Tahini is all the rage. Here are 7 ways to use it.

7 Recipes
Pasta and Herb Salad with tahini by Ali Slagle.
(Mark Weinberg)

Tahini, widely used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, is made from hulled sesame seeds that are toasted and ground.


Tahini seems to be everywhere. The condiment — a peanut butter-like paste made from hulled sesame seeds that are toasted and then ground — probably best known in the West as an ingredient in hummus and as the base for a namesake sauce commonly drizzled over a falafel sandwich. It is widely used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine for both savory and sweet dishes. Lately, the earthy, nutritious mash is lending its deep, nutty flavor to Western-style savory dishes and baked goods as well. It is particularly handy to use as a vegan substitute for both heavy cream and egg-based mayonnaise. These recipes offer different ways to use tahini.

Incorporating tahini into sweet baked goods was a game changer for me. Rich and chewy Tahini Shortbread Cookies are addictive. Just barely sweet — think mellow halva — the sesame flavor shines through the tender, crumbly shortbread making it impossible to eat just one. They are so popular that I always make a double batch.

Blended into the batter, tahini helps balance the sweetness of the chocolate in Gluten-Free Buckwheat Brownies With Tahini Whipped Cream. Almost mousse-like, the whipped cream adds an extra layer of creaminess to the fudgy brownies (though they are pretty spectacular without it, too). This is one gluten-free treat that even devotees of glutinous products will not refuse.


Turmeric lends a bright, golden hue to the tahini sauce in Tofu Bowls With Avocado, Cabbage and Turmeric Tahini, making for a flavorful dressing that complements the citrusy cabbage and creamy avocado. Good as a side dish or a vegetarian main course, Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Spicy Tahini Sauce makes a stunning presentation and the lemony tahini sauce is packed with flavor that complements the smoky cauliflower.

Tahini-Herb Pasta Salad swaps tahini for heavy cream. Completely plant-based and teeming with fresh herbs, this is a flavorful, easy dish that will please carnivores and vegans alike.

Bonus: If you’re picnicking on a sunny day, it will leave your pasta salad less susceptible to spoiling than with a mayonnaise or cream-based dressing.

A Green Tahini Sauce is a colorful change from beige-ish aioli, which was the inspiration for this vegan stand-in for the egg-yolk-based condiment. Served as a dipping sauce with crudites or roasted veggies, it makes a wonderful appetizer or main course.


Of course, we must pay homage to the classic use of tahini in hummus. It enhances the flavor and creaminess of the deservedly well-loved chickpea puree. Most often served with pita bread as an appetizer, Hummus Tehina also makes a great sandwich spread and accompaniment to grilled meats and veggies.

Tofu Bowls With Avocado, Cabbage and Turmeric Tahini

Simply seasoned tofu adds heft to this easy grain bowl tricked out with avocado, turmeric-spiced tahini and chile crisp.
Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Tahini shortbread cookies

Soft and chewy, with a rich, nutty flavor and just the right hint of sweetness, these tahini shortbread cookies were one of the five favorites from the Los Angeles Times seventh Holiday Cookie Bake-Off.
Time40 minutes
YieldsMakes about 3 ½ dozen cookies

Hummus tehina

What makes this hummus is that it’s very tehina-rich.
Time2 hours 15 minutes
YieldsMakes a generous 3 cups hummus

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Spicy Tahini Sauce

This whole roasted cauliflower is charred, then drenched in a bright lemon-tahini sauce, making it the perfect veggie main or side dish.
Time1 hour 30 minutes, largely unattended
YieldsServes 2 to 4

Tahini-Herb Pasta Salad

Tahini forms the creamy base for a chickpea pasta teeming with fresh herbs.
Time30 minutes
YieldsServes 4

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Brownies With Tahini Whipped Cream

The bitterness from the tahini, cacao nibs and buckwheat flour helps balance the sweetness of the brownies so that they eat like a chewy bar of high-quality chocolate.
Time45 minutes
YieldsMakes 12 to 16 brownies

Green tahini sauce

This pale green herb-and-garlic-flavored tahini sauce gives a Middle Eastern twist to this great vegan stand-in for egg-yolk-based aioli.
Time15 minutes
YieldsMakes a generous cup