Is tahini vegan? How to get the most out of this Middle Eastern classic

Thousands of years ago, in the Sunda Islands of Indonesia, people started farming Indian sesame Plant for the first time. The plant’s long slender stems produce white, purple and blue flowers, but while undoubtedly beautiful, these are not where the plant’s true value lies. Over time, these flowers turn into capsules, providing a container for one of the world’s oldest crops: the sesame seed.

Crunchy, nutty, and slightly sweet, sesame seeds are famous for their appearance on hamburger buns. But they are incredibly versatile and can be used in many different ways. as Indian sesame The plant now grows across the continent, with sesame seeds used in many traditional recipes. And in the Middle East, they form the basis of tahini.

With a market worth over 1.2 billion, tahini is now a worldwide favorite. But what is it actually? And what is the best way to use it? We’ve got all the information you need (and of course the recipe).

What is tahini?

To make tahini, sesame seeds are soaked, crushed and (often, but not always) ground before being toasted and ground into a paste. It can be used on its own as a salad dressing, dip, or sauce base, but it’s also a key ingredient in two other Middle Eastern classics: baba ghanush and hummus. To make the former, it is mixed with eggplant as well as olive oil, garlic, salt and lemon juice. The recipe for hummus is very similar, but the eggplant is replaced with chickpeas.


Is tahini vegan?

Because it is made from sesame seeds, which must come from a plant and not an animal, tahini is vegetarian. It’s as simple as that. That said, store-bought versions sometimes have other ingredients added, such as oil and salt. But it’s rare that any ingredients of animal origin will make their way into a recipe!

Tahini nutrition

With its sweet, nutty flavor and creamy texture, tahini is undoubtedly a delicious vegetarian addition to most recipes. But it’s also pretty good for you. That’s because, like most seed- and nut-based butters and dips, it’s rich in heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats. In fact, 100 grams of tahini contains about 24 grams of monounsaturated fat. In addition, it is a source of fiber, vitamin B6, protein, vitamin B1, phosphorus, manganese and lignan (the latter is a polyphenolic plant-based compound associated with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity in the human body).

How do you use tahini?

Tahini is incredibly versatile. If you’re in a hurry, or you just want a simple snack, you can spread it on toast or use it as a dip for carrots or breadsticks. It’s also delicious as a salad or baked potato dressing, or you can serve it with a main dish. It complements a variety of ingredients including falafel, tofu, roast potatoes, mushrooms and more. But there’s no rule that says tahini can only be enjoyed in savory dishes. It’s a great, creamy addition to smoothies, desserts, and even baked goods.

To inspire you, here we’ve collected some of our favorite ways to serve tahini, all of which show just how versatile this creamy Middle Eastern paste can be.

Vegan Tahini Recipe

VegNews.KaleCaesar.AshleyMaddenAshley Madden

1 Tahini Caesar Salad with Smoked Chickpeas

The tahini-based dressing in this recipe takes an already-delicious vegan Caesar salad—served with crunchy chickpeas and vegan bacon bits—to the next level, thanks to its nutty, creamy, velvety texture.
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VegNews.SweetPotatoTahiniBrowniesCharlotte Martin

2 Sweet Potato and Tahini Chocolate Chip Brownies

When you think of delicious, indulgent chocolate chip brownies, it’s impossible not to imagine sweet potatoes and tahini on the ingredient list. But not only do these two ingredients combine to create a deliciously bitter, sweet and nutty flavor profile, but they also contain a secret dose of nutrition.
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VegNews.TahiniCoffeeShakeSo vegan

3 Tahini Coffee Shake with Dark Chocolate

When we were kids, most of us wanted our milkshakes to be as sickly sweet and sugary as possible. As we age, our tastes and food preferences tend to change, but that doesn’t mean depriving ourselves of a shake. This tahini, coffee and dark chocolate shake is one for adults: it’s just the right combination of rich, smooth, velvety, creamy and indulgent.
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VegNews.TahinichocolatechipcookiesCarleigh Bodrug

4 Salted Tahini-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Again, tahini seems like an unusual addition to a cookie recipe. But stay with us. Just like butter or margarine, it’s easy to mix and blend during the baking process, and in the end result, its delicious, nutty, slightly bitter flavor shines through.
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VegNews.SunflowerTahiniAlfredo.CarynCarruthersCaryn Jean Carruthers

5 Sunflower Tahini Alfredo Sauce

If you’re in the mood for some creamy pasta, there are a few different ways to achieve the right velvety sauce texture. You can of course use cashews, or you can use a soft cream cheese as a base. But another unique and nutritious option is tahini combined with raw sunflower kernels.
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VegNews.Banana-TahiniChia PuddingCaryn Jean Carruthers

6 Banana Tahini Chia Pudding

After a savory meal, it’s always a pleasure to finish with something sweet for the taste buds. This banana, tahini chia pudding is a great way to end a meal. But it’s a delicious, nutritious way to start the day. Do all your preparations the evening before, so that when you wake up, all you have to do is eat and enjoy.
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VegNews.VeganAutumnHarvestBowlswithTahiniA green planet

7 Autumn Harvest Bowl with Tahini Dressing

Fall is a great vegetable season. Some of the tastiest, most nutritious vegetables are harvested before the end of the year, like Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. To celebrate the deliciousness of this produce, toss it together in an autumn harvest bowl with a creamy tahini dressing to finish.
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VegNews.PerfectFalafelPocketsTim Atkins

8 Perfect Vegan Falafel Pita Pockets with Tahini Sauce

For the ultimate celebration of Middle Eastern flavors, combine falafel with tahini sauce (which probably originated in Egypt) and delicious vegetables in a warm, filling pita sandwich.
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To know more about vegetarian dressings and spices, read:

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