Tahini is a ‘power food’. It can be savory or sweet. It’s what makes hummus smooth and creamy. If you’ve eaten at a Mediterranean restaurant, maybe you’ve encountered it as a salad dressing or a dip. But what is it?
In its basic form, tahini (sometimes spelled ‘tehina’) is sesame paste, made by crushing unhulled, raw sesame seeds, though it’s also possible to buy tahini made from roasted sesame. It’s one of the few things out there that really earns the term ‘wonder food’. Raw tahini is full of copper, manganese, and methionine – a vital amino acid. It’s also full of omega-3 and omega-6, and protein. Most tahini dishes do not require cooking the tahini, so it’s great to mix into any sort of diet.
There are two main ways to use tahini:
Mix the tahini up in the jar with a spoon, then spoon out into a vessel. You can eat it straight, or spice it up with honey or date honey. Makes a great dip for mild chips, breadsticks, or crackers.
The traditional Mediterranean way to make tahini is to mix 1/2 cup tahini, the juice of one lemon, and 1/3 of a cup water with an immersion blender or fork until smooth. You can vary the consistency by adding more water to thin it out or more tahini to thicken it, one tablespoon at a time. If you’re mixing by hand, be warned that it will “clump up” before breaking down and spreading out into a paste – just keep mixing, and salt to taste.
For savory tahini, add crushed or minced garlic. For ‘green’ tahini, mix in a handful of chopped parsley and/or dill.
Tahini can be a dressing on meat, veggies, and salads. Its creamy texture makes it an excellent replacement for dairy-based toppings.