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Tahini substitute

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I have a recipe that calls for a small amount of tahini, an ingredient I never use. Is there any way I can make up something that will give the same taste? I've found sites that suggest peanut butter, but I can't imagine that being satisfactory.

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  1. Any nut butter would suffice, I believe. But, if you never use tahini, you might never use any other nut butters, so you may as well buy some tahini. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass here...I've also heard of using peanut butter.

    1. I can't imagine peanut butter would be satisfactory, either. Tahini is a fairly neutral tasting paste, any peanut butter I've ever had is quite strong flavoured and would likely overpower the taste of whatever middle eastern food you're making. Of course if you're looking to create middle eastern-thai fusion it might be interesting ;-)

      1. I have used toasted Sesame Seed oil in place of tahini.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Alan408

          And if you have sesame seeds on hand (better if non-toasted), you can grind them up to use as tahini as well.

        2. It depends on what you're making. I've made hummus many times with natural peanut butter, and while it doesn't taste like it does when made with tahini, it's still delicious. Just different. Just don't use Skippy or Jif or whatever, use one that's made only of peanuts and salt.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Buckethead

            Thanks so much!!! I wanted to make hummus for an event tonight and all the stores were closed because it is a holiday so I couldn't buy that 'tahini' stuff! You saved my butt :)

          2. if you have a food co-op (natural foods store) near you, you may bring in your own container & buy the tahini by weight. just get exactly the amount for the recipe-- no waste. stock up on bulk spices, rice, grains, pasta, etc while you're there.

            1. I would suggest investing in the tahini because I think its flavor and texture do make a difference in recipes- but if you are totally opposed then I'd second the suggestion of another nut butter- organic, sugar free, no frills.
              If you like hummus you can use the rest of the jar of tahini for that so it doesn't go to waste- or give it to a friend that uses it.

              1. I would try equal amounts of natural PB for body anda few drops of sesame oil for flavour - works in pinch for hummus.....

                1. Depending on how small the amount it, I would either sub in sesame oil (or ground sesame seeds) or do a combination of sesame oil and natural peanut butter. If you need so much tahini in the recipe that you think peanut butter would make a big difference in flavor, then I would splurge and buy the tahini. You can always keep it in the freezer until you use it again.

                  I make hummus quite often and I still haven't purchased a tub of tahini...

                  1. It really depends what you cook it with. I've used Skippy in place of sesame paste when I cooked eggplant and it worked fine. What are you trying to make?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: designerboy01

                      It's a chicken recipe from Cooking light - marinated chicken on pita bread with a yogurt sauce, kind of like tzatziki - I bought the greek yogurt but the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of tahini. It sounds like the sesame oil will do the job.

                      1. re: eimac

                        I would just leave out the tahini (and tahini subs) altogether for that recipe. Toasted sesame oil gives you a very different flavor.

                        Just chop a little bit of garlic, lightly ground pan toasted cumin seeds if you have any on hand, and / or chop in some cucumber. The add a small drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

                        I make tahini yogurt sauce frequently, but when it needs to be low fat, I go with the above version.

                        1. re: eimac

                          I agree with cimui either leave it out or get some Tahini. Sesame oil will not be the same and it will function differently in that recipe.

                          1. re: designerboy01

                            were you making shawarmas? because i also decided not to use tahini instead i used some oil and spices

                      2. if the recipe requires you to grind, use sesame oil and sesame seeds. tahini is made from untoasted seeds, so there will be a difference in flavor. but i actually think the oil plus sesames tastes better because i like the stronger taste from the oil. you can briefly roast the seeds or fry them in the sesame oil. i think this would come out closer to the target flavor than using peanut butter.

                        1. I usually keep tahini in the house, but I ran out when I needed some. I subbed peanut butter and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I think sesame oil has far to intense a flavor to sub for it's cousin tahini. I think I was making hummus, but I might have been making cold sesame noodles.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ballulah

                            I agree, I've made cold sesame noodles with skippy's and it turned out pretty good.

                            1. re: ballulah

                              I agree. I just used reduced fat Skippy instead of the tahini to make fresh roasted red pepper hummus. The more mild flavor of the reduced fat version was very close to using actual tahini.

                            2. I have purchased tahini before, but I also don't really use it.

                              I use hemp seeds a lot because they are healthy and taste so good. It would be a great substitute if you can blend them up with some olive oil to form a butter. Macademia nuts are also a good, neutral nut.

                              There's a good possibility that you don't have these in on hand either, but if you're looking for an ingredient that you will use, hemp seeds are the way to go. Good source of healthy fats and protein, and perfect for soups and salads.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: MissEElizabeth

                                MissEElizabeth, where do you buy your hemp seeds? Thanks.

                                1. re: nyurbiz

                                  Hi nyurbiz,

                                  I get mine at Planet Organic, a larger organic grocery store in Alberta, Canada. If you can't find them at a grocery store near you, it might be better to look online to order some. It's worth it!!

                                  1. re: MissEElizabeth

                                    Sorry, I should clarify that I purchase the hemp seed nut, which is shelled hemp seed. I wouldn't know what to do with them if they weren't already shelled. Here's a pic of the ones I have purchased.


                                    You may want to look around for an online store in your country.

                                    1. re: MissEElizabeth

                                      Miss EE, I will first look around locally to see what I can find. Thank you for your responses.