Being in the Middle East, many of our recipes naturally lean towards Levantine flavors and ingredients. One such ingredient is tahini, which is simply the Arabic word for sesame paste. You may have already used tahini at home if you’ve ever tried making a classic hummus recipe.
As far as Middle Eastern foods go, hummus usually gets all the fanfare abroad as a wonderful gluten-free, vegan dish. And while I love me some hummus, tahini is the real star of the Middle Eastern kitchen. It’s super versatile in salad dressings or sauces and can also replace eggs as a binding agent in baked goods. Plus ⅓ cup contains more than 20% of the recommended daily allowance for calcium, 18% dietary fiber, 25% iron, 12% magnesium and nearly 9 grams of protein.
Tahini is the real star of the Middle Eastern kitchen.
This salad dressing/dip/pasta sauce is one of my favorite tahini-based recipes. It mixes delicious near- and far eastern flavors, takes just five minutes and one bowl to make, and keeps well in the refrigerator, though it doesn’t usually last longer than a single meal in our home since we pour it liberally.
Here’s how I use it:
For salads: Add it to one of two salad bases: leafy greens, cucumbers, and green onions; or shredded cabbage, carrots and kohlrabi.
For pasta: Add it to buckwheat pasta, such as Japanese soba noodles, and toss with diced fresh scallions. Despite the name, buckwheat isn’t actually wheat and it’s naturally gluten free.
For dip: This pairs really well with veggie sushi rolls, Vietnamese spring rolls, or a combination of steamed or roasted broccoli, cauliflower, yams and carrots.
* Don’t skip the sesame oil! I know, tahini is essentially oily sesame paste, but the sesame oil adds a toasted flavor that totally makes this recipe zing. Without, it’s kinda meh.