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Tahini sauce

Middle Eastern staple that can change your cooking

Tahini is a paste made from hulled sesame seeds and neutral flavored oil such as grape seed, canola or a light olive oil. It is a staple in many cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Arguably the most well known way to use tahini is when making hummus. Once you have tahini in your fridge, you will find yourself adding it to a variety of dishes (dips, salad dressings, sauces for meat dishes and roasted vegetables and even deserts).
Adapted from “Zahav” by Michael Solomonov


  • 1 latrge  garlic cloves

  • ¼ cup lemon juice (1 lemons)

  • ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ⅔ cups tahini paste (unprocessed paste from the jar)

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ⅓ cup cold water (it's important that it be cold, add ice cubes to keep the water cold]


  1. Break up the head of garlic with your hands letting the unpeeled cloves fall into the blender.  Add the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of salt.  Blend on high for a few seconds until you have course purée. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow.

  2. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids.

  3. Add the tahini paste to the strained lemon juice in the bowl along with the cumin.

  4. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, adding ice water, a  tablespoons at a time, to thin it out.  The sauce will lighten in color as you whisk. When the mixture seizes up (thickens) keep adding ice water, bit by bit, whisking until you have a perfectly smooth creamy sauce. (The tahini sauce should very slowly lose its shape if you let ribbons of it drop from the whisk into the bowl.)

  5. Taste and add up to 1½ teaspoon more salt and cumin if you like.  You can keep the tahini sauce in the refrigerator for a week (or freeze for one month).

  6. To serve the tahini as dip by itself, stir in chopped flat leaf parsley.

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