• Hila

Tahini Sauce 5 ways

Updated: May 2



Everything tastes better with tahini, nobody in Israel would argue that. Israeli kids have their first tahini taste in their baby food (for its high amount of nutrients), they grow up and have pita with hummus or sweet tahini spread (tahini blended with date syrup) as a snack in daycares. Back in the '70s, pita bread halves with hummus or tahini spread, with a slice of pickled cucumbers tucked in, were the ultimate food served at birthdays party and any other crowded celebration. I remember fondly our childhood summer days on the beach, grilling shish kebabs and dipping every meat bite in homemade rich tahini sauce. It was also our go-to sauce when we went on picnics, to accompany turkey pastrami and chopped salad in pita bread. And of course, there were our countless trips to the falafel stand down the street, where we used to go back and forth several times to drizzle more and more of this liquid gold sauce to enhance the other flavors inside our pita meal.


When shopping for tahini paste, buy one that is made in Israel or Lebanon, as tahini manufacturers in these countries use Humera seeds (grown in the town of Humera, Ethiopia) that are suitable for grinding and producing tasty tahini. So delicious that you can pour it straight from the jar on roasted vegetables, salads, meat, and fish. Keep tahini paste always in your pantry (no need to refrigerate), there are so many ways you can use it. To make the classic tahini sauce you only need salt, lemon, and garlic. Few additional ingredients and steps and you can make green tahini, baba ghanoush dip, or sweet tahini spread. Variations are endless: add chopped nuts to a more textured tahini dip, pair it with plain yogurt, which naturally has an acidity taste (to enhance it even more squeeze in some lemon juice), or blend with pureed beet for purple tahini. Serve any tahini sauce with pita bread, fresh-cut, or roasted veggies, next to cooked lentils, or chopped salad, or use it as a spread for sandwich bread. Keep prepared tahini sauces in the fridge for up to 3 days, sweet tahini can be stored in the pantry for weeks.


Classic Tahini Sauce

Makes about 2 cups


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 gr) tahini

  • 3/4 cup cold water, or more, for desired consistency

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (add even more, if you wish)

  • Lemon Juice from ½ lemon, or more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste


Preparation

  1. Mix tahini paste, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl.

  2. Add the water slowly and mix until it reaches the preferred consistency. Do not let the hard and sticky mixture (that you get right after adding the water) intimidate you, just keep mixing it manually with a fork, until the water breaks the tahini paste’s particles, and you get a smooth sauce.

  3. Taste and adjust flavor. Add more lemon juice, garlic, or salt, if desired.

  4. Serve with chopped salad, roasted vegetables, or on top of grilled eggplant.



Green Tahini

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fresh green herbs, leaves only (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil)

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 cup (240 gr) tahini

  • 3/4 cup cold water, or more, for desired consistency

  • Lemon Juice from ½ lemon, or more to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

Preparation

  1. Finely chopped herbs and garlic cloves in an electric chopper.

  2. In a bowl, manually mix tahini with other ingredients, to a smooth texture.

  3. Add in the chopped leaves and garlic and mix until well combined.

  4. Serve with cut vegetables for dipping, or aside grilled meat.



Beet Tahini

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-size beets

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup (120 gr) tahini

  • Lemon Juice from ½ lemon, or more to taste

  • Pinch kosher salt, or more to taste

  • Toasted pita bread and cut fresh vegetables for serving

Preparation

  1. Cook washed beet in water until super tender. Let cool, peel, and discard skins. You can also steam the beets for 1 min in Instant Pot or use the store-bought pre-cooked beets.

  2. Transfer beets to a food processor (or use a hand blender), add in the garlic cloves, and process until fine puree.

  3. Transfer to a bowl and mix manually with tahini and other ingredients, and adjust flavors if desired.

  4. Serve with carrots, celery sticks, crackers, or toasted pita bread.



Red Pepper Tahini

Makes about 1 cup


Ingredients

  • 3 large red bell pepper

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 3/4 cup tahini

  • 1 garlic clove, minced.

  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

  • 1/4 teaspoons salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to the broiler.

  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and put the red pepper on top of it right under the broiler.

  3. Use metal tongs to turn around the pepper every 10 minutes or so and let broil until entire peppers are charred and the skin turned flaky.

  4. Transfer the hot pepper into a bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap, or place inside a zip lock bag. Let cool (the steam will loosen the skin). Peel the peppers and remove the core and seeds.

  5. Place the pepper in a food processor or blender and puree.

  6. Transfer to a bowl and mix with all other ingredients until smooth.

  7. Serve with majadra or with a fish dish (check out these recipes on our website)



Sweet Tahini Sauce

Makes about 3/4 cup


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (120 gr) tahini paste

  • 1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) honey/date syrup/carob molasses, or more, to taste.


Preparation

  1. Mix the Tahini with the honey (or another sweetener). Taste to adjust sweetness.

  2. Spread on a toast, drizzle on a pancake, or add a spoonful to your yogurt bowl.







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