Nuts and seeds make up some of the most delightful meals and snacks. While you don’t want to overdo these healthy overt fats, since they’re incredibly dense in calories, a little can go a long way to add nutrition to your day. Many of them provide high amounts of certain nutrients in just a couple tablespoons that you don’t want to leave out. Nuts, seeds and their butters contain large amounts of anti-inflammatory properties. magnesium, omega 3 fats, iron, calcium, amino acids, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, copper and other trace minerals. One of these is tahini.
Tahini is made of ground sesame seeds, which when blended becomes a fine paste, much like peanut or almond butter. It has a savory, earthy, and almost nutty flavor. Divine in many recipes, tahini can be bought either roasted or raw (which will be higher in nutrients). Tahini isn’t just delicious though; its nutrient composition, versatility, and ability to combine it with many plant-based dishes deem it worthy of earning a spot in every Green Monster’s fridge.
Just two tablespoons of tahini gives you 15 percent of your daily iron needs.You shouldn’t consume more than one or two servings a day to get what you need from this one food (nor should you do that with any food), however, tahini does go a long way to give you what you need in a small serving. You can easily add it to a salad, a smoothie, or even mix it into your oatmeal to boost your iron content. Tahini is also high in copper and zinc in addition to iron, which will support your hair, skin and nails, not to mention your overall immunity and blood sugar. Pair it with green vegetables and a sprinkle of some dulse (a seaweed) to add a salty flavor and even more minerals.
Tahini contains 8 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons which is more than almond butter and equal to peanut butter (the highest nut-based source). Amino acids that support protein synthesis in the body do everything from keep your muscles strong and healthy, to help your neurotransmitters function properly. They also help support your blood sugar and enhance satiety. All seeds are incredibly rich in amino acids, so don’t leave them out.
Low in Saturated Fats
Some fats like coconut and cacao contain natural saturated fats that may provide our body with benefits in moderate amounts, however, for the most part you don’t want to obtain all your fats from saturated sources. Tahini is very low in saturated fats in comparison to the total amount of fats it contains, with approximately 2.5 grams of saturated fats in 2 tablespoons. The remaining fats are healthy mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated sources that support a healthy heart.
Easy to Digest
Some nuts can be hard to digest, making nut butters out of the question. Some people are also allergic to nuts, which eliminates a great source of nutrients in a tiny package. This makes seeds incredibly handy (and important). Since tahini is made from a seed and a very tiny one at that, it’s much easier to digest, assimilate and will give your body beneficial nutrients. Digestion is important for your health, since you can only benefit from what you properly digest. So listen to your body and opt for seeds if nuts don’t work for you.
The best way to replicate dairy in your dressings is to use tahini, which actually tastes better! Tahini provides a creamy, dippy consistency that you can make dressings with and to replace mayo. See some dressing ideas here to get started, and learn how to make your own tahini here.
Sweet and Savory Delights
Even though it’s naturally savory by nature, tahini can be used in many sweet dishes to compliment the sweet ingredients. This adds a really delightful flavor that you won’t get from other nut butters like almond. Try making a smoothie with tahini, berries, greens, and some vanilla raw vegan protein or add a spoonful to your oatmeal with some cinnamon, berries, apples or banana. You can also try some no bake recipes made with tahini such as Raw Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
It’s the Perfect Spread or Dip for Whatever You Need
Want a healthy spread for celery, seed-crackers, sprouted grain toast? Choose tahini. Need something to make healthy sandwich with? Tahini is there for you too. It also makes a divine dip for raw or cooked veggies. Just blend a couple tablespoons with a little water or lemon juice, black pepper, garlic and give it a blend to enjoy in place of other dips for a change of pace.
Of course, other nut and seed butters are also healthy for you too, but don’t leave out this incredibly nutritious food. Be sure to store your tahini in the fridge, which should be the case for all your nut and seed butters. This will help prevent rancidity and will keep them fresh. Rancid fats can be highly inflammatory, so don’t ignore this important storage tip!
Do you use tahini? What’s your favorite recipe?
Lead Image Source: Sauteed Kale and Carrot With a Tahini Sauce