Even if you’ve never heard of tahini, chances are you’ve eaten it. More than just a necessary ingredient of every good hummus recipe, tahini is the tasty sauce served alongside your favorite falafel. When you can’t figure out what is making that salad dressing so creamy and umami, it’s likely tahini. And those are just a few of the dishes where tahini shows up. So, what is it, and how can you make Tasty Tahini for yourself?
Tahini, sometimes called sesame paste, has an interesting history which dates back to the 13th century. After starting in Persia, it has traveled the world and today can be found in the cuisine of Israel, all Middle Eastern countries, China, Japan, Iran, Turkey, Korea, and many African countries. Everyone seems to know how delicious and nutritious it is.
Originally only available to the wealthy who could afford the ingredients, at one time it was used as currency. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was said to have recommended sesame for its nutritional value. India’s traditional medicine does the same. Turkish pilots in World War II were thought to be superior physically and mentally to their counterparts from other countries because of their daily diet of tahini.
Tahini began to first appear in American health food stores in the 1940s and is available just about everywhere today.
However, making your own is both easy and more affordable than store bought versions. The recipe is simple.
1 cup sesame seeds
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
In a dry saucepan toast the sesame seeds at low heat. Stir the seeds constantly for 3 – 5 minutes until just slightly colored. Do not allow seeds to become too brown.
Remove seeds from pan and allow them to cool before transferring to the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute until a crumbly paste consistency is reached.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and process for 2 – 3 minutes. Stop processing and scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor bowl. Repeat the process, this time just adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil. The consistency should be smooth and pourable. If not, add the additional tablespoon of oil and repeat the process, processing for a longer period of time if necessary.
Once desired consistency is achieved, you can salt to taste if desired.
Like peanut butter, tahini will separate once stored in the refrigerator. Simply stir before using. It will last, covered in the refrigerator, for up to one month.
Your tahini is ready to enjoy! A quick search of the internet will reveal a world of tahini recipes for this versatile, nutritional powerhouse. Everything from soups, salad dressings, main dishes, baked goods, meats, pastas and, yes, even desserts, call for tahini. You can start with these 100 Year Lifestyle recipes: Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Lemon Cashew-Tahini Tomato Sauce, Quinoa & Avocado Cleansing Bowl with Lemon Tahini Sauce, Spiced Chicken Dinner Bowl with Tahini Dressing, and Easy, Authentic Hummus.
You can also just spread Tasty Tahini on your morning toast! Enjoy!