What is Tahini?

What is tahini? This traditional Mediterranean ingredient can be used in recipes from hummus to cookies. Here’s everything about tahini!

What is tahini?

Tahini has become a trendy ingredient as of late: but what is it? It’s been used in Mediterranean dishes for centuries. These days, it’s used in everything from traditional recipes like hummus to more creative uses like no bake cookies! Keep reading for more about tahini and a few recipes for inspiration.

What is tahini?

Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds. It’s typically used in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes. Since it’s simply made of sesame seeds and salt, tahini is vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, Paleo, keto, and Whole 30 friendly. It’s perfect for making creamy sauces for salads and sandwiches, desserts like cookies and cakes, or as a replacement for peanut butter for peanut allergies. It’s also a nice substitute for dairy in vegan recipes.

Tahini has a slightly bitter flavor right out of the jar; it’s sweet like most nut butters or seed butters! So, it’s best when mixed with other flavors. Often it is paired with lemon, which brings out a brightness. It also works well in desserts when mixed with sweeteners.

What is tahini?

What’s tahini sauce?

One of our favorite tahini recipes is our Best Tahini Sauce. It’s a sauce that’s a mixture of tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, a little maple syrup, and salt. It melds into a creamy sauce that’s perfect for all sorts of things: salads, sandwiches, even a dipping sauce for fries. A few of our favorite uses for tahini sauce are our Chickpea Couscous Bowls and Raw Falafel Buddha Bowls.

Where to find tahini

You can find tahini in your local grocery store, many times in the international aisle. It is sometimes also located near the peanut butter and other nut butters. If you can’t find it in your grocery, you can also buy it online! See below.

Get it: Organic Tahini, 16 ounce jar

Ways to use it

There are so many different ways to use tahini, from traditional to outside the box! Here are a few ways we like to use it:

  • Hummus is the most basic use: try our green hummus for a unique spin
  • Salad dressing: mix it with lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste for a makeshift dressing
  • Pancakes or waffles: mix it with maple syrup to turn it into a drizzle for breakfast: try our banana pancakes or fluffy waffles
  • Fruit: do the same as above to make a drizzle for sliced berries
  • Chipotle sauce: Mix it with Mexican hot sauce and spices to become a spicy drizzle for salads or fries
  • Cookies: Because why not? Here’s a spin on no bake cookies with this sesame seed paste

Tahini Recipes

Are you getting hungry yet? Tahini can be used in so many different ways in recipes. Often we use it for sauces and drizzles, but you can even use it as an alternative to peanut butter in cookies. Here are all of our favorite tahini recipes!


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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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