24 Delicious Tahini Recipes That Go Way Beyond Hummus

Tahini It May Concern: These Recipes Are Delicious!

Buddha Bowl

The Spruce Eats/Leah Maroney

It may be an ancient food, but tahini—also known as sesame paste—is enjoying a major renaissance right now. Fans of Middle Eastern food may know it best as the stuff they drizzle on falafel. But thanks to chefs like Yotam Ottolenghi and Einat Admony (not to mention countless food writers and bloggers) making creative use of tahini, it's clear that the possibilities are virtually endless.

If you know tahini only as an ingredient in hummus and baba ganoush dips, get ready to be amazed. We've rounded up the best tahini recipes you can make for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. You'll find new and creative ideas here for using tahini, including a healthy breakfast smoothie that tastes like a naughty treat, food truck-inspired sandwiches, work-from-home lunch bowls, heavenly halva ice cream, and of course, those popular party dips. Plus, for those with a DIY bent, we've included an easy recipe for making tahini from scratch.

Where to Get Top-Notch Tahini: Middle Eastern Markets, specialty grocers, and health food stores are good sources for tahini, but most supermarkets stock the ingredient now. You can typically find it with other Middle Eastern products, next to the peanut butter, or sometimes in the fridge area. A little oil separation is fine and proof that your tahini is all natural and free of emulsifiers. Simply stir it up when you're ready to use it to combine the oil and paste.

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    Homemade Tahini

    Homemade Tahini

    Julia_Sudnitskaya/Getty Images

    When tahini isn't easily available, or when you just feel like a fun and easy kitchen project, you can make your own tahini paste at home. It takes just minutes to whip up a restaurant-quality tahini sauce with a few scoops of sesame seeds, and some good-quality olive oil. It will keep up to 3 months in the fridge, stored in an air-tight container.

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    Turkish Tahini Helva

    Turkish Tahini Helva pieces

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

    Halvah is a scrumptious Middle Eastern confection with a similar texture to fudge, typically studded with crunchy nuts. It may seem like an exotic treat, but halvah is surprisingly easy to make at home in minutes, with just 4 ingredients, including tahini. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill, so you can eat it!

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    Tahini Noodles

    Tahini Noodles in a bowl with a fork

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

    Tahini on pasta might sound weird, but this tahini noodles recipe uses the sesame paste in a way that's strikingly similar to peanut sauce. Soy sauce, lemon, and honey add lots of flavor. Toss in whatever protein or veggies you like to bulk it up.

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    Vegan Tahini Goddess Dressing

    Vegan Tahini Goddess Dressing

    The Spruce/Diana Chistruga

    If you are missing green goddess dressing on a dairy-free diet, you'll love this easy fix. Our vegan goddess dressing uses tahini in place of the usual yogurt, for a creamy, nutty-tasting salad sauce. Lemon juice and parsley add brightness and a welcome, herbal flavor that tastes great over greens, coleslaw, and pasta salads.

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    Buddha Bowl

    Buddha Bowl

    The Spruce Eats/Leah Maroney

    Build a diveinely delicious, nutrient-packed vegan buddha bowl that will strike envy in your lunch companions. We've created the ultimate grain bowl with crispy tofu, quinoa, carrots, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, and crushed peanuts, all showered with a scrumptious peanut and tahini dressing.

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    Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

    Salted Chocolate Chip Tahini Cookies

    The Spruce / Tara Omidvar

    Just like peanut butter, tahini is an ideal match for chocolate. Add a little sugar and salt and you've got a treat to remember. The sesame seed paste helps keep these salted chocolate chip tahini cookies on the chewy side while adding just the right amount of nuttiness. Make a double batch and freeze some dough for later or bake them all if you're feeding a crowd.

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    Tahini and Milk Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

    Tahini and Milk Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

    The Spruce/Jessie Sheehan

    Similar to peanut butter, tahini pairs beautifully with the chewy texture and sweet, caramelized flavor of a classic Rice Krispie treat. It takes just 10 minutes on the stove-top to whip up a batch of these kid-pleasing, chocolate glazed treats. They make a great after-school snack, or lunchbox dessert.

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    Zucchini Baba Ganoush

    Zucchini Baba Ganoush

    Anita Schecter

    When zucchini is abundant in your summer garden, use it to make baba ghanoush. The popular Mediterranean dip is more commonly made with roasted eggplant, but our alternative version is ideal for those who don't like eggplant's bitterness. Enjoy it as part of a Greek mezze platter, or as an afternoon snack with pita bread triangles.

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    Halal Cart Chicken

    Halal Cart Chicken

    The Spruce/Anita Schecter

    Aromatic Halal cart chicken, seasoned with Middle Eastern spices, grilled to perfection, and served with yellow rice, is a popular food cart lunch in many big cities. Recreate the magic at home with our surprisingly easy recipe that uses budget-friendly boneless chicken thighs, dried pantry spices, and a delectable tahini sauce.

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    Banana Tahini Smoothie

    Banana Tahini Smoothie

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    If you love the flavor combination of bananas and peanut butter, just wait until you taste our delicious banana and tahini smoothie. It's an ideal recipe for anyone wishing to start their day with a nutritious, creamy breakfast drink, tastes like a milkshake, and is suitable for those avoiding peanut butter who can tolerate sesame seeds.

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    Beef Shawarma On Pita With Tahini Sauce

    Beef Shawarma On Pita With Tahini Sauce

    The Spruce

    Shawarma, a fantastic on-the-go meal of thinly sliced beef and crunchy salad veggies drizzled in tahini sauce, and wrapped in pita bread, is a true delight for fans of Middle Eastern food. Learn how to make it at home with our must-know copycat beef shawarma recipe that rivals food truck versions.

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    Falafel and Vegetable Kebabs With Tahini Sauce

    Falafel and Vegetable Kebabs With Tahini Sauce

    Anita Schecter

    Falafel kebabs are a fantastic cookout dish for those eating meatless. Our recipe skewers crispy, oven-baked falafel balls with colorful vegetables, and then grills them to perfection. Finished with a lemony tahini sauce, it is the perfect plant-based summer meal.

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    Hummus With Tahini

    Hummus With Tahini

    The Spruce

    One of the most popular ways to use tahini is to make hummus with tahini. The smooth and creamy dip is popular all over the world, and perfect for pairing with veggies, chips, or pita. Chickpeas, garlic, lemon, tahini, olive oil, and a food processor or blender are all you need, and you can add extras like spicy peppers or herbs to customize your hummus.

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    Halva Ice Cream

    Halva Ice Cream

    Anita Schecter

    When you need an exotic treat for summer dinner party guests, halva ice cream never fails to impress. It's a creamy frozen blend of vanilla ice cream ingredients, plus raw tahini, and crumbled Middle Eastern halva candy. Make it in an ice cream maker, topping bowls with chopped pistachio nuts.

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    Sabich Sandwich

    Sabich Sandwich

    Anita Schecter

    You've tried the falafel sandwich — now try the Middle Eastern region's other favorite sammie. The sabich sandwich is a delicious Iraqi-Israeli creation featuring fried eggplant, and hard-boiled eggs, stuffed into a pita pocket with crunchy salad veggies, hummus, tahini, and sweet mango sauce.

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    Banana Tahini Baked Oatmeal Cups

    Banana Tahini Baked Oatmeal Cups

    Anita Schecter

    Baked oatmeal cups are an inspired idea for busy weekday mornings. Portable, filling, chewy, and nutritious, with energy-boosting protein from tahini, they are a cinch to bake in muffin tins, and will fill your kitchen with a wonderful aroma. They freeze well ahead, for quick reheating anytime.

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    Tahini Roasted Cauliflower With Pepitas and Herbs

    Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Pepitas, and Herbs

    Brett Stevens/Getty Images

    If you're looking for an easy way to impress guests, serve this tahini roasted cauliflower with pepitas and herbs. The recipe may be dinner party-worthy, but that doesn't mean you can't make this easy recipe on a weeknight.

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    Tahini Cheesecake

    Tahini Cheesecake
    Anita Schecter

    Tahini's nuttiness and fat content make it a perfect ingredient in sweets, including cheesecake. Simple, but decadent, this tahini cheesecake has a light sesame flavor. Top with a drizzle of chocolate or caramel sauce, along with sprinkle of crushed halvah candy, a treat also make with sesame paste.

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    Kale and Golden Beet Salad

    Kale and Golden Beet Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing

    Stephanie Kirkos

    If you haven't figured out by now, tahini and lemon go together like, well, tahini and lemon (aka really, really well!). They make a dynamite dressing for this fresh this fresh kale and golden beet salad studded with roasted beets, golden raisins, and walnuts. Add a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds if you have them for fruity crunch.

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    Chickpea and Brussels Sprout Salad With Tahini Dressing

    Chickpea and Brussels Sprout Salad with Tahini Dressing
    Anita Schecter

    This chickpea and brussels sprout salad with tahini dressing is fresh but hearty, crunchy, and creamy, it's a satisfying main dish for lunch or a side dish for dinner.

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    Tahini Caper Salad Dressing

    Tahini Caper Salad Dressing

    Miri Rotkovitz

    Tahini works as both a flavor booster and a natural emulsifier in this tahini caper salad dressing. Served over greens, it makes a satisfyingly savory vegan alternative to Caesar dressing. It also works as a dip for crudites, a sauce for grilled fish or chicken, or a drizzle on sandwiches and wraps.

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    Spicy Tahini Kelp Noodles

    kelp noodles

    Kelp noodles are carb-free noodles made from seaweed with a mild taste and texture of al dente pasta. They’re a great option when you’re cutting carbs or going keto. A thick, bold sauce pairs perfectly with the noodles, so we tossed ours in a creamy tahini sauce with just the right amount of spice.

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    Kibe: Brazilian Beef Croquettes

    Kibe Brazilian beef croquettes

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

    Kibe (pronounced kee-bee) are football-shaped deep-fried croquettes of beef and bulgur wheat, seasoned with garlic, onions, mint, and cinnamon, and eaten as a snack in Brazil. The tahini sauce served on the side is a crucial part to enjoying this hearty snack or main.

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    Pasta Salad

    Pasta Salad With Spinach, Chickpeas, and Tahini

    Anita Schecter 

    Summer cookout season means lots of gatherings for potluck springs and cookouts. But it is the side dishes that are always a way to make the meals more interesting. This particular pasta salad gets a Middle Eastern flavor profile with the addition of chickpeas, za'atar and a touch of tahini in the vinaigrette. It thickened up the dressing and gave it a great nutty flavor.