40+ Tasty Tahini Recipes to Try
Tahini, a paste made from toasted and ground sesame seeds, is a common ingredient in Middle Eastern, Mediterannean, and North African cuisines (Think Greek, Egyptian, Iraqi, Palestinian, and Israeli dishes) that gives a warm, nutty taste to everything it touches. Dips, dressings, meats, vegetables, desserts, and even drinks take on a deeper flavor when tahini is introduced, and it's one of those ingredients that can improve just about any dish. Whether you're cooking a traditional tahini dish such as kofta kebabs and hummus or want to use tahini to upgrade your cinnamon rolls or banana bread, these tahini recipes are all enhanced by sesame's distinct, beloved flavor.
Roasted Cauliflower with Green Tahini Sauce and Caramelized Dates
Roasted veggies have never tasted so indulgent. Topped with an herbaceous tahini sauce and salty-sweet, caramelized dates and walnuts, these crispy cauliflower steaks are just the veggie side that you've been looking for. Use any leftover tahini sauce on salads, chicken, or fish for an added burst of vibrant, nutty flavor.
Tahini-Oat Energy Balls
For a quick, pick-me-up snack when you're on the go, these easy tahini-oat bites are the perfect solution. Full of hearty nuts and creamy tahini, they offer just the right amount of sweet satisfaction. A pinch of salt balances the flavor and brings it all together. Make a big batch at the beginning of the week and keept them on hand for emergency snack situations.
Tahini-Blueberry Sheet Cake With Strawberry Buttercream
Perfect for a graduation party or summer cookout, this impressive dessert offers the ease and crowd-friendly factor that we associate with a sheet cake, as well as a delightful twist of creativity and surprising vibrancy with the incorporation of tahini and fresh berries. If you have a jar of the trendy sesame seed paste hanging out in your pantry, trust us—it’s high time to go beyond hummus and welcome it into your dessert life. Tahini lends a delicious toasty quality to the tender cake while fresh blueberries dotted throughout the batter balance this nutty depth with their bright, juicy sweetness. A simple strawberry buttercream ties everything together and makes for a low-effort, eye-catching presentation.
Middle Eastern Kofta Kebabs with Lemon-Tahini Sauce
Cooked quinoa acts as a binder for these kebabs, packing them with extra protein and some whole-grain goodness.
Tahini does wonders in desserts: Like peanut butter, it rounds out and deepens other flavors with a nuttiness that cuts through the sweetness. Both staples of Middle Eastern cuisine, tahini and dates simply belong together—on toast, in cakes, or in a cold, creamy milkshake. Dates are naturally so sweet that combining them with frozen yogurt turned out to be too cloying. Instead, we froze whole-milk yogurt in ice cube trays for a dairy base that balances the shake. Sub protein-rich Greek yogurt and add a banana for a fantastic breakfast smoothie.
This recipe originally appeared on Cookinglight.com.
Spinach Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette
The salad's flavors tilt toward the Middle East, with a nutty, slightly spicy dressing and pita chips in lieu of croutons. Prep the components in advance so the salad can be thrown together at the last minute, as it wilts quickly.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Tahini Glaze
What better fall-inspired dessert to make than this tahini-glazed pumpkin bundt cake. A medley of fragrant, ground spices enhance the rich sweetness of this incredibly moist bundt cake. Topped with a toasty, perfectly bittersweet tahini glaze, this easy to make and comforting fall dessert is the perfect centerpiece for your next dinner party, Halloween gathering, or special occasion.
Tahini Chicken Salad Sandwich
Nutty, creamy, and of course, topped with greens, tomatoes, and onions, this hearty, easy-to-prep chicken salad sandwich is the perfect, packable lunch. Eat it immediately, or wrap it up and allow the rich, deep flavors of the tahini run into your hearty, toasted bread.
Charred Eggplant Dip with Tahini
Perfect for entertaining or a hearty spread to snack off of all week, this nutritious charred eggplant dip is as easy as to make it is delicious. Roasting the eggplant at a super high temperature leads to a creamy flesh that's the perfect backbone for a your dip. Don't worry if the skin is extra charred and looks burnt—this makes for a more flavorful end product. Mixed with Greek yogurt and tahini, this Meditteranean-inspired spread is ultra rich. Serve it with fresh veggies, warm pita, or smear it across a piece of toast. You could even use it as your sauce for a flatbread or pizza; simply top with roasted or fresh veggies and a sprinkle of crumbled feta or goat cheese.
Up your grilling game this summer with a burger that’s sure to impress—i.e. a Gyro Burger. Inspired by the classic Greek sandwich, we’ve upgraded ground beef with bold seasoning and a new home inside of a pita pocket, rather than typical sesame bun, with lettuce, tomato, red onion, feta cheese, and generous drizzle of toasty tahini sauce. Before assembling, wrap your pita rounds in a foil packet and throw them on the grill for a couple of minutes if you’d like a warm pocket for your burger and toppings. And if you are a lamb fan, we’d highly recommend substituting ground lamb for half of the beef called for here. Serve these beauties up with fresh grilled veggies like eggplant and zucchini.
Creamy Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate
This incredibly rich beverage is anything but your nana’s hot cocoa. Incorporating tahini into this dairy-free hot chocolate adds a decadent layer of warming nuttiness that’s a perfect partner to the robust flavors of cocoa and vanilla.
Cucumber Salad with Spicy Tahini Dressing
This simple veggie side salad incorporates the rich nutty flavor of tahini with toasted sesame oil, fish sauce, and fresh herbs for a flavor-packed dish. Serve it at a summer picnic or cookout, toss it into a bowl of greens for a heartier bite, or top it with a cooling dollop of Greek yogurt for added tang. Make a double (or triple) batch of the spicy tahini dressing and use it to amp up other dishes throughout the week.
Semi-Savory Iced Tahini Mocha
To most people, tahini is just an ingredient that makes hummus more than just pureed chickpeas. Tahini may not sound like a typical "breakfast food" or condiment, but a good tahini has the capability to turn your favorite meals into something exciting, like a tahini-based milkshake or as a savory drizzle on your favorite French toast. This clever coffee drink from The Daily in Charleston, South Carolina, gets a touch of savory complexity from the addition of tahini. Here we serve it on ice, but it can also be served hot in the colder months.
Iced Tahini Mocha
This recipe originally appeared on Foodandwine.com.
Cider Doughnuts with Maple-Tahini Glaze
We make old-fashioned, cake-style cider doughnuts even more irresistible by adding maple frosting laced with nutty tahini. Look for tahini in the supermarket’s international aisle or at Mediterranean markets. It’s an incredibly versatile flavor booster, simple yet sophisticated, like peanut butter with a passport.
Cider Doughnuts with Maple-Tahini Glaze
This recipe originally appeared on Cookinglight.com.
The Ultimate Summer Tomato Salad
Everything about this stunner of a salad screams summer. Visit your local farmers’ market, favorite roadside produce stand, or get your hands on a CSA to bring this seasonal salad to life with the freshest flavors possible. With a variety of vibrant flavors and textures—all tied together with an addictive Herbed Avocado-Tahini Dressing—this dish puts a standard salad to shame. You’ll be sure to turn heads with this beauty at your next family cook out or weekend block party; of course, it’s totally worth making all for yourself, too… because it’s just that good, and you deserve it.
Chocolate-Tahini Banana Bread
Bananas and peanut butter are a likely duo, but bananas and tahini? Mind-blowing. For those with nut allergies, tahini is a great, though slightly more complex, sub. The deep nuttiness of the tahini is amplified in the banana bread and matched by the nutty white whole-wheat flour. Pockets of bittersweet chocolate give the bread a nice twist (dark chocolate and tahini are also a heavenly pair). If you want a “more cowbell” moment, spread a little well-stirred tahini over each slice (or try a schmear of Soom’s incredible chocolate-tahini spread). You can use all white sesame seeds if you can’t find black ones.
For those who don’t love eggs, savory breakfast can pose a bit of a challenge. While you could simply reheat last night’s dinner and call it a day, you should know that eggless savory breakfast can be way more exciting. Allow me to introduce you to fatteh. A type of southern Levantine dish of warm pieces of flatbread covered in hearty toppings like chicken, tongue, beef, eggplant, or chickpeas, fatteh is made in a multitude of regional styles. New York City’s Au Za’atar currently has their own version of the dish (they make it in the Lebanese style) on their brunch menu.
“In Lebanese culture, breakfast dishes do not always include eggs, [nor are they] super-sweet. [Fatteh is] a savory treat,” said Tarik Fallous, chef at Au Za’atar. “It's a very rich and hearty dish that consists of a good balance of protein and carbs.”
At Au Za’atar, Fallous makes a variation of fatteh called Fattet Djaj. Fattet Djaj begins with chopped, toasted pita (either fresh or stale will work). Then comes the fun part: Fallous shreds an entire rotisserie chicken and layers the tender meat with cooked chickpeas and plenty of creamy, garlicky yogurt-tahini sauce. He tops the dish with with toasted pine nuts and almonds for a crunch in every bite.
Characterizing fatteh as a traditional dish that “mothers prepare for their children and during family gatherings,” Fallous said that he wanted to include Fattet Djaj on Au Za’atar’s menu because he finds it comforting and nostalgic.
Au Za'atar's Fattet Djaj
Turkey Burger Pitas with Tahini Sauce
Although many cooks consider sauce a condiment or an afterthought, Lisa Richardson developed this recipe around her homemade sauce based on store-bought tahini. Richardson enjoys creating recipes and encourages her 8-year-old daughter to get involved in cooking. "She has her own recipe cards on which she jots down her new dishes," she says.
Tahini Swirl Brownies
Here's a recipe inspired by an idea from my good friend and baking colleague Dawn Woodward of Evelyn's Crackers. You start with brownies and then top them with a swirl of sweetened tahini that gives a delightful nutty depth of flavor and richness. Be sure to use untoasted sesame oil in the batter; the dark, toasted kind would be too strong.
Serve this flavorful sauce with Spiced Beef Kabobs.
Grilled Vegetables with Yogurt-Tahini Sauce
Serve with grilled flatbread or pita for a complete vegetarian meal.
Tahini and Lemon Broccoli
We like Tahini and Lemon Broccoli for its rich flavor.
White Chocolate-Tahini Cookies
These fluffy cookies feature just ten ingredients including white chocolate chips and tahini.
This shake tastes like sesame candy because of the tahini--a thin, ground-up sesame seed paste that can be used in the same manner as peanut butter. Look for tahini made of hulled toasted sesame seeds for the best flavor.
Turkey Pitas with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce
Combine tahini and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve the finished tahini mixture with each sandwich.
Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant with Tahini Sauce and Tomato Relish
Traditional falafel is made from seasoned, mashed chickpeas that are shaped into patties and deep-fried. Here we use the same components to make a tasty filling for eggplants, baked and topped with a deliciously nutty sauce.
Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus
Crispy Cauliflower with Chili-Tahini Sauce and Farro Pilaf
We like to think of cauliflower as a blank-canvas brassica; diverse enough to be blended into a creamy sauce or soup, or blitzed into “rice” as a lower-carb alternative to grains. Roasting brings out its sweeter side, though it takes on just about any flavor profile you throw its way.
Spicy Dark Chocolate and Tahini Bark
This treat will keep you from raiding your kids’ stash of Halloween candy.
Roasted Carrot and Parsnip Batons With Tahini Dip
Deep caramelization from roasting brings out the natural sweetness in carrots and parsnips. Try to cut the vegetables into the size we call for in step 2. If the pieces are too large or too long, they may cook unevenly or end up limp; if they’re too small, they will likely burn. You can make the dip a day or two ahead, but bring it to room temperature before serving for the best flavor.
Creamy Tahini Hummus
The key to achieving this rich hummus’s creamy texture is an unexpected pantry staple: baking soda. Simmering dried chickpeas in a baking soda solution helps the legumes break down faster and more efficiently, resulting in an impossibly smooth spread. While 1/2 cup may seem like a generous measure of tahini, this is what will give your hummus its signature deeply toasty flavor—so don’t cut yourself short. We especially love Soom brand tahini, as this is a high-quality product made from single origin sesame seeds. Better than anything you’ll buy in your grocery store deli, this velvety and delicious homemade hummus is perfect served with warm, fluffy pita and crudite, or spread onto sandwiches.
Black Tahini Tart with Black Cocoa Crust
When I found out about black cocoa, it was an instantaneous love affair. Same goes for black tahini. So naturally, it didn’t take long for me to come up with a way to make a dark dessert that combined these two beautiful flavors. Chocolate and nutty flavors are always best pals (looking at you, Reese’s), so while it sounds a bit exotic, this tart will land on your palate with a bit of nostalgic comfort, just amped up a little bit.
Pistachio Tahini Cinnamon Rolls
Delicious and not too sweet, the flavors of tahini, pistachios, and cardamom combine beautifully in a fluffy, light roll. These cinnamon rolls take a little extra time, but they’re so worth the effort—especially since most of the work is hands-off. Working with yeast is nothing to be afraid of. If you’re worried about your water being too warm or cool, use a thermometer to keep the temperature in check. These rolls would be fantastic at breakfast or brunch, but they’re also perfect for a snack or treat with a cup of coffee or hot tea.
Fall Farro Bowl with Green Tahini Sauce
With bold but balanced flavors and a vibrant variety of textures, this healthy grain bowl checks all the boxes. We love the colorful, nutrient-dense combo of roasted beets, butternut squash, red onion, and delicate haricot verts, but feel free to include whatever veggies you love the most. You can also add leftover shredded chicken or sliced steak to bump up the protein. Prep the flavor-packed components of this grain bowl in advance for delicious lunches you’ll actually look forward to all week long.
Tuna-and-Watermelon Poke Bowls
This poke bowl is super delicious and flavorful, complete with umami-soy saltiness and citrus notes. Poke should only be made with sushi-grade tuna, which you can find at specialty stores like Whole Foods or your local fishmonger. If you can’t find yellow watermelon, use cantaloupe—that ingredient’s more about color contrast. Letting the fish and fruit “marinate” really allows the flavors to meld. Make sure the sauce gets nicely pureed so it’s super smooth—in a regular blender, that means at least a minute or two. The fruit can last overnight, but the fish shouldn’t go for more than a few hours. Serve with all the accoutrements, and customize to your heart’s content.
Early Summer Salad with Tempeh Croutons and Beet Dressing
Asparagus and garlic lend a prebiotic boost to probiotic-reich beet kvass (a briny, fermented beverage) and tempeh, which studies show may still offer its good-bug benefits after baking. (This is the difference between pre- and probiotic foods.) Look for beet kvass by the kimchi in well-stocked supermarkets, or substitute beet juice if you can’t find it.
A toasty twist on the traditional Millionaire’s Shortbread, these decadent layered cookie bars feature toasted sesame seeds in the shortbread, a luscious tahini caramel, and more sesame seeds sprinkled over top for good measure.
Aleppo-Spiced Meatball Salad
The secret to these delicious, rich, spicy meatballs is Aleppo pepper, which you can find online or at many specialty shops. Another pepper, such as chile or chipotle, will work in a pinch. To take this salad to the next level, roast the cherry tomatoes with the meatballs to concentrate their flavor.
Smoky Red Lentil Hummus
Use this fun riff on classic chickpea hummus to anchor a tray of fresh, seasonal vegetable dippers—we recommend multicolored carrots, radishes, and cauliflower florets. You can prepare the hummus up to three days ahead; wash and trim the crudités a day in advance, and store them in ziplock plastic bags lined with paper towels.
Autumn Glow Salad
This plant-powered salad delivers over 50% of your daily fiber and one-third of your daily potassium goal. Butternut squash is an excellent source of eye-healthy vitamin A and a good source of immune-boosting vitamin C and blood pressure-supporting potassium.
A playful and delicious twist on traditional chess pie, this treat is loaded with sesame seeds and tahini. These nutty touches allow Darcy to use less sugar than traditional chess pie recipes, which often call for 2 cups. If you'd like to play up the "chess" angle, do as Darcy does, and arrange the black sesame seeds in a checkered pattern on top of the pie. Form a makeshift stencil from strips of parchment paper; you'll find a video that shows you how at cookinglight.com/features. A touch of vodka in the crust is a great baker's trick; it makes it more flaky and tender, and it evaporates as the crust bakes so you have no residual alcohol flavor.