25 Ways to Use Tahini

By: Contributor

Tahini is the glue that holds hummus together — at least that's what I've always thought of it as. But tahini paste, ground-up hulled sesame seeds, isn't just an ingredient in a dip. This rich and slightly bitter paste stands on its own as a salad dressing, marinade and even as a cooking sauce for meat. Tahini is a staple in North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (Greek, Turkish, Israeli) cuisines, and it pairs well with eggplant, cilantro and yogurt (all popular in those cuisines, as well). Store tahini in a cool, dry place like a cabinet. It is particularly resistant to rancidity, which is an amazing quality for a pantry item. Did I mention that it's a near-perfect substitute in recipes for people with peanut allergies? Like some natural peanut butters, the oil will float to the top of your jar. Don’t worry about that; just mix it in and go on your merry, sesame-filled way.

  1. Let the battle of the canned chickpea hummus versus dried chickpea hummus (pictured) begin.
  2. Once you've conquered hummus, try it out in every single variation: Sour Cream and Onion Hummus, Buffalo Wing Hummus, Edamame Hummus and Green Herb Hummus.
  3. Pickled jalapenos and guava jam stuffed into Black Bean Hummus and Gouda Grilled Cheese is a flavor explosion of the best kind.
  4. A tofu twist on classic falafel, Tofu Edamame Falafel, Tofu Tahini with pickled shallots makes for lovely hors d'oeuvres.
  5. Lamb's earthy flavors pair well with the bright, garlicky sauce in Nigella Lawson's Lamb with Spinach and Garlicky Tahini Sauce.
  6. Tahini Dip (Salatit Tahina) is a simple dip of tahini, lemon juice and garlic, and it's ready to eat in just a few minutes.
  7. Salads don't need to be held to a lettuce standard. Try Tangled Carrot and Broccoli Sprout Salad with Tahini Dressing for a colorful side dish. When you first mix in a little bit of liquid, the tahini will seize up. Add in some water and keep stirring until you reach the desired consistency.
  8. Talde's recipe for Pretzel Pork and Chive Dumplings with Tahini Mustard Dipping Sauce is just as delicious as the name implies.
  9. Roger Mooking's Tahini Grilled Salmon with Spinach, Beets with Sesame Seeds, Eggplant Puree and Tahini Sauce is a veggie-centric meal that still fills you up.
  10. Bobby Flay brings you a light summer meal with his Cumin Grilled Sea Scallops with Chickpea Salad and Red Pepper Tahini Vinaigrette. Blooming saffron is easy: Add a pinch to hot water and allow it to steep for 5 minutes to release the flavor and color.
  11. Alie and Georgia's Sesame Bonbon cocktail adds a dollop of nutty tahini to balance the cocoa wallop of chocolate vodka, liqueuer and syrup.
  12. Ina Garten's Szechuan Noodles are sweet and spicy — and make for a lovely summer side dish.
  13. Sesame Rings (Spain) are sweet treats that stay for a few weeks when stored in an airtight container. Make a few batches to keep on hand for unexpected company.
  14. Make Slow-Cooker Moroccan Turkey Stew, which yields enough to have leftovers for Moroccan Burritos with Tahini Herb Sauce.
  15. Guy Fieri's Moroccan Chicken with Shredded Cabbage and Tahini Sauce on Pita is a two-hand dinner. Marinate the chicken overnight so you can cut down on prep time when you want to eat.
  16. Falafel two ways: Falafel in Lettuce Cups with Garlic Tahini Sauce and Ellie Krieger's healthy take, Baked Falafel Sandwiches.
  17. Bulgur Lentil Pilaf with Tahini Herb Sauce is the answer to your next Meatless Monday or craving for a hearty and healthy side dish.
  18. Dessert, on the rocks: Halvah Whipped Cream with Armenian Arak Coffee is a spiked coffee dessert drink that conjures up the flavor of halva, a tahini-based dessert. Arak is a clear anise-flavored alcohol popular in the Middle East.
  19. Eggplant Gazpacho is a twist on the classic Spanish cold tomato soup.
  20. Baked Coconut Shrimp and Faux Peanut Sauce is a match made in peanut-free heaven.
  21. Red Wine-Rosemary Grilled Flank Steak with Grilled Mixed Vegetables and Lemony White Bean Skordalia with Grilled Pita  is a complete meal on the grill, which means less to clean up after dinner. Skordalia is traditionally a Greek garlicky mashed potato dish, but Bobby Flay substitutes potatoes with white beans for his version.
  22. Charred onions pair well with the cool yogurt-tahini dressing in Bobby Flay's Grilled Onion and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Mint Dressing.
  23. Spicy Cold Soba Noodles is a refreshing dish ready in just 20 minutes. Don't forget to have an ice bath on hand to cool off the cooked soba noodles!
  24. Sandwich King Jeff Mauro makes a lightened-up Veggie Mini Burger Pita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauceby using quinoa, beans and corn.
  25. Bread with Tahini and Syrupis an easy dessert bread recipe that bakes a sweet tahini-maple syrup right into the dough. No need to bake, just pan-fry each piece in a skillet and serve with maple syrup.
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