A few days ago, my husband and I made a batch of fresh tahini sauce. For those of you who aren’t familiar with tahini, it’s a dense paste made from crushed sesame seeds. Tahini sauce is a mixture of tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and oil. The sauce is used as a condiment to accompany Sephardic Jewish dishes like hummus, falafel, and babaganoush. It can also be served alongside a kosher meat meal; it’s a pareve alternative to cream sauce.
Middle Eastern stores sell pre-mixed tahini sauce, but my husband swears by making it from scratch. I do notice a big difference between store-bought tahini sauce and homemade– the flavor of homemade is fresher, creamier, and more delicate. He walked me through the process, step by step, just like his mother used to make it when he was a child in Ramat Gan, Israel.
While I would love to give you the definitive tahini sauce recipe, making it properly is a bit of an art form. It’s best learned in the kitchen beside somebody who’s been making it their whole life. I have included the basic process and ingredient measurements here, but bear in mind that each batch of tahini sauce is different. Ingredients must be added slowly, and the cook should keep a close eye on consistency and flavor throughout the process.
Once prepared, this recipe can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks in an airtight container. This sauce is gluten free, vegan, healthy and tasty. Enjoy!
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- 1 cup tahini sesame seed paste (made from light colored seeds)
- 3/4 cup water, or more for consistency
- 3 cloves raw garlic (or 5 cloves roasted garlic)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced (optional)
- Grind tahini paste, water, lemon juice and garlic together in a food processor or blender till sauce is creamy and ivory-colored. Pause blending and use a long-handled spoon to break up the thick part of the sauce once every 30 seconds; this will keep it from clogging your processor or blender blades. After a few minutes of blending, sauce will turn into a rich, smooth paste. If mixture is too thick, slowly add more water until it reaches the preferred consistency. If using tahini to top hummus or a meat dish, keep it thick and creamy. As a condiment for pita or falafel, a more liquid sauce is usually preferred. Taste often during the blending process; add more lemon juice or salt, if desired.
- When you're happy with the sauce's flavor and consistency, pour it into a bowl. Stir in parsley (optional) till well combined, or garnish sauce with fresh parsley on top. Enjoy!