Tahini 101

September 03, 2018

Tahini 101

Tahini is a multi-faceted condiment that has become a fridge staple and has  become incredibly trendy! We use it VERY often in meal prep dressing, sauces and marinades because of it's ability to thicken, season, richen anything it touches. 

It also perfect straight up as a dip for crudités and can even make a killer dessert as we learned from our visit to Seed and Mill. Once you have mastered this super simple dip it will become a staple in your home as well!

Basic Tahini


1⁄2 C whole tahini paste

1⁄4 - 1⁄2 C water

2 tablespoons- 1⁄4 C fresh lemon juice

1⁄2 C finely chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste


You can make this recipe in a bowl using an emersion blender, or in your food processor. Always taste as you go! Often

times tahini paste will taste different depending on where the seeds were

grown, so taste it to make sure you have the balance right.

Place tahini paste, 1⁄4 C of water, and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a bowl

and blend. Add salt, and blend. Now alternatingly, add small amounts of

water and lemon juice, blending as you go, to thin out the paste without it

becoming too lemony (the exact amount might differ depending on the tahini

paste you have). Top with parsley

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 9.51.01 PM

And now for the history lesson and the science of  sesame and tahini...

The sesame seed is a plant originating in Africa, which migrated to India, and the

Middle-East, and then Asia. Sesame is used in so many different recipes, ranging

from savory, to sweet, to spicy. People use it for its diversity both in recipes and

nutritionally. 1 tablespoon has just over 1.5 grams of protein and 8% of your daily

dose of calcium (got tahini?).

You may have seen different types of sesame seeds and tahini (or sesame)

pastes around, so let’s go through some of the common ones.

Unhulled sesame seeds are just that- the shells that the seeds grow in have not been taken off.

Think of it kind of like whole wheat. Hulled sesame seeds are when the outer shell

that the seed grows in has been removed leaving us with beautiful white sesame seeds.

Black sesame seeds are another type of sesame seed that grows on the same plant as

the white seeds. If you cut a black sesame seed in half (trust me on this) the very center is

white. That is because the black is the outer shell, so these are unhulled seeds. Black seeds

have a stronger sesame and more nutty taste than white seeds.

Tahini is sesame paste. There are different methods of crushing the seeds. The traditional

Israeli way is between two stones, similar to a flour mill. Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 9.48.41 PM.png


Tahini paste can be found in white, and whole varieties. I like to make my tahini

dip with the whole tahini variety because I like the taste better and the nutrients

found in the whole seeds that are not in the hulled seeds (think whole wheat vs

white wheat). And the test kitchen has been playing around with making black

tahini (yumm), but that is still a work in progress.


Tahini and sesame seeds are super versatile. Seeds can be used in cookies,

breads, the center of a dish (like sesame chicken), or as a garnish for dishes and

salads. There's a reason tahini is the new kale!