This delicious sauce dates back to 13th century Persia and can be found in dishes throughout the Middle East, Asia, and the Mediterranean. Derived from fragrantly nutty toasted sesame seeds, this clean-eat sesame paste requires only three ingredients (one of which is optional!) It’s so simple to make that I typically make it as needed so that it is as fresh as possible. This particular batch was actually made to be used in my Homemade Hummus recipe (an absolute must-try by the way!) but beyond just hummus, you can use this sauce as its own dip, or as a complement to marinades, dressings, dips, sauces etc. Actually, I’d love to know your favorite way of using this sauce so tag us on social media and let us know!
Tahini is truly a versatile sauce that is perfect for virtually all diet and lifestyle options including those with nut allergies (sesame seeds are not a tree nut), those on a gluten-free diet, vegans, vegetarians, or those on the keto or paleo diet. And best of all it’s incredibly easy to make. Let me show you…
Sesame seeds are the main ingredient in this dish. If your sesame seeds aren’t toasted (mine weren’t) simply place them in a pan on med-low heat, being sure to gently shake the pan and agitate the seeds so they are constantly moving and don’t burn.
After a few minutes the seeds will turn a light golden color and you will be able to get little wisps of their nutty scent as the oils within them begin to come out. They almost smell like toasted peanuts or pumpkin seeds! Once golden, remove the seeds from the pan and proceed to use them as needed.
Now to make our sauce. Three ingredients. That’s it. Our toasted sesame seeds will be ground and blended with a neutral oil that we’re going to gradually stream in. An optional addition is a pinch of salt (the amount of salt pictured above is honestly way more than you’ll be needing) that will only serve to boost the sauce’s flavor.
With your ingredients gathered, place your still-warm and toasted sesame seeds into a food processor and break them down a bit. Since they’re warm, the oils in them will help the sauce to come together quicker.
If using, add a pinch of salt.
Continue to blend your seeds and slowly begin to pour in the oil in a small but steady stream. Stop halfway through and scrape down the sides. Continue adding oil until the sauce comes together. Keep processing your sauce until your desired texture is achieved. For an ultra smooth sauce, consider using an immersion (hand) blended after you’ve broken the seeds down in your processor and streamed the oil in.
As a bonus, you can flavor your sauce to suit your personal tastes. One option is to add some freshly squeezed lemon juice for a bright, fresh citrus burst, or sprinkle in a pinch of cumin or a even a touch of garlic paste to create additional depth and an extra layer of flavor. However, remember that the toasted sesame flavor is the true star of this dish so you want to use and add-ins sparingly to allow it to shine 🌟
That’s honestly it for this post guys, so from our ☀️ sunshiny ☀️ kitchen to yours, we hope you enjoy!
Simple Homemade Tahini Sauce
- Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a pan until they are lightly browned with a nutty aroma. Be sure to keep the heat low and keep the seeds moving in the pan to avoid them from burning.
- Add the toasted seeds to a food processor with a pinch of salt (if using). Blend until the seeds begin to form a paste and begin streaming in your olive oil a teaspoon at a time.
- Continue blending until a smooth, creamy and emulsified mixture is made. Pour the sauce into an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
- If you're using pre-toasted sesame seeds you can still warm them up in a pan on low heat so that their oils are released faster.
- The amount of oil needed will depend on the type of sesame seeds used and their age and oil content.
- There's nothing wrong with a slightly grainy tahini however for a smooth and creamy paste, continue blending until the desired texture is achieved, adding oil as needed, or finish your sauce by removing it from the food processor's bowl and using an immersion (hand) blender.
- Want to boost the flavor of your tahini sauce? Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice for a bright, fresh citrus burst or add in a pinch or two of cumin for an additional depth of flavor. If you'd like a subtle hint of garlic flavor, omit adding in the salt and instead use it to make a fresh garlic paste of which you'll need 1/4 tsp of for your tahini.