Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It’s like peanut butter, except it’s made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts.
Although tahini may sound like an exotic ingredient, you’ve probably already eaten it before. Ever heard of hummus? Of course you have. Tahini is a key ingredient.
Tahini is used in many other recipes, and it’s a particularly popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine, where it is used to make the roasted eggplant dip baba ghanoush, and the sesame and honey based fudge-like dessert, halva.
Sesame paste is also used in other global cuisines such as in sauces for Vietnamese noodle dishes or mixed with aromatic spices in Indian curries. In the aisles of Greek supermarkets, tahini can even be found in jars combined with cocoa and honey, sold as a decadent spread for toast.
Although tahini can also be made from black sesame seeds, most is made from hulled and toasted white sesame seeds, which creates a sticky-smooth beige paste, not unlike runny peanut butter.
Tahini has a rich, creamy, deeply roasted nutty flavour with a subtle hint of bitterness.
One tablespoon of tahini (about 15g) has 89 calories, 2.6g protein, 8.1g of fat, 3.2g of carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, and 0.1g sugar. Tahini is an excellent source of manganese and copper, and a good source of calcium and iron.
Tahini is widely available at most larger grocery stores and health food stores.
Although tahini is relatively shelf-stable, due to its high proportion of omega 6 fats (which are more fragile and prone to rancidity), it is recommended that you store it in the fridge, where it will keep for about six months. If you are going to finish your jar within a couple of months, a cool, dry cupboard is suitable too.
Tahini needs no special preparation and can be eaten straight from the jar with a spoon as a minimalist snack, spread on toast or crackers, or mix it with other ingredients to create delicious sauces, dressings, and desserts.
RECIPE: GREEN TAHINI WITH FRESH SEASONAL VEGETABLES
Spinach colours this tahini-based sauce a beautiful green. This sauce is incredibly versatile and goes well with all vegetables, and can be used as a drizzle, dip, or dressing.
raw spinach, packed
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup garlic cloves
4 lemon, juiced
1 tsp za'atar
1 tsp sea salt
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Servings: 6-8
Prepare your fresh vegetables as you wish. Cut them in desired shapes, roast them, grill them, or leave them raw.
Next, prepare the green tahini: Add spinach, tahini, oil, water, garlic, lemon, and seasoning to a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Arrange prepared vegetables on a large plate or board and drizzle green tahini sauce over top, or pour it into a small bowl for dipping.
Store the leftover sauce (if there is any) in an airtight container for two to three days. This sauce is incredibly versatile and can work as a drizzle or dip for vegetables, as a dressing for salads, or oven over pasta!