Tahini sauce is a wonderful condiment to use on roasted vegetables, in hummus, and as a salad dressing. It’s easy to make at home and so much more flavorful than store-bought tahini sauce.
2 cups hulled sesame seeds, raw or toasted (optional) 1. 1 cup olive oil, plus more as needed 2. Salt and cumin, to taste 3. A touch of water, to thin and create a creamy consistency 4. Garlic, lemon, or apple cider vinegar, for bright flavors
Hulled white sesame seeds are the best variety of tahini to use. They’re a lighter color, less bitter, and smoother than black sesame seeds and are great in light dishes or for stir-ins.
Toasting your sesame seeds is optional but helps to bring out a nuttier flavor, reduces their bitterness, and makes them easier to grind in a food processor or blender. Spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until lightly colored and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Let them cool and then transfer to a food processor or blender.
Preparation: Using a food processor to emulsify garlic and lemon juice is quicker than manually whisking the ingredients together in a bowl, but it’s more work and requires a bit of elbow grease. You can also blitz the garlic and lemon juice in a blender, then strain it through a fine mesh strainer before adding the rest of the ingredients to create a quick tahini sauce.
How to make a lemony tahini sauce: Combine the tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl, whisking until a luscious mixture is formed. Add a little water at a time, whisking well between additions, until the tahini is completely smooth and pourable.
If the tahini becomes pasty after whisking, add a splash of water and continue to whisk until you’ve reached your desired consistency. You’ll know the mixture is ready when ribbons of tahini fall out of the whisk.
The tahini will seize up and begin to clump as you whisk it, but it’s okay! It’s a normal, natural reaction. As the tahini loosens, the other ingredients will emulsify and you’ll end up with a gorgeously silky, spoonable sauce!
You’ll want to refrigerate the sauce before eating it, so be sure to keep it in a closed container. It will thicken as it sits and will need to be loosened with a little extra water before you use it.
If you have any leftovers, reheat it in a microwave or over the stove. Or, freeze it in an airtight container for up to a month.
For a sweeter tahini sauce, add an additional teaspoon of maple syrup or honey to the mixture. This will help to balance the lemony flavor and increase sweetness, which is great for kids or those who prefer not to have a lot of tang in their foods.
This simple, creamy sauce is perfect for dipping falafel, veggies, or even tacos! It’s also an ideal condiment to keep in the fridge for when you need it.