Tahini is an important ingredient in hummus and falafel and a good thing to have in your diet. Tahini is full of calcium, magnesium, low in saturated fats, and is a good plant-based source of iron and protein. Made from toasted ground sesame seeds, this kitchen staple has a lot of varied and non-traditional uses too, so it’s no wonder I’m always running out. While somewhat bitter on its own, the right additions give tahini a rich, creamy and unique range of tastes for salad dressings, steamed vegetables, dip for kababs, or spreading on sandwiches.
Buy an additive-free tahini, or make your own with this simple recipe. Sometimes tahini is easier to find at Indian or Asian markets, and of course Greek if you have a local gyro or Mediterranean grocery. Sesame seed butter is made without roasting the seeds, but will substitute in a pinch. It can be found at health food stores and even chain grocery stores these days. Both sesame seeds and tahini butter are also available online.
Most of these sauces call for a blender or food processor, but can be beaten with a fork, whisk, or be made using a handheld mixer.
Add water, garlic, spinach, tahini, a dash of lemon or lime juice, and spicing of your choice. I recommend keeping it simple, cayenne, salt and pepper with a hint of Italian seasoning.
Blend the ingredients before cooking for a cheery green sauce, or skip the blending and stir well if eating the spinach whole is more appealing. Another cheesy pasta sauce with tahini can be made with this Quick & Cheesy Uncheese Sauce.
Sweet Salad Dressing
I’ve used this sweet sauce mostly for salads, blending just tahini and agave with a little water. Blend and add more water slowly until you reach the desired consistency. Add a dash of sea salt, and you’re done! Balsamic can add tartness if desired. For more great tahini salads, try Kale Salad with Creamy Ginger Tahini Dressing and Raw Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing.
Broth, tahini, salt and pepper with garlic, and an optional dash of olive oil makes a delicious topping. Heat the broth, and then add and dissolve the tahini, allowing time to simmer and cook down about 20 minutes on a medium temperature. Drizzle over steamed veggies, whole grains, tofu or baked veggies and enjoy.
Spicy Non-dairy Ricotta
Inspired by the Vegan Black Metal Chef’s vegan ricotta, this is excellent as a salad dressing, in pasta, or as a dip for veggies. Just blend lemon, tahini, water, optional oil of choice, paprika and salt. The lemon reacts with the sesame butter to make it almost fluffy. Make the salad gourmet and filling with raw Nut Cheese. (For the curious, this Gluten Free Vegan Lasagna takes a cauliflower and tofu approach to ricotta.)
Combine avocado and tahini with lemon to balance out the bitterness of the tahini and keep the avocado the right color until dinner is ready to serve. This can be spiced simply, just salt, pepper, and optional garlic and onion, but adding cayenne or jalapeño peppers will add spice and make this more like a traditional guacamole. Use anywhere you’d use guacamole or hummus, or add half a cup of water or broth to use as a dressing. Need help choosing the right avos and keeping them fresh?