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What is Tahini?

What is Tahini

Tahini is a type of paste or spread typically made from roasted and ground sesame seeds. Tahini originated in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, where it remains a staple of both cuisines. The sesame seed paste can be incorporated into various dishes but is best known as a key ingredient in hummus.

Tahini is widely popular and has many uses, yet its origins and makeup seem to elude many. Read below to find out how to make tahini and how you can incorporate it into your cooking!

What is tahini made from?

Tahini comes from ground sesame seeds, which give the spread its light brown color. The sesame seeds are ground extremely fine, which releases the oils in the seeds and makes for a silky smooth product similar in texture to natural nut butter.

The sesame seeds can be hulled or left unhulled and can be raw or roasted to give the tahini differing flavor profiles. Tahini made from untoasted sesame seeds is marketed as “raw tahini.”

You can purchase tahini easily at most grocery stores nowadays. The sesame paste is also simple to make at home. All you’ll need are sesame seeds (hulled sesame seeds are generally preferred) and a food processor or blender.

Is tahini vegan?

Tahini is entirely vegan, as it’s made only from ground sesame seeds. Occasionally, oil is added to tahini to make the final product thinner and smoother. 

Tahini has become a pantry staple for vegans worldwide, who incorporate the paste into sauces, vinaigrettes & even desserts. Using tahini in vegan dishes is a great way to mimic the creamy texture of dairy products.

Tahini is also gluten-free and has various health benefits. Tahini is low in calories but high in fiber, protein and several essential vitamins & minerals.

What does tahini taste like?

Tahini has a subtle nutty, earthy flavor. The paste has a smooth but slightly sticky texture similar to natural peanut butter. Unlike nut butter, tahini doesn’t have a lot of sweetness but may have a slight bitterness. Although subtle, tahini brings a rich depth of flavor to almost any dish you create with it.

Does tahini need to be refrigerated?

Tahini has a high oil content, so it needs to be kept in the fridge once opened to keep the oil from going rancid too quickly. Of course, refrigeration will cause the tahini to separate and thicken, so you’ll have to stir it well before each use. To make the tahini easier to use, mix it well before you store it in the refrigerator.

How long does tahini last?

If stored correctly in the fridge, store-bought tahini can last for up to a range from 6 to 12 months after opening. On the other hand, homemade tahini might only stay fresh for a few weeks in the fridge if it is not sealed in an airtight jar. If your tahini starts to taste overly bitter, it may be expired.

What is Tahini Sauce Made Of

Food Tahini Goes Well With

Tahini is the star of many dips, salad dressings & marinades. It is commonly mixed into a falafel sandwich or platter and can even be eaten on its own as a dip with crackers or raw veggies. In Greece, tahini is frequently spread on bread and topped with jam or honey.

Try mixing tahini with olive oil, lemon juice and your favorite herbs & spices for a versatile dressing. If you feel creative, use tahini as the base for a creamy vegan pasta sauce.

Of course, you can add tahini to hummus, the traditional Mediterranean dip made from mashed chickpeas. However, tahini has even more to offer. You can add tahini to almost any dip you make to enrich the flavor and create complexity in the flavor profile. For example, tahini is a common ingredient in typical Middle Eastern dips like baba ghanoush.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try incorporating tahini into desserts like tahini cookies or a sesame cake. Tahini is also a primary ingredient in halva, a Middle Eastern dessert made from flour, sugar, water, pistachios & tahini.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to using tahini. You can stir tahini into soup, spread it on toast, or drizzle it on a burger. Essentially, you can slap tahini on just about anything you like!