From the Middle East To Beyond: The Many Uses of Tahinin
In the Middle East, tahini is viewed more as a utilitarian building block than a sophisticated condiment – like how we would use butter or mayonnaise. In fact, it is referred to as the “butter of the Middle East”, adding a denseness to both savory and sweet dishes (like ‘halva’) alike.
Though it might not be thought of as widely used as ketchup or mustard, tahini contains a versatility and richness of flavor that can be a wonderful addition in many contexts.
Though familiar in Lebanese, Turkish, & Armenian cuisines, tahini has uses that can go far beyond what is typically offered. The list below contains many general ideas on how to utilize this magical sauce. For greater detail, just do a search to find a variety of recipes available across the internet.
Spreads & Alternative to Peanut Butter: Just as addicting…
- In Greece, it is common to spread tahini on toast with honey or jam for breakfast
- Tahini & Jelly Sandwich: swap out the classic peanut butter layer with tahini or mix it up further with date molasses instead of traditional jam
- Just like you would with other nut butters, smear some tahini onto toasted bread along with raw honey or berries.
Meat & Sauce: Ladle it onto any variety of meats or fish
Fish Sauce: drizzle after cooking or use it in the cooking process as seen below:
- Coat fish in tahini and roast like a fish fillet. Sally Swift from “Splendid Table” suggests this very thing:
“It sort of has a similar effect to baking fish in salt. It creates a crust, and the only difference is that this is a crust that you can eat. It gets a little bit charred around the edges and it hardens up a little, and it has the effect of keeping all of the juices and moisture inside of the fish.”
Asian Noodle Sauce: meld together with ginger, garlic, and water
Salad dressing: by itself or blended
- Pair it with quinoa, or tofu or heartier salads
Pasta salad: replace the mayonnaise, tahini coats and flavors like a champ
Baking: Add depth to a variety of baked goods – quick breads, blondies, or cookies
- Pouring tahini into cakes and brownies creates neat swirling patterns with a nutty flavor
- Baking into cookies is somewhat similar to using peanut butter but also a little different
Dipping: a quick, ready-made dip for almost anything
- Raw Veggies/Crudité Platter
Soup (hot or cold): stir into soup as a thickener
Smoothies: tahini does a wonderful job of adding thickness to smoothies
- Here’s another replacement for peanut butter: add tahini and banana, cinnamon and nutmeg, maybe with some berries on dates for a little more sweetness.
- It’s got protein
Curries, sautees, & stews: again, the creaminess cannot be denied, nor its subtle roasted flavor
Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt: it can be a great to drizzle over ice cream – it kind of freezes of a little like “Magic Shell”, except a whole lot healthier