Mediterranean Tahini Salad Dressing, with sesame seed paste, known as Tahini, lemons, garlic and good olive oil makes the best dressing and sauce.
Tahini In My Home
While my American girlfriends, when I was a kid, had peanut butter on their pantry shelf, we had tahini.
Maybe that’s why I didn’t have many girlfriends when I was a kid, lol!
In our home we used it for sauces, for salads, on sandwiches, tossed with roasted veggies and great for basting meat or fish on the grill!
What Is Tahini?
Until hummus became popular in America, most home cooks never heard of tahini.
Since a grocery store, back when I was a kid, didn’t sell international products, an hour drive into Washington DC, to a specialty market was required.
Not anymore. Nearly every grocery store sells it!
Tahini is simply crushed sesame seeds.
Crushed and pureed until they form a paste.
Like nuts, there is oil in the seeds so you will also benefit from the nutritional sesame seed oil when you add tahini to your recipes.
The Origin Of Tahini
The origin of Tahini?
My house! Hah, just kidding.
My mother was a first generation Syrian American.
We always had weird food in our house, none of my friends had.
So… I changed friends!
Mediterranean Cuisine Knows All About Tahini
Once I started hanging out with friends from various Mediterranean regions, Italians, Greeks and Iranians, my food seemed normal, honestly… better too!
In short; tahini was originally from each of these regions of the world and finally made its way to most American grocery stores.
While the convenience of buying a multitude of imported foods makes life easier now, I wouldn’t trade those long drives into DC as a kid with my family to the Middle Eastern markets for any convenience.
Stories, memories, bonding took place in those inconvenient moments in life.
Homemade tahini is so easy to make, at just a fraction of the price of store bought tahini.
Treating sesame seeds the same as we do nuts, we can easily make our own seed and nut butters.
After-all, that’s all tahini really is.
There is oil in those seeds, so its health benefits are even greater when you make these spreads from fresh ingredients, at home.
I’ve found that lightly toasting the seeds or nuts before I puree them into a paste or butter, enhances their natural flavors.
Homemade Nut And Seed Paste
You really must try making your own tahini paste, peanut butter, almond butter and any other nut you prefer.
I love knowing how fresh mine is rather than already made, not knowing how long it’s been in the jar, but that’s just me.
What Popular Recipes Are Made With Tahini?
Tahini is what makes both of these luscious dips… luscious!
Garbanzo bean is the main ingredient in hummus while eggplant is the main ingredient in baba ganoush.
Both, whisked with tahini, lots of lemon juice and lemon zest, good olive oil, and there you have it. These two luscious dips, that need only some fresh herbs and Homemade Pita bread, are healthy and delicious!
Tahini Is Not Just For Savory Recipes!
But let’s not just think of tahini for savory dishes, like on our salad recipes, Buddha bowls or homemade falafel.
I have made the most delicious cookies and ice cream with tahini.
However, the real beauty is my Tahini Custard Pie!
My now ‘famous’ Tahini Pie, that I made on The Great American Recipe on PBS has been one of the most visited recipes on my blog!
Oh My is it delicious.
There is Tahini in the crust, tahini in the custard filling, and yes, this is the very same pie I made for The Great American Recipe on PBS!
The judges said it was definitely a winner!
What To Use Tahini Salad Dressing On
- Salads – there is hardly a salad, veggie or fruit, that wouldn’t be enhanced by tahini salad dressing.
- Falafel – the perfect drizzle to be eaten with the perfect vegan fried balls of chickpeas and lots of herbs.
- Roasted veggies – you’ve got proteins on the grill, veggies alongside, pull this quick meal off the grill and finish with a drizzle of tahini dressing.
- Soup stock – when your homemade soup stocks get pulled out from the freezer and want a hint of something special, add a little tahini dressing to the broth for deeper flavors.
- Sandwich wraps – whether you sandwich wrap is made with pita bread or burritos wraps, spread tahini dressing on before anything else you stack on top.
How To Make Mediterranean Tahini Salad Dressing
With a food processor, a blender or simply an 8 oz Mason jar, you can have tahini dressing whipped up in no time!
The best flavor profile for a Mediterranean tahini salad dressing, is made with homemade tahini, simply because we can then lightly toast the sesame seeds before they are pureed into a paste.
However, not everyone is kookie like me and willing to make sauces, dressings and flavor enhancers from scratch.
So, store bought will work too.
Simply toss all the ingredients into a blender to puree, or in a Mason jar and give a good hard shake, and your lemon tahini dressing is ready for so many different recipes.
Tahini Dressing Options
While tahini dressing is really just a 4-ingredient fast and easy recipe, as we know, everyone has varied tastes.
Personalizing this dressing is as easy as adding a few favorite flavors to it:
- Maple syrup, honey or agave added will satisfy those who like a touch of sweet in their dressing.
- Fresh herbs are always my favorite addition, which is why I grow as many as I can.
- Dried spices raise the bar on flavor by adding za’atar, cumin, smoked paprika or even the heat of red pepper flakes.
- Mustard will add a bit more zing than the lemons will because of the vinegar in mustard.
Other Homemade Mediterranean Salad Dressings To Love
When you live in a home that loves salads and vegetables, great salad dressing and veggie drizzles get real creative!
Throughout the various Mediterranean regions of the world, some of the greatest ingredients grow.
From these traditional ingredients, I like to create my salad dressings and vinaigrettes.
- Fig Dressing – with balsamic vinegar, crushed fresh figs a pinch of chili pepper and lots of olive oil.
- Mediterranean Lemon Salad Dressing – and marinade with its bright lemony, olive oil and fresh herb flavor, is fast and easy to make.
- Fresh Strawberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing – with fresh sweet strawberries, a little tart from white vinegar, the fruity flavor of olive oil and a little bit of red chili flakes.
- Pomegranate Sumac Vinaigrette – With homemade Pom Molasses, a Mediterranean twist on sweet, sour, spicy tangy flavors that is great for salads or marinades.
- Lemon juice
- Olive oi
- Blender or food processor
- Measuring cup
- Airtight container
Homemade Tahini Salad Dressing
- Food processor or blender
- Airtight container
- 1/2 cup Tahini homemade
- 1/4 cup Lemon 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1 Garlic clove crushed
- Salt to taste
- Water – as needed for the consistency you want optional
- pinch mustard, za’atar, maple syrup, honey or even a splash of harissa optional
- Place all ingredients into a blender, food processor or in a deep but small bowl and use a wire whisk. Whisk vigorously until creamy. Ready to use or store in an air tight container.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Best served room temperature.