If you have ever wondered “What is tahini?” or how to make tahini then you’ve come to the right place. Tahini is a flavor we have fallen in love with and today we will share with you what is tahini, how to make tahini, and a great tahini recipe — our lemon tahini dressing which we love and have been making a lot lately.
What is tahini?
Excellent question. I had the same question when I first began experimenting with homemade hummus and kept running across tahini as a main ingredient in other hummus recipes I tried out. And so my tahini journey began there and my love for it as an ingredient and flavor has grown ever since. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and is found in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean foods. In addition to hummus, tahini is also a main ingredient in baba ghanoush and halva.
Where to buy tahini?
Once I got a taste and fell in love with tahini the next logical question became “Where can I get my hands on this stuff?!”. As you may know, if you’ve read this blog before, we live in a smaller town and the local grocery stores leave a little (okay, a LOT) to be desired. If you find yourself in a similar situation you might not be able to find tahini at your local store. But, fear not! Lots of higher-end grocery chains do carry tahini and you’re sure to find it at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. I was visiting a friend, who conveniently lives near Wegmans, and on my way home I stopped in and saw their organic tahini so I know they carry it and I suspect stores like Whole Foods carry it as well. But if you can’t get to one of these stores, you can also just buy tahini from Amazon. Another reason I love Amazon! 🙂
For those feeling adventurous, this post tells you how to make tahini at home. I came across the aforementioned post while learning about tahini and it reminded me that I had made a mental note (and then forgotten the mental note) to try making our own version of lemon tahini dressing.
During our travels this summer, I found lemon tahini dressing in several different restaurants. MY TASTEBUDS WERE BLOWN AWAY! It is so good. Creamy and flavorful, but much healthier than your typical cream-based dressings; don’t get me wrong, we love ranch dressing and blue cheese dressing, especially if they are homemade, but like anything else, sometimes you need options and sometimes you have to feed someone with dietary restrictions. Fortunately, the lemon tahini dressing recipe we share below is gluten-free and vegan (and delicious!), so it’s a perfect dressing to have on hand if you are hosting anyone following a gluten-free and/or vegan diet. At one of the restaurants where I had lemon tahini dressing it was served over a house salad and at the other it was over a chicken shwarma rice bowl (which was amazing and we are testing out a recipe to post soon!). I’ve also had it served with falafels and steamed veggies with rice. So you’ve got plenty of ways to try it and I’m sure once you do you’ll be in search of even more new ways to enjoy it.
Tahini Nutritional Value
We love the flavor and versatility of tahini, but we also love it as a healthier choice than many other dressings for lots of reasons:
- It’s high in unsaturated fat (saturated fats are the ones to avoid)
- It’s a great anti-inflammatory and is great for joint pain relief
- Tahini is higher in protein than most nuts
- Tahini is a great immune booster and good for heart health
If you need more convincing check out this great post from Dr. Axe on the health benefits of tahini.
So by now you’re probably ready to make tahini part of your diet, right? Let’s do it!
Our lemon tahini dressing recipe comes together very easily. Just throw the ingredients in the blender and blend until creamy. Add some extra water if you like it thinner. The dressing should last in the fridge for a couple weeks so that makes it a great family-friendly item. We love items that we can enjoy over a span of time without the fear of them getting lost in the shuffle of busy family meal prep and quickly going to waste. We’re certainly FAR from perfect on this front, but we do try to waste as little as possible.
Recipes with tahini
Once you have an open jar of tahini, there’s always a danger that it will sit in the back of the fridge forgotten. But you don’t want to let such a marvelous ingredient go to waste! There are a ton of original uses for tahini out there — tahini recipes from dressing and dips to soups and smoothies and even tahini inspired desserts! We still have half a jar, so we will have to try some new tahini recipes soon. The hard part is figuring out which one to try first! But, this is a good problem to have.
We’d love it if you try out our lemon tahini dressing recipe and hope that you will end up loving tahini as much as we do. Here are the specifics:
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