If your diet is predominantly vegan, vegetarian or raw, there’s no doubt you’ve seen tahini in the ingredient list of many recipes. If you have no clue what it is, how to use it or how to make it, you’ve come to the right place. Traditional tahini is a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds. It’s very popular in Middle Eastern dishes such as hummus and falafel, and serves as an excellent base for dressings and creamy sauces. For many vegans, it’s a dream come true.
If you decide to use it, you’ll come to discover that not only is it delicious and nutritious, it’s also expensive. Since I use it regularly, I decided it was time to figure out how to make it on my own. This way I save a few bucks, and I know there is nothing else in there other than sesame seeds. To my surprise, it was much easier to make than I expected–all I needed were the right tools. Now, I’m tickled pink that I always have a stash in the fridge I can use on a whim, at half the cost of what I would pay at my health food store.
Raw Tahini vs. Roasted Tahini
Sesame seeds are high in minerals such as calcium, zinc and manganese. They also contain adequate quantities of thiamin and B6. When ground into a paste, these vital nutrients are much easier to absorb and assimilate. Most tahini you buy in the store however, is made from roasted sesame seeds. Roasting the seeds destroys much of the nutrients, and causes the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to oxidize. This is why I prefer tahini made from raw sesame seeds. I don’t find any difference in taste, and who wants to go the extra step of roasting them? Just use raw!
My secret weapon in this case was a food processor. However, I’m sure you can make tahini with a Vita Mix too!
2 cups hulled sesame seeds, raw (cost $5.50)
I added 2 cups of raw, hulled sesame seeds, flipped on the switch and let it go. After a few minutes, I added a little EVOO. I cannot remember the exact measurement, but it wasn’t too much.
After several minutes the seeds start to break down, and you’ll see large dough-like clumps start to develop. Simply turn off the machine and scrape the sides of the processor and continue. You will need to do this several times.
Eventually, almost magically, you’ll start to see the dough-like balls begin to liquify. Stop the processor and check the texture. It should be a little gritty. Scrape the sides once more, and continue to blend for several more minutes. Once the texture is smooth, you’re done!
Add the tahini to an air-tight jar and store in the fridge. It should last for a few weeks or so.
Like I said before, tahini is versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes. Check out my Cilantro Lime Slaw and Cilantro Lime Dressing. Yummers!
There you have it. Easy peasy tahini. Do you have a unique way to make tahini? Any secret weapons? If so, please share in the comments section below. And as always, if you enjoyed this post and would like more recipes like this, please join me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.