Oh, tahini—the liquid gold gift from the sesame seed gods. We might as well rename Plated “The Tahini Fan Club” based on how much we use and rave about the beloved sesame paste. But what is tahini, really? And are there any limits to its use (short answer: no!)?
Tahini is a popular Middle Eastern condiment made from grinding sesame seeds with oil into a thick paste—it’s a staple in Turkish, Israeli, and many other regional cuisines. You may have encountered tahini most frequently in hummus or baba ganoush, where the paste adds a rich, nutty flavor to these popular chickpea and eggplant-based dips.
Although tahini has been around for centuries, it’s gaining in popularity now as one of this summer’s key food trends. And it deserves its fan base: a simple drizzle of tahini can balance spice and add creamy, savory depth to a dish.
Here, we dive into a few of our favorite ways to incorporate tahini into every meal of the day—from breakfast to dessert.
Take your pancakes to the next level
We’re fans of the traditional pancake toppings as much as the next breakfast lover, but sometimes we’re in the mood for a little bit more flavor in our pancake stack.
When we’re trying to get creative (especially when trying to impress brunch guests) we swap out our regular butter and syrup regimen for homemade tahini honey butter. Once you make the switch, we promise you’ll never look back.
Up your fancy toast game
What if we told you that you can make avocado toast even more delicious? It’s true—by drizzling tahini and sprinkling red pepper flakes over the top of your favorite preparation of avocado toast (sliced or mashed avocado, with or without a fried egg), you can add a more dynamic, well-rounded flavor profile to your favorite toast.
For a cheesier bite, we love topping our toast with spoonfuls of fresh ricotta, a drizzle of tahini, and a pinch of flaky sea salt, for a snack that can be enjoyed for breakfast and dessert alike.
Revamp your pasta salad
The mayo-based pasta salad that’s a staple of picnics and cookouts throughout the summer season is undoubtedly delicious. But there are some days when mayo just doesn’t cut it, and we crave a new set of flavors in our cold pasta dishes.
Enter: tahini. Swap out the mayo and incorporate tahini into your pasta salad dressing for your next summer barbecue, for a delightful pasta-salad-meets-cold- sesame-noodles dish. You may want to make a double batch—this crowd-pleaser goes fast!
Forget the Steak Sauce
Remember that tahini butter you made for your stack of pancakes? With a few modifications (swap out the honey, add in lemon + za’atar spice), the same recipe can be used as a delicious sauce for seared steak. Whip up some zesty Israeli salad to serve alongside, and you have a delicious, hearty, Mediterranean-inspired meal.
Dress up your vegetables
We love vegetables of all shapes, sizes, and colors here at Plated, and when a vegetable is in season, we’re all for preparing them as simply as possible to highlight their natural flavor profile. But for those times when simply-prepared vegetables aren’t quite calling to us, we head straight for our trusty jar of tahini.
A few spoonfuls of tahini and a sprinkle of sea salt adds a depth of flavor and richness to pretty much any cooked and raw vegetable dish, from steamed broccoli and smashed sweet potatoes to crispy cauliflower, roasted fennel, raw crudité and more.
Make a creamy, dreamy salad dressing
We’re always looking for ways to make salad seem less virtuous and more delicious and exciting. One way to pretty much guarantee that—incorporating nutty, rich tahini into the salad dressing.
To make the dressing, you’ll want to use equal parts olive oil and tahini (to thin out the thick sesame paste texture), and then add in a few tablespoons of an acid (like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice) to balance out the rich, nutty tahini flavor. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, adjust ingredients to taste, and voila! You have a creamy, homemade dressing that makes any salad dreamy and delicious.
All hail the salty-sweet dessert
While we’ve mostly focused on savory applications for tahini in this roundup, we can’t forget to mention how delicious the sesame paste is when incorporated into desserts—especially when paired with chocolate.
We love these Salted Chocolate and Tahini Cups, which marry dark chocolate with sweet raspberry-redcurrant preserves and nutty tahini. It’s like a homemade peanut butter cup with a Mediterranean twist—what more could you want?
Ready to up your cooking game with tahini and other fun ingredients? Get started with Plated today!
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