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Tahini 101

July 10, 2011

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming about tahini, wondering what it tastes like or how you would use it? If your like me, the answer is yes. If you tend to think about more normal things throughout your day, the answer is probably no. I never promised this blog would be normal.


But if your a tahini newbie, tahini- curious, or just need some new ideas for that beloved sesame seed butter, continue reading.


What Even Is Tahini?

Tahini is made from ground up sesame seeds and some oil. I bet you never thought they had much of a taste but tahini does pack in quite a flavor.

From my trusty source of wikipedia… I have gathered that traditional West Asian tahini is hulled and roasted while East Asian sesame paste tends to be un-hulled. Tahini is used in a variety of ethnic cuisines including Meditterannean, Turkish, Asian, Israeli, and Egyptian.


What Does It Taste Like?

Creamy and oily, tahini has a somewhat bitter taste to it that may take some getting used to. Although I didn’t like it at first, I have come to crave the subtle bitterness it lends to dishes.

There are dark and light varieties, roasted and unroasted, hulled and unhulled, salted and unsalted. Try out different combinations to find ones you like. You can find it in bulk sections of health food stores near the peanut butter, in ethnic food aisles in your grocery store, or on the shelves with other nut butters.


10 Simple Ways to Use Tahini

  1. Drizzle over a bacon sweet potato pancake. Or any pancake for that matter.
  2. Make a dressing using tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, oil, and whatever spices you like.
  3. Make hummus, heavy on the tahini.
  4. Add a big spoonful to a warm bowl of oats.
  5. Dip veggies into it. I love it with broccoli.
  6. Spread it on bread as you would peanut butter.
  7. Use instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches or in tuna fish.
  8. Drizzle plain over salads as a dressing. I like to add tahini and just olive oil for a simple dressing.
  9. Make a smoothie with tahini, banana, dates, frozen berries, and milk. This was awesome!
  10. My favorite way:

{OIATJ (oats in a tahini jar). Into my nearly empty tahini jar went oats, milk, chia seeds, plain yogurt, cinnamon, and half a banana. Smoosh smash, chill for 1 hour (or 8 if you think of it the night before), and top it off with a crushed up square of unsweetened baking chocolate. Lovely.}


These are just some of the simple ways that I have used tahini, but there are thousands of interesting recipes out there.


Have you ever tried tahini? Did you like it or hate it? What ways do you like to use it, or think you would like to use it if you haven’t done so already? 

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 8:17 am

    I love tahini salad dressing. Your Mediterranean/Middle Eastern smoothie sounds tasty.

  2. July 11, 2011 11:17 am

    Oooh OIAJ with tahini!? That sounds really interesting. I think the only thing I’ve ever used it for was hummus!

    • July 11, 2011 12:25 pm

      It’s so good! If you like tahini flavored hummus you should try it on other stuff too!

  3. July 11, 2011 12:35 pm

    I love love love tahini! And such great suggestions for how to use it. I love it in salad dressing, it adds such a richness to lighter, zestier sauces. Growing up here in Saudi Arabia, however, I’ve been eating and cooking with tahini all my life. It can also be great in a marinade!

  4. July 11, 2011 6:15 pm

    Katie, I love your photography and your blog’s makeover. It looks amazing!

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