You will absolutely love this Tahini Dressing recipe drizzled over salads, falafels, roasted vegetables and grilled meat. It’s creamy, nutty, delicious and good for you, too!
I have the most divine dressing for you, ever. It’s fresh tasting, nourishing, and will boost the flavour of anything that receives its delicious drizzle. With tahini as it’s base, water, lime juice, garlic, vinegar, and an optional touch of maple syrup come together to make a very pourable dressing that is perfect for everything from roasted veggies, to green salads, grain salads, or spooned onto falafel pitas.
This tahini dressing is also outstanding as a dip for a vegetable crudité platter. With no added oils or dairy, it is brimming with good-for-you ingredients, yet tastes exceptionally creamy and decadent. I simply can’t get enough of it.
If you’re not familiar with tahini, here is a little information you might find useful:
What exactly is Tahini?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds with a similar texture to peanut butter. A staple in Middle Eastern culture, it is common in dishes such as tahini sauce, hummus, baba ganoush, and many others. Tahini is a very nutritious paste that is asked with good fats, protein, calcium, and iron. Once considered an exotic, hard to find ingredient in Wester cultures, tahini is now available in health food stores and almost all major grocery stores.
Unfortunately, not all tahini pastes are created equal. Some are really poor quality with a thick and gritty texture and a very bitter taste. This is usually the result of over-roasted sesame seeds, which will also cause the paste to harden and the oil to separate and pooling at the top. No matter what ingredients you add to a bad tasting tahini, you will not be able to get rid of that bitter undertone.
A good tahini paste should need only a little stirring (a bit of oil separation is natural) to become smooth and pourable, like a loose nut butter. When you taste it, the flavour should be mildly nutty and only slightly bitter.
Where to find a good tahini paste?
You will likely have to taste a few brands before you find one you like. In Middle Eastern stores you can usually find quite good ones. At health food stores, I have had good luck finding the Kevala brand tahini which is really good. I strongly dislike this tahini and use it only in a pinch.
If you want the best of the best, you should order Soom Tahini online. It is hailed as the one of the best tahini’s on the market and I wholeheartedly agree. It is a little pricey but any good quality tahini will be about the same price. In Canada, you can order it from here. If you live in the US, you can order it here.
For my readers in Ontario, Parallel restaurant in Toronto makes a fabulous sesame paste in-house labelled “sesame butter”. They have a few other flavours that sound delicious and you can order them all online from their shop. Recently, I was thrilled to find their products sold in Kitchener-Waterloo here, and here.
How to use tahini paste?
The most popular dish for tahini paste is of course the globally loved hummus. Sweet dishes also welcome the nutty flavours of Tahini such as these tahini brownies. A good tahini is also great, as is, drizzled over toast or even ice cream. And then of course, few things would not improve with a generous drizzle of a citrusy tahini sauce, or dressing, such as the one I am sharing today.
Ingredients You’ll Need
You only need only a few basic ingredients to make this easy tahini dressing:
- Tahini – This recipe is of course all about the tahini so be sure to use a good quality tahini. See above for my suggestions.
- Fresh lime juice – Lemon juice is more commonly used with tahini but I love the flavour of lime in this dressing. Feel free to use lemon if you prefer.
- White wine vinegar – To make the dressing even a little more tangy I like to add vinegar as well as the lime or lemon juice. Apple cider vinegar also works.
- Garlic – I use 2-3 garlic cloves in my tahini dressing. I like to grate the garlic into the blender, then let it sit with a pinch of salt and the lime, or lemon juice, for 10 minutes. This will sort of “cook” the garlic, mellowing out its potency so it doesn’t overwhelm the dressing.
- Dijon mustard – Just a bit for a little more flavour and to help emulsify the sauce.
- Cold water – Because this is a dressing, we use quite a bit of water to loosen it and make it very pourable. If you would like to use this dressing as a dip, start with 1/4 cup water and add more as needed to reach the desired consistency. Cold water helps loosen the sauce and keeps it smooth.
- Kosher salt – I use about 1 teaspoon total, but you can start with a little less and add to taste.
- Optional sweetener: I don’t always add it but a little honey, or maple syrup, seems to round out the flavours nicely in this tahini dressing. That said, be careful not to add too much because I find the sweet flavour intensifies as it sits.
How To Make The Best Tahini Dressing
A high-speed blender will do a great job at emulsifying this tahini dressing making it super silky and smooth. A food processor will also work if you are making a a good amount. If you prefer to mix it by hand, this will also work.
- Add the garlic and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the blender (or food processor) then pour the freshly-squeezed lime (or lemon juice) over it. Blend until smooth and let it sit for 10 minutes to marinate. Note: If using a food processor, or whisking by hand, you will have to grate the garlic prior to adding the juice, otherwise the garlic will remain chunky.
- Pour in the tahini paste, vinegar, water, remaining salt, and sweetener (if using).
- Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning; add a little more lime juice, sweetener, or salt. If you would like the flavour a little less sharp, blend in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
You may notice the mixture seizes somewhat when you are blending or whisking it – that’s completely normal. Just continue mixing, adding a bit more water if necessary, and the ingredients will come together in no time to make a smooth sauce.
Tahini Dressing Recipe Variations
You can certainly have a little fun with this tahini dressing:
Make a green tahini dressing: Add fresh herbs like basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, or chives. So fresh and flavourful!
Add spices: Spices like turmeric, ginger and cardamom would be delicious additions to this dressing. As would Za’atar, or sumac.
Add some heat: If you like a bit of spice, add a few dashes of cayenne pepper, or a chopped jalapeño.
Add yogurt: Make it even creamier by adding 1/4 cup full-fat plain yogurt. Yum!
Suggestions For Serving Tahini Dressing
As mentioned, this tahini dressing recipe is outstanding to drizzle over a multitude of dishes. Here are my favourite ones:
Roasted vegetables: Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts (my favourite!), to name just a few!
Falafels: Tahini and falafels, served in any way shape or form, are of course a match made in heaven. I could live on falafels dipped in this sauce forever – no joke.
On fish or grilled meat: Another match made in heaven. Try it and you will see what I mean.
Storing Tahini Dressing: The dressing will keep well in the fridge, tightly covered for up to 3 days. Garlic and citrus will reduce the amount of time that a dressing can be stored. If you need this dressing to be stored for a longer amount of time, omit the garlic and lime juice. It will still be delicious. Alternatively, you can add some grated garlic and lime juice just before serving.
If you give this Tahini Dressing recipe a try, please feel free to leave a comment and/or a star rating below. We appreciate and welcome all your feedback. Thank you!
Tahini Dressing Recipe
- 3 cloves garlic grated or finely minced
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt divided
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (or lemon)
- 3/4 cup Tahini paste
- 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 cup cold water plus more if necessary
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup, or honey optional
- Add the grated garlic and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the blender (or food processor) then pour the freshly-squeezed lime (or lemon juice) over it. Blend until smooth and let it sit for 10 minutes to marinate. Note: If using a food processor, or whisking by hand, be sure the garlic is grated or very finely minced prior to adding the lime juice, otherwise the garlic will remain chunky.
- Add in the tahini paste, vinegar, dijon mustard, water, remaining salt, and sweetener (if using). Blend until completely smooth and creamy, addiang a little more water, if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary; add a little more lime juice, sweetener, or salt. If you would like the flavour a little less sharp, blend in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- The tahini dressing will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 3 days (see notes).