Tahini Sauce

If there’s anything that you need to know about me, it’s that I am ALL about the sauce. Always. That’s why tahini is a spread that you will never not (you follow me?) find in my fridge. It’s creamy texture and nutty flavor are unrivaled, and it can take the most boring sheet pan of roasted veggies or lackluster salad dressing to the next level. I am also extremely unopposed to dunking the nearest clean utensil that I can find straight into the center of the jar and living that indulgent life. To each their own, I suppose.

I thought that I knew everything that there was to know about this sesame seed paste, until one day, I was confronted with the harrowing reality that I, in fact, did not. On a recent trip to Botanica Restaurant and Market in Los Angeles, I noticed a jar of whipped tahini for sale in the front of the restaurant, and in that moment, I truly had to completely rethink the way I have been consuming my favorite refrigerator staple.

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How have I not thought to do this sooner? Truthfully, it makes so much sense, and I’m embarrassed that I’m not a seasoned, whipped tahini veteran at this point in my life. Straight from the jar, tahini is extremely dense, almost too heavy for the average palate (but not me, because I! Am! A! Monster!). Because of its bitter flavor and thick texture, it’s typically thinned out with water, lemon juice, or olive oil when used in dressings, marinades, sauces, baking, etc. The beauty of whipping the tahini is that you don’t have to dilute the spread with as much of your add-ins (although, you assuredly can if you want to), and your final product will still be much lighter (and well-aerated), so it won’t overpower the dish.

Okay, so are you ready to get whippin’?! To make a batch of this spreadable gold, you’ll need to add your tahini (at least a cup or so) into the bowl of a food processor or an electric stand mixer. To that, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and maybe a finely minced clove or two of garlic, for good measure. Start processing/mixing and let the appliance go for around 4-6 minutes. Patience is key. As the tahini is whipped, it will begin to slowly lighten in color. Once this occurs and while the motor is still running, gradually add water (somewhere around a 2:1 tahini to water ratio is a good rule of thumb) until the mixture is ultra smooth and creamy. When the water is initially added, the mixture might seize before it eventually emulsifies. Give it time and just keep whippin’. Your final product should be smooth, light, and creamy, similar to mayonnaise in consistency.

From here, spread this glorious condiment onto sandwiches, toast, and wraps, or give your plate a generous smear of the stuff before topping it with roasted veggies, meat, or fish. It will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in your fridge, but knowing just how rich and delicious it is, we don’t give it anymore than 24 hours in your kitchen.

By Sara Tane and Sara Tane