chocolate chips. On a sultry summer day, consider making key lime Popsicles using lime zest, lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, half and half, and a touch of salt. After combining your ingredients, pour into Popsicle molds and freeze for a few hours, so they have a chance to harden.

When it's all said and done, a sesame-free diet isn't so bad. There are tons of soups and main courses that have zero chance of containing sesame products. And when you eat simple foods, like baked chicken and veggies, or pasta with tomato sauce, skipping sesame ingredients is a snap.

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