HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Tahini Question

I'm making a quasi greek/mediterrean inspired dinner tonight. Bought a container of tahini but it suddenly occured to me that I probably need to mix it up with water and other ingredients to make tahini sauce to go over the falafel I'm frying.

Is that so? I can't imagine that it's the straight tahini but there were no instructions on the container I purchased.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A simple sauce using tahini adds lemon juice, garlic and just enough water to smooth it out. Salt and a bit of olive oil are optional. Try to make this a few hours before use to let the garlic and lemon flavors meld with the tahini.

    1. Finely minced parsley can be a nice touch, too. One important note: when you add the lemon juice and water, you may find that the tahini siezes up and becomes super dense. Just keep adding a bit more liquid and stirring until it takes on the consistency you're after.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JRBlack

        We like a pinch of cayenne and a splash of red wine vinegar along with the lemon, garlic, salt, and oil. It's easy to make in a food processor. Put everything except water in the food processor. While the machine is running, stream in the water. In addition to being essential for falafel sandwiches, I also love tahini dressing on steamed brown rice and vegetables (and for that, I sometimes add ground cumin to the dressing. If I want an extra protein boost and creamier dressing, I add some crumbled up tofu). Yum!

      2. Thanks! Glad I posted this now, was planning on eating around 7ish.

        1. Since we're on the subject of Tahini, my question is: Is Trader Joe's Tahini Sauce the same thing as tahini paste? Most hummus recipes call for 'Tahini' or 'Tahini paste' and I am not sure what's what. In my local Safeway, they don't have anything along the lines of Tahini. I've only been able to find the sauce at Trader Joe's.
          Any advice you have is appreciated--as I've been wanting to make homemade hummus. Thank you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sadie76

            Pure tahini is essentially the sesame seed equivalent of peanut butter. I've never seen/purchased "Tahini Sauce" at TJ'S but if the TJ's Tahini Sauce has anything listed but sesame seeds, then it's not the same. (My instinct is that it isn't pure tahini, that it has oil or other ingredients added to make it pourable -- like a sauce.) You can buy tahini that's made from either raw sesame seeds or roasted sesame seeds. I get organic tahini at my co-op. You can buy it at Whole Foods or other health food stores, and some higher-end grocery stores that have a natural foods section. If you ask for it enough at your Safeway, they might start stocking it for you.

          2. Hi there, Thank you for the advice about the Tahini. Since I had already purchased the 'Tahini Sauce' from Trader Joe's, I gave it a try. The ingredients list on the container includes lemon juice (no oil), but it really was more of a spread/paste than a sauce. I used it for the hummus recipe in Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" and it turned out great! Thank you so much for the advice and encouragement!

            1. Made a sauce last night, didn't bother w/a recipe just used your suggestions above. Lemon juice, garlic, some olive oil, water, and parsely. Did it by hand, very easy and it was odd how it seized up, but did smooth out fast. Worked out great, DH said it tasted exactly as it should have. Only wish I'd made double the amount - I forgot how much he uses. I'm more a drizzler, but he really does pour it on :-)

              1. Nut butters (and chocolate) are made up of dry particulate matter immersed in oil. When you add a little liquid, the particules quickly absorb the water and seize up. As you continue to add liquid, though, the particules cease to absorb moisture and a sauce begins to form.

                And, from the tens of tahini dressing recipes I've come across, salt has never been optional. The use of raw garlic mandates salt.

                2 Replies
                1. re: scott123

                  Oh I forgot I used salt, quite a bit of it in fact :-)

                  1. re: scott123

                    When you have sodium-sensitive hypertension, omitting salt is mandatory. Taratour (a tahini sauce) is excellent without any salt.

                  2. I add some soy sauce to the tahini, oil, lemon juice and garlic and serve it as a dressing for steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chipotlegirl

                      That's a great idea, I've been wondering what other uses it has. Seems a shame to use it just for falafels. Can't wait to try that.