What is tahini?
Tahini is a subtly creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is traditionally used in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine in recipes like hummus, baba ganoush, and halva. It has a good amount of copper, manganese, calcium and magnesium in it, which may aid in relieving rheumatoid arthritis, improving vascular and respiratory health, preventing colon cancer, osteoporosis, and migraines along with many other health benefits.
How can I use tahini?
- Homemade Hummus
- Baba Ganoush
- Dressings and sauces like Green Goddess dressing, Ginger Tahini Dressing, Tahini Miso, Orange Tahini, Tahini Avocado, Chili Oil Tahini, Creamy Citrus, Mint Pesto, Honey Tahini
- With Broccoli or Other vegetables: Broccoli with Tahini, Lemon Pepper Tahini Broccoli, Tahini + Cumin Roasted Carrots, Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Garlic sauce
- Tahini Slaw
- Tahini Mustard Spinach Chips
- Make a creamy thai peanut sauce to go with rice, mung bean or soba noodles
- Tahini Miso Honey spread (1/4 cup tahini, 1 tbsp. miso, 2 tbsp. raw honey or to taste) – great for spreading on sprouted grain toast or apples
- Use in place of any nut or seed butter in recipes for bars, bites, cookies, cake and brownies
- Other Desserts: Halva Chocolate Spread, Tahini Lucuma Frosting, Tahini Date Salted Caramel
What are the benefits of making my own?
- Fresher – the older tahini is and the longer it sits on a shelf in the store, the more it has a possibility of becoming rancid. Making your own can ensure that the tahini you are consuming is very fresh.
- Cost-effectiveness – the reason I first wondered about making my own was because I wanted to save some money. Turns out, I did! If you have access to bulk sesame seeds and already have a food processor or a mortar and pestle, making your own could certainly be a cheaper option.
- Diversity – you can experiment with adding different flavors or using different kinds of seeds. You can also make raw, unhulled tahini, which is potentially more nutritious and sometimes hard to find in stores.
How can I make my own?
You can use any kind of sesame seeds (unhulled, hulled, raw, toasted, sprouted or black), but keep in mind that the different kinds will lend different flavors to your final product. Raw, unhulled sesame seeds will make a more bitter tahini and toasted will taste less bitter and a bit nuttier. To toast the seeds on a stovetop, simply place seeds in a dry pan over medium heat and stir frequently for about 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook the seeds! Stop when they have a slight nutty fragrance. You can also toast them in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes, stirring them once or twice in the meantime. Hulled seeds will make a smoother, lighter tahini while unhulled seeds will be less smooth but potentially more nutritious, especially in calcium content.
First start off with:
- 1 cup of sesame seeds
By itself, this will yield about 1/2 cup of tahini. Process in a food processor using the ‘S’ blade for about 2-3 minutes until creamy. You may need to scrape down the sides every so often to help it along. You may also grind them with a mortar and pestle, but this option is not as easy as using a food processor.
You only really need sesame seeds to make tahini, but you can add other ingredients if you would like.
You may add:
- Sea salt, to taste
- Olive oil, grapeseed oil, or sesame oil – start by adding a small amount, like 1-2 tablespoons, and add more depending on desired consistency. The more oils that’s used, the thinner the tahini will be. Using more oil will also yield more tahini in the end.
Store in the refrigerator in a jar or an airtight container. I love to reuse old peanut or almond butter jars, but you really can use any jar with a lid.
Have any more questions? Leave them below!