Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is a traditional sauce that is served in Israel and in Arab countries throughout the Middle East. The sauce is used as a dip to accompany dishes like hummus, falafel, and baba ganoush. It can also be served alongside a kosher meat meal as a dairy-free alternative to cream sauce. Cool, right?
Tahini is absolutely easy to make. All you need are sesame seeds, grape-seed or olive oil and a food processor. Told you it wasn’t complicated.
You can make homemade tahini from any kind of sesame seeds. You could use unhulled, natural, hulled, raw, sprouted, or toasted sesame seeds. The thing is each variety has a different flavor, color, and texture that it adds to the tahini. The tahini you buy from stores is usually made from white hulled sesame seeds- they make the tahini lighter in color and smoother in texture. But, when you make tahini from unhulled or natural sesame seeds or even raw, sprouted, or toasted sesame seeds, the flavor is more potent, you have more nutrients, and it’s less smooth. You could try toasting the sesame seeds too.
Can I Make Tahini Without Oil?
Yes, you can. However, the tahini is going to take longer to grind and give you a less creamy than usual result. So, I’d advice you start with a couple of tablespoons of oil and increase as desired for thinner consistency.
For the best flavor use a mild olive oil, a neutral oil such as grape-seed oil, and/or a small amount of sesame oil.
To Make Tahini;
Many tahini recipes call for grinding the sesame seeds and oil together all at once. I have found that grinding the seeds before adding the oil produces a smoother result.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C), and arrange sesame seeds on a bare baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown (being careful not to burn).
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then add to a food processor and blend until smooth, adding 1-2 Tablespoons grape-seed or olive oil to encourage blending. The amount of oil you need will depend on the freshness of your sesame seeds and the power of your food processor.
- Scoop into a jar or sealed container and store in the refrigerator up to 3-4 weeks.
- Add tahini to your favorite salad dressings, humus, sauces, falafel, and more.
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