Ingredient Profile: Tahini

 

Tahini is such a handy ingredient to have in your fridge. Its smooth, creamy and nutty.  Add it to dips, hummus and dressings, even drizzle it over banana for a tasty snack. This delicious paste is made from ground sesame seeds. The name comes from the Arabic word ‘Tahan’, meaning ‘to grind’. It has been a staple in Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean cuisines for centuries.

The sesame seeds are a rich source of beneficial minerals like copper, manganese and calcium. They are also a source of unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin that have shown to have cholesterol-lowering effect and can aid in preventing high blood pressure.

Tahini can be made with hulled or unhulled sesame seeds. The unhulled seeds are much darker and still have their hull or outer shell intact. Unhulled seeds make a slightly more bitter tahini that isn’t quite as smooth. You can buy tahini from your local grocer or online from here.

Or you can make it yourself for a fraction of the price. Here’s our recipe for tahini.

Tahini - makes around 1/2 a cup and will keep in your fridge for up to a month

1 Cup Sesame Seeds

¼ cup neutral oil e.g. grapeseed, canola or a light olive oil

Pinch of salt (optional)

Toast the sesame seeds (you can skip this step if you prefer to use raw seeds) in a dry saucepan over medium-low heat until they are very lightly coloured. Let the seeds cool.

Add the cooled or raw sesame seeds to your food-processor and process until a crumbly paste forms. Add the oil and salt and process until it is smooth (this will take a few minutes), stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor. You can alter the consistency by adding more oil.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a month. It can start to separate (like peanut butter does) If this happens, give it a good stir before using.

Enjoy in your dips, hummus and dressings!