Haven’t hopped on the tahini train yet? We’re here to tell you it’s time. While it’s well known as hummus’ most popular ingredient, making it rich and creamy, tahini can do so much more. Brimming with heart healthy, anti-inflammatory benefits, tahini can make any recipe more nutrient rich. From lunch to dinner and desserts, take a look at our favourite tahini recipes for every meal!
What is Tahini?
Tahini is a staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s made by grinding sesame seeds into a smooth paste and can be used for everything from topping a buddha bowl to lining a sandwich and even baked into desserts. Tahini comes in two types: hulled and unhulled. In hulled tahini, the outer shells of the sesame seeds have been removed so the paste is paler and creamier than unhulled tahini. Hulled tahini contains less fibre and is less nutrient rich. Unhulled tahini contains the whole sesame seeds and has a more bitter taste.
5 Health Benefits of Tahini
1. Heart Healthy
Tahini is known for its heart healthy benefits. Since it’s made from sesame seeds, it can provide some of the benefits of sesamin and sesamol, which are antioxidant nutrients that help support the immune system and balance hormone levels. Tahini is also high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower harmful cholesterol levels, as well as lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Cancer Protection
Sesamin and sesamol are two of the most powerful antioxidants and have been studied for their anti-cancer potential. They both promote the death of cancer cells and slow the rate of tumour growth, plus they can protect your body from free radical damage, which can decrease your risk of cancer.
3. Non-Dairy Source of Calcium
If you’re lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, tahini is a great way to get your calcium. Calcium is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and for carrying out a large number of body processes like helping blood vessels transport blood throughout the body. Sesame seeds are an excellent plant based source of calcium and just 2 tablespoons of tahini provides almost 16% of the recommended daily allowance of the mineral.
4. Inflammation Fighting
Inflammation is a root cause of many chronic diseases. A good diet, rich in antioxidant and polyphenol rich foods can fight free radicals, which can calm inflammation. The compounds found in tahini are highly anti-inflammatory, making it great for your body overall.
5. Good Source of Protein and Iron
Tahini contains more protein than milk and most nuts. Your body uses protein to build and repair body tissues and defends the body against disease through optimal immune function. Tahini is also a good source of iron, which is important especially if you’re a vegetarian. It’s important to keep your iron levels up for energy and focus, gastrointestinal processes, the immune system and body temperature regulation.
How to Make Homemade Tahini
1. First, you’ll toast one cup of sesame seeds (hulled or unhulled). Add the seeds to a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the seeds become fragrant and very lightly coloured – about 3 to 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them, as this can happen quickly. Transfer the toasted seeds to a baking sheet and let them cool completely.
2. Add the sesame seeds to a food processor and process until you get a crumbly paste, about 1 minute.
3. Add 3 tablespoons of a neutral flavoured oil, such as grape seed or vegetable, and process for 2 to 3 more minutes. You’ll likely have to stop to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor a few times. The consistency should be smooth and pourable (not gritty). If needed, process for another minute or add another tablespoon of oil.
4. Add salt to taste, process for 5 to 10 seconds to mix it in.
6 Tips for Cooking and Baking with Tahini
1. It’s a versatile dairy substitute. Use it to make soup thick and creamy, for a non-dairy queso or a vegan mac ‘n cheese.
2. Swirl tahini into your favourite brownie recipe for an extra boost of nutrients.
3. Drizzle it over your Greek yogurt, pancakes, waffles or ice cream.
4. Mix it into milkshakes, hot chocolate or coffee for a thicker consistency and more complex flavour.
5. Add it to dips for a rich, silky texture and delicious nutty flavour.
6. Bake it into your favourite baked goods to boost the flavour and make them more moist without added oil.
10 Upgraded Tahini Recipes to Try
1. Sweet and Spicy Tahini Sauce | Simply CeeCee
2. Dreamy Tahini Sauce | Inspired Taste
3. Beet and Tahini Dip | Martha Stewart
4. Yogurt Lemon Tahini Sauce | The Sprue Eats
5. Swiss Chard Tahini Dip | Bon Appetit
6. Avocado and Tahini Dip | Cook for Your Life
7. Lemon Tahini Dip | The Cafe Sucre Farine
8. Miso Tahini Sauce | Walder Wellness
9. Courgette and Tahini Dip | BBC Good Food
10. Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Dip | Clean Eating
20 Tahini Lunch and Dinner Recipes
1. Roasted Cauliflower Pitas with Tahini Dressing | Feel Good Foodie
2. Smoked Chilli Meatballs with Tahini and Creamed Beans | Olive Magazine
3. Hot Sesame Noodles with Scallions and Pork | Epicurious
4. Salmon with Tahini Sauce | BBC Good Food
5. Chicken Salad with Japanese Tahini Dressing | Olive Magazine
6. Sticky Soy Bahn Mi Bowls with Toasted Sesame Tahini | Earth and Oven
7. Vegan Smoky Tahini Jackfruit Sandwich | The Colorful Kitchen
8. Spicy Tahini Tofu Stir Fry | Eat Well 101
9. Soba Noodle Salad with Salmon and Tahini Sauce | The Original Dish
10. Green Goddess Club Sandwich | The Full Helping
11. Indian-Spiced Grilled Chicken with Mint Tahini Sauce | White Plate Blank Slate
12. Roasted Vegetable Bowls with Green Tahini | Pinch of Yum
13. Avo-Tahini Toast | My Recipes
14. Creamy Lemon Tahini Pasta | Bites of Wellness
15. Saucy Tahini Noodles with Honey’d Sweet Potatoes | Half Baked Harvest
16. Green Veggie Bowl with Chicken and Lemon Tahini Dressing | Eating Well
17. Creamy Broccoli Sweet and Spicy Sesame Tahini Noodles | Ambitious Kitchen
18. Raw Falafel Buddha Bowls | A Couple Cooks
19. Roasted Halibut with Tahini Sauce | My Recipes
20. Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles | Love and Lemons
20 Tahini Dessert Recipes
1. Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies | NYT Cooking
2. Swirled Sesame Tea Cake | Epicurious
3. Gluten-Free Chocolate Tahini Brownies | Bon Appetit
4. Tahini Cheesecake | The Spruce Eats
5. Black and White Tahini Cookies | Olive Magazine
6. Creamy Tahini Raspberry Popsicles | Tasty Yummies
7. Fudgy Coconut Tahini Bites | 24 Carrot Life
8. White Chocolate and Tahini Pretzel Cookies | Olive Magazine
9. Tahini Ice Cream with Honey Caramel | Butterlust
10. Salted Tahini Chocolate Pudding | Brewing Happiness
11. Tahini, Cardamom and Date Cinnamon Rolls | Olive Magazine
12. Tahini Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Dessert for Two
13. Tahini Cake Doughnuts with Pomegranate Glaze | Twigg Studios
14. Chocolate Dipped Tahini Cookies | Will Frolic for Food
15. Tahini Chocolate Banana Soft Serve | Minimalist Baker
16. Tahini Halva | Dimitra’s Dishes
17. Salted Tahini Caramel Millionaire Bars | Ambitious Kitchen
18. No Bake Tahini Cookie Dough Truffles | The Toasted Pine Nut
19. Maple Sesame Tahini Cookies | Flora and Vino
20. Chocolate Tahini Fudge | Dietician Debbie Dishes
Tahini is a healthy and delicious addition that can make any recipe more nutritious. Try cooking and baking with tahini for its rich, creamy and nutty flavour.