Tahini

18 January 2023

Take hulled sesame seeds, toast, and grind them into a paste and you have a delicious concoction known as Tahini.  It is the primary ingredient in hummus, baba ghanous, and halva and can be found in many dishes served through the Mediterranean, Caucasus, and North Africa.  It is nutty in flavor and creamy in texture with just a touch of bitter.

It can be used as a substitute for nut butter, sesame oil, and even Greek yogurt.  Try drizzling it over fruit or as a marinade for chicken.  Consider it as a condiment over rice or noodles.  In fact, we have given you the recipe for that sauce.  Don’t think of it as only savory, though.  Read on to see how it can be used in baking.

Tahini-Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

Whisk tahini, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano in bowl until combined. Slowly whisk in melted butter until emulsified.

Tahini-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ⅛ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Directions:

  • Cream butter, brown sugar, and white sugar in a bowl until fluffy. Beat in tahini. Add eggs and vanilla extract and continue to beat an additional 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just combined. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Cover and refrigerate dough overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Scoop out cookies into 1-inch balls and place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until edges start to brown lightly, 12 to 15 minutes.

Roasted Carrot and Tahini Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and cut 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ½ teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Combine carrots, onion, and garlic in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread vegetables evenly on a lined baking sheet.
  • Roast in the preheated oven until lightly browned and soft, about 25 minutes.
  • Combine 2 cups vegetable broth with half of the cooked vegetables in a blender (or place in a large sauce pan over medium heat and use an immersion blender). Puree until smooth and pour into a large saucepan over medium heat. Puree remaining broth and vegetables with tahini; pour into the saucepan.
  • Add curry powder, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom to the vegetable puree. Stir until warm. Stir in heavy cream and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Baked Sweet Potato with Lentils

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 small white or yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste, or 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups firmly packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, optional
  • ½ cup Lemon Tahini Sauce (see below)
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Bake sweet potatoes
  • Meanwhile, cook the lentils according to the package instructions. Drain well.
  • Dice onion. and mince garlic.
  • Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the seeds start to pop. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender and translucent. Add  garlic and tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Decrease the heat to low and stir in the lentils, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, harissa, and salt, then stir in the spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted, adding water by the quarter cup, if needed, to prevent sticking (about 1 to 2 minutes). Stir in the pomegranate molasses,. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  • Make the Lemon Tahini Sauce.
  • Use a fork to coarsely mash the flesh of the sweet potatoes, still in the skin. Place two halves on each serving plate and top them with a generous scoop of the lentils. Serve with a drizzle of the tahini sauce and torn cilantro leaves.

 

Lemon Tahini Sauce

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice (2 small or 1 ½ large lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, maple syrup, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add  water and whisk until a light and creamy dressing forms; add a little more water as necessary depending on the consistency of your tahini.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before serving. Extra dressing keeps for about 1 month in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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