Tahini Sauce

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Tahini sauce is a versatile Middle Eastern condiment that is used in many dishes, from falafel and shawarma to roasted vegetables and salads.

Tahini sauce uses ground tahini paste and adds water, lemon juice, salt, and optional seasonings to create a smoky, nutty, tangy sauce that is amazing on meat, vegetables, fish, and rice or pasta!

a spoon lifting tahini sauce over a bowl on a table
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This post is sponsored by Vibe Israel. All opinions (and my love for Israel and visiting Israel) are my own.

Easy Tahini Dressing

Tahini sauce is made from tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, and can be flavored with ingredients like lemon juice, garlic, and parsley.

To make tahini sauce, combine tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, water, and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. You can adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding more or less water, depending on your preference. Add some chopped parsley or other herbs for extra flavor and color.

Tahini sauce can be served as a dip for pita bread or raw vegetables, or used as a dressing for salads or roasted vegetables. It’s also a great topping for grilled meats and fish. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and can be easily reheated or thinned out with water if it becomes too thick.

Making tahini sauce at home is quick and easy and can add a delicious and healthy flavor to your meals – so you can get all the flavors I loved eating my way through Israel – right at home!

I recently visited Israel – touring Nazareth, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem – and ate tahini sauce on just about everything. If you’ve never been to the Middle East, Israel is a great place to start (especially since many Middle Eastern countries have stabilized relations with Israel, making travel easier than ever).

Our group cooking with Doris – photo by Gala Shraer

Israel is truly a melting pot of cuisine – as Jews returned to the newly formed state in the 1960’s from all over the world, they brought their cuisines with them, and foods of historic Levantine Judea- including tons of classic Arabic dishes from Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Morocco – took center stage in Israeli food culture.

While we ate tahini sauce literally everywhere in Israel (and I tucked in to tons of tahini sauce last time I was in Israel), we were invited to make it with one of the most amazing women I’ve met while spending a day in Jaffa – as we cooked with Doris at her home, got to learn more about her and hear her stories, and learned some amazing Arabic recipes. Doris is an Arab Christian – a minority in a minority in Israel – and offers cooking workshops in her home in Jaffa that are truly not to be missed.

It was one of the best experiences I have had while traveling – if you love food and truly experiencing the culture of the places you’re visiting, there is nothing like cooking in someone’s home with them. You can find out more about Jaffa stories and Coffee and book using my affiliate link here.

a spoon lifting tahini sauce over a bowl on a table

How to Make Tahini Sauce

To make tahini sauce, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Tahini paste: Provides a rich and nutty flavor and creamy texture to the sauce.
  • Lemon juice: Adds a tangy and bright flavor that balances the richness of the tahini.
  • Garlic: Brings a pungent and slightly spicy flavor that adds depth to the sauce.
  • Water: Helps to thin out the sauce and achieve the desired consistency.
  • Salt: Brings out the flavors of the other ingredients and adds a savory note to the sauce.
  • Parsley (optional): Adds a fresh and herbaceous flavor that complements the other ingredients and adds a pop of color to the sauce. Other herbs, such as cilantro or mint, can also be used.

To make tahini sauce, you will use the following process:

  • Mix juice and tahini paste. In a large bowl stir together tahini paste and lemon juice. Tahini will become thick and clumpy. Season with salt and optional seasonings.
  • Add cold water. While stirring constantly, pour in a little cold water and keep adding cold water, while stirring, until all lumps are gone, the sauce is smooth, and sauce is a bit runny. This might take more or less water – so keep stirring as you go and add water if needed.
  • Enjoy! Store in airtight container for up to a week. If sauce thickens, it can be thinned with more ice cold water.
a spoon lifting tahini sauce over a bowl on a table

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Tahini Sauce & FAQs

Use cold water. Tahini sauce will seize up and clump if using lukewarm or warm water – so you must use cold water for it to thin!

Use high-quality tahini: The quality of the tahini paste you use will affect the flavor and texture of the sauce. Look for tahini that is smooth and creamy, without any lumps or grittiness.

Use fresh lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice will provide the best flavor for your tahini sauce. If you don’t have fresh lemons, you can use bottled lemon juice, but be sure to check the expiration date and adjust the amount used accordingly.

Whisk well: Whisk the tahini paste and lemon juice together well before adding the other ingredients. This will help to create a smooth and creamy base for the sauce.

Add water slowly: When adding water to thin out the sauce, do it slowly and whisk well after each addition. This will help you achieve the desired consistency without making the sauce too thin.

Adjust seasoning: Taste the sauce as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt or lemon juice to taste, or a pinch of sugar if the sauce is too tangy.

Add herbs or spices: To add extra flavor to your tahini sauce, try adding some chopped herbs or spices. Fresh parsley, cilantro, or mint are all good options, as are cumin or paprika.

Store properly: Store any leftover tahini sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The sauce may thicken as it sits, so you may need to thin it out with a little water before using it again.

FAQs

Is tahini sauce vegan?

Yes, tahini sauce is vegan as long as it is made with vegan-friendly ingredients, such as plant-based oils and seasonings.

Can I use store-bought tahini for tahini sauce?

Yes, you can use store-bought tahini paste to make tahini sauce. Just be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure there are no additives or preservatives that could affect the flavor or texture of the sauce.

Can I make tahini sauce without lemon juice?

Yes, you can make tahini sauce without lemon juice, but it will have a slightly different flavor. You can use vinegar or another acidic ingredient in place of the lemon juice.

Can I freeze tahini sauce?

It is not recommended to freeze tahini sauce, as the texture and flavor may be affected. It is best to make only the amount you need and store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Is tahini sauce gluten free?

Yes, tahini sauce is typically gluten-free, as long as it is made with gluten-free ingredients and there are no additives or preservatives that contain gluten.

What can I use tahini sauce for?

Tahini sauce is a versatile condiment that can be used in many dishes, such as salads, sandwiches, wraps, and roasted vegetables. It is also a common dip for pita bread or raw vegetables.

a spoon in a bowl of tahini sauce on a table

What to Serve With Tahini Sauce

Falafel: Tahini sauce is a classic condiment for falafel, a Middle Eastern dish made from chickpea fritters.

Grilled and roasted vegetables: Drizzle tahini sauce over grilled vegetables, such as Roasted Tahini Pomegranate Eggplants, zucchini, or bell peppers, for a flavorful and healthy side dish.

Roasted meats: Use tahini sauce as a dip or topping for roasted meats, such as Griddled Gyros, easy and delicious Grilled Chicken Souvlaki, Grilled Lamb Souvlaki, or Easy Braised Leg of Lamb for a Middle Eastern twist.

Salads: Tahini sauce can be used as a dressing for salads, particularly those with Mediterranean or Middle Eastern flavors like Easy Baba Ganoush, Easy Tabbouleh, or Israeli Salad.

Wraps and sandwiches: Spread tahini sauce on wraps or sandwiches for a creamy and flavorful condiment!

Buddha bowls: Drizzle tahini sauce over a Buddha bowl, a healthy and balanced meal made with a variety of grains, vegetables, and protein.

Roasted sweet potatoes: Drizzle tahini sauce over roasted sweet potatoes for a savory and satisfying side dish.

falafel sandwich in pita with tahini sauce drizzled over it

Tahini Sauce Recipe

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a spoon lifting tahini sauce over a bowl on a table

Tahini Sauce

Yield: 24 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Tahini sauce is a versatile and flavorful condiment made from ground sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt - add tahini sauce to hummus, serve on roasted vegetables or meat, serve in pita with falafel, or however you'd like to add more flavor!

Ingredients

  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup ground tahini
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or 3 cloves garlic, minced, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground sumac, optional
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley, optional

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl stir together tahini paste and lemon juice. Tahini will become thick and clumpy.
  2. Season with salt and optional seasonings.
  3. While stirring constantly, pour in a little cold water and keep adding cold water, while stirring, until all lumps are gone, the sauce is smooth, and sauce is a bit runny. This might take more or less water - so keep stirring as you go and add water if needed.
  4. Store in airtight container for up to a week. If sauce thickens, it can be thinned with more ice cold water.

Notes

Cold water must be used - warm or lukewarm water will cause tahini to seize up and get chunky.

Nutrition Information
Yield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 69Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 278mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 2g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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