Creamy Sesame Garlic DressingIf you’re a lover of Middle Eastern, Greek or North African cuisine, then you’re no stranger to tahini. But did you know that tahini is not exactly the same thing as sesame seed butter? The difference is sesame butter is a thick, dark spread made from whole, unhulled sesame seeds while tahini, whether raw or roasted, is made from hulled sesame seeds. Raw tahini is slightly sweet and nutty. Once roasted, the flavor becomes rich and deep, making it fabulous in a variety of dishes from Grilled Tomato and Tahini Dressing to Creamy Tahini and Broccoli Pasta.
I am never without a jar of organic tahini in my refrigerator. It’s nutritious, delicious and filling, not to mention perfect for back-to-school lunches. You can enjoy it on its own as a spread or mixed with a variety of other ingredients. Here are some of my favorite ways to cook with this wonderful, hearty spread:
Mix with honey or mash with chopped dates and spread on toast or crackers, pita bread or bagels, pancakes and waffles or spoon over yogurt or fruit salad. Or make a sandwich for work or school like this Open-Face Apple Tahini Sandwich.
Mix tahini with almondmilk or dairy milk. Add garlic, lemon juice and salt, or make our lovely and simple Creamy Sesame-Garlic Dressing for leafy green salads, whole grain and noodle salads, or to drizzle over raw or cooked vegetables. Soba Noodles with Roasted Shrimp and Sweet Potatoes is made with Key West shrimp and sugar snap peas. It can be easily packed and kept cold for a take-along lunch.
Spread tahini on apples and pears for a seasonal treat.
Use tahini to add creaminess to vegetables. Stir a spoonful into a skillet of cooked veggies, and add aromatic favorites such as garlic, onions, leeks, chives, etc. Tahini Miso Sauce is wonderful over veggies and grains.
Swap tahini for peanut or almond butter in recipes like cookies. We love these Mini Sesame Chocolate Chip Cookies, which use tahini and sesame seeds.
Thin with a little fruit juice such as orange, peach, apple or pear for a sweet dressing. Drizzle over fruit salad.
Make a sandwich using tahini in place of mayonnaise. Fill with roasted seasonal veggies and leafy greens, or sliced pears, apples or bananas.
Dunk a hunk of dark chocolate in tahini. Pair with coffee, tea or herbal tea for an afternoon treat.
Sesame-Apple Shortcakes are deliciously filled with shredded apples, tahini and honey.
Mix tahini with yogurt and chopped herbs such as chives, mint, rosemary or parsley. Use it as a condiment or sauce with grilled or roasted lamb or other meats. Try Lamb Skewers with Tahini Yogurt Sauce served over toasted pita bread, rice or couscous.
Butternut Hummus is a fun and unique take on traditional hummus. It’s great as a sandwich spread or a dip for vegetables, chips or root vegetable chips.
Do you have a favorite tahini recipe? I’d love to hear it.