Tested & Perfected Recipes

Tahini sauce is delicious drizzled onto meat, fish, falafel, or roasted vegetables. It can also be served as dip for fresh veggies or as a sandwich spread.

This tahini sauce recipe is adapted from Israeli chef Michael Solomonov’s cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. It is wonderful drizzled onto meat, fish, falafel, or roasted vegetables, and it can also be served as dip or sandwich spread.

Not only is tahini sauce versatile, but it’s also a cinch to make. It will keep for a week in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen for up to a month.

What you’ll need to make Tahini Sauce

ingredients for tahini sauce

Tahini paste is the main ingredient in tahini sauce. It is made from sesame seeds and has an earthy, nutty taste. You can find it in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store, or near the nut butters. When you open a jar of tahini, you’ll notice that the solids are settled in the bottom of the jar, similar to natural peanut butter. Be sure to give it a good stir before using. (If your tahini is difficult to stir in the jar, scrape the contents of the jar into a bowl, then use a whisk or hand-held electric mixer to blend.)

Because it’s high in oil, tahini should be refrigerated once opened. It will last several months in the fridge.  For longer storage, you can freeze portions in an ice cube tray and pop out individual cubes to use when needed.

The seasonings here are important (as always!), as without the addition of salt and cumin the sauce will be bland. The cumin adds a nice depth of flavor and a hint of smokiness.  If you want to play around with other spices, try a pinch of chili powder and/or smoked paprika.

How to make tahini sauce

garlic, lemon juice, and salt in food processor

Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a blender or small food processor. Add the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Blend on high until the garlic is coarsely puréed.

puréed garlic and lemon juice

Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow. Pour the lemon and garlic mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium mixing bowl, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. This step helps to make the tahini sauce silky smooth and keeps it from tasting too strongly of garlic.

straining lemon and garlic mixture

Add the tahini to the strained lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

lemon mixture, tahini, cumin and salt in mixing bowlWhisk to combine. As you can see below, the mixture will be very thick.

seized mixture

Add ice cold water a few tablespoons at a time, whisking constantly, to thin it out. The sauce will lighten in color and seize up as you whisk.

whisking tahini sauce

When the tahini seizes up or tightens, keep adding the water, bit by bit (about 1/2 cup total), until the sauce is smooth, creamy, and thick.

creamy tahini sauce in mixing bowl

Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and cumin, if necessary. If you’re not using the sauce immediately, whisk in a few tablespoons of ice cold water to loosen it up before refrigerating (it thickens up quite a bit in the fridge). The tahini sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to a month.

You May Also Like

Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce is delicious drizzled onto meat, fish, falafel, or roasted vegetables. It can also be served as dip for fresh veggies or as a sandwich spread.

Servings: About 1-1/3 cups
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 1 to 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Ice water, as needed

Instructions

  1. Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in a blender or small food processor. Add the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Blend on high until the garlic is coarsely puréed. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes to let the garlic mellow.
  2. Pour the lemon and garlic mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a medium mixing bowl, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. (This step helps to make the tahini sauce silky smooth and keeps it from tasting too strongly of garlic.) Add the tahini to the strained lemon juice in the bowl, along with the cumin and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Whisk the mixture together until smooth, adding ice cold water, a few tablespoons at a time to thin it out. The sauce will lighten in color as you whisk. When the tahini seizes up or tightens, keep adding the water, bit by bit (about 1/2 cup total), until the sauce is smooth, creamy, and thick.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and cumin, if necessary. If you're not using the sauce immediately, whisk in a few tablespoons of ice cold water to loosen it up before refrigerating (it thickens up quite a bit in the fridge). The tahini sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to a month.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:

Add a Review or Question

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.