A few days ago, my husband and I made a batch of fresh tahini sauce. For those of you who aren’t familiar with tahini, it’s a dense paste made from crushed sesame seeds. Tahini sauce is a mixture of tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and water. This traditional Middle Eastern sauce is served in Israel and in Arab countries throughout the Middle East. The sauce is used as a condiment to accompany dishes like hummus, falafel, and babaganoush. It can also be served alongside a kosher meat meal as a dairy-free alternative to cream sauce.
Middle Eastern stores sell pre-mixed tahini sauce, but my husband swears by making it from scratch. I do notice a big difference between store-bought tahini sauce and homemade– the flavor of homemade is fresher, creamier, and more delicate. He walked me through the process, step by step, just like his mother used to make it when he was a child in Ramat Gan, Israel.
While I would love to give you the definitive tahini sauce recipe, making it properly is a bit of an art form. It’s best learned in the kitchen beside somebody who’s been making it their whole life. I have included the basic process and ingredient measurements here, but bear in mind that each batch of tahini sauce is different. Ingredients must be added slowly, and the cook should keep a close eye on consistency and flavor throughout the process.
Once prepared, this recipe can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. This sauce is gluten free, vegan, healthy and tasty. Enjoy!
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- 1 cup tahini sesame seed paste (I prefer the paste made from light colored seeds)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water, or more for consistency
- 3 cloves raw garlic (or 5 cloves roasted garlic)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced (optional)
- Grind tahini paste, lukewarm water, garlic, lemon juice and salt together in a food processor or blender until sauce is creamy and ivory-colored. A food processor is the easiest way to make this sauce; scrape the sides of the processor periodically during processing. If using a blender, you may need to use a long-handled spoon to break up the thick part of the sauce once every 30 seconds; this will keep it from clogging your blender blades. After a few minutes of blending, sauce will turn into a rich, smooth paste. If mixture is too thick, slowly add more water until it reaches the preferred consistency. You may need quite a bit of water depending on the thickness of your tahini paste. If using tahini to top hummus or a meat dish, keep it thick and creamy. As a condiment for pita or falafel, a more liquid sauce is usually preferred. Taste often during the blending process; add more lemon juice or salt, if desired.
- When you're happy with the sauce's flavor and consistency, pour it into a bowl. Stir in parsley until well combined (optional), or garnish sauce with fresh parsley on top. Enjoy!