What is tahini sauce?
It feels important for me to tell readers who have never had tahini sauce, that tahini SAUCE is not the same as a salad dressing or spread made with tahini.
Most tahini dressings contain honey or another sweetener, as well as a variety of other ingredients, that leave only a hint of the sesame seeds. Tahini sauce, which is well known in the Mediterranean world, tastes very much like tahini itself. That is, it is a nutty, savory, and forward flavor and not at all sweet. It is so delicious, and you should give it a try!
Okay, then what is tahini paste?Tahini is a paste made from squishing up sesame seeds and combining them with a few other ingredients, somewhat similar to peanut butter. If you have ever eaten hummus or baba ghanoush, you have probably met tahini before.
Is tahini gluten free?Yes, tahini is traditionally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, paleo, and whole30 compliant. Make sure to check your labels, as thickeners can be added. It is also technical nut-free, as sesame seeds are seeds, not nuts. However, some people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to sesame seeds.
Tahini has great health benefits!Tahini contains lots of protein, more than other nuts. It is also an excellent source of vitamins E and many B vitamins. According to Times of India, tahini is good for weight loss and easy to digest on account of high alkaline mineral content. Many people would benefit from the addition of tahini in their diets. This recipe is a great place to start. Or you can try our chicken salad recipe here.
Do you keep tahini in the fridge? Does tahini go off?
Yes, tahini will go off! Like other oils and nuts pastes, tahini can quickly go rancid in the pantry. In fact, some people who find tahini too bitter are eating tahini that is past its prime. Tahini that is still good will be nutty and rich. It will taste savory and hearty, but not overly bitter.
Tahini that has gone bad will be very bitter. Tahini should be kept in a very cool, dark place to ensure that it stays good for months.
How long will tahini last in the fridge? Most tahini will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator, which is plenty of time to make plenty of tahini sauce!
Adapting this recipe
There are probably one thousand recipes for tahini sauce in the world today. They are all variations using essentially the same ingredients as shown below. I have been surprised to discover that different brands of tahini taste quite different.
When opening a new jar of tahini, I have found myself modifying the recipe below to suit the new tahini. I don’t find the same to be true with peanut butter, so I’m left to conclude that sesame seeds are all unique little seeds and must be treated with a discerning palate.
My advice is to use the recipe below and experiment with your container of tahini until you find the perfect match. More lemon juice will add extra tang. Extra salt will bring out more flavor. Additional pepper will help add a little heat, and more cumin or garlic will change the flavor a bit.
Love that you can make this recipe with mostly pantry staples? Check out our post for tons more recipes created primarily from ingredients in your own pantry and freezer!
There are probably one thousand recipes for tahini sauce in the world today. They are all variations using essentially the same ingredients as shown below. My advice is to use the recipe below and experiment with your container of tahini until you find the perfect match. More lemon juice will add extra tang. Extra salt will bring out more flavor. Additional pepper will help add a little heat, and more cumin or garlic will change the flavor a bit. Love that you can make this recipe with mostly pantry staples? Check out our post for tons more recipes created primarily from ingredients in your own pantry and freezer!
- ½ cup tahini
- ½ cup cold water, divided
- 2 cloves of garlic (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a food processor, add the tahini, ¼ cup of water, and lemon juice and process thoroughly. Add the garlic, cumin, and salt and continue to process until tahini is smooth like a sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- You can add additional water to thin the sauce if necessary, adding them one tablespoon at a time (up to the full ½ cup). Tahini sauce is usually as liquid as salad dressing, but you could make it more of a dip by adding less water.
- Add more lemon juice is you prefer a tangier dressing. Add extra salt or garlic if you prefer a little more flavor.
- It’s a little non-traditional, but we love to add herbs to our tahini sauce. Cilantro is our go-to, but basil or other Italian herbs would be excellent. You can either sprinkle them on top, stir them in, or if you want a more uniform color, blend them right into the dressing.