Tahini is a paste made from ground-up sesame seeds, with a similar consistency and color to peanut butter. Taste wise, however, it might not be as palatable as nut butters to those who are not familiar with the product, but you certainly could spread some on whole wheat toast and have a nice, nutritious start to your day. Yes, tahini is healthy; it’s actually a fantastic plant-based source of calcium, which is why this paste can be an important staple of the vegetarian and vegan diet.

Just two tablespoons of tahini will give you 128 mg of calcium, which is required for muscle and nerve functions and is one of the most important minerals for our bodies. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies have recommended that men and women get between 1,000 and 1,300 mg of calcium per day, depending on age.

Tahini is sold in jars in most grocery stores, or you can make your own. For the plant-based eater, this spreadable source of calcium should be a staple in your pantry. There are several ways to use tahini, for both savory and sweet purposes. Check out these five ways to use tahini in your vegan meals.