Tahini is added to mashed chick peas, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil to create this delectable Middle Eastern hummus dip.

Tahini is a rich, creamy paste made from ground sesame seeds and sesame oil. It's a staple in Middle Eastern cooking where it's commonly used to flavor sauces, dressings and appetizer spreads such as baba ghanoush and hummous. Also called sesame butter, tahini is similar to peanut butter, but thinner in consistency.

Varieties and Buying Tips

Tahini can be purchased at Middle Eastern markets and most supermarkets in jars or cans. It is available made from raw or roasted seeds, and in salted and unsalted varieties. While the ivory-colored Middle Eastern variety is the tahini of choice, you may also come across an Asian version with a darker brown color and stronger taste.

You can also make your own tahini recipe at home. The only ingredients needed are sesame seeds, salt and light sesame, peanut or vegetable oil.

Storage Tips

Tahini does not require refrigeration and it can be stored in a cool, dry place for long periods of time. Because tahini does not contain emulsifiers, the sesame oil may separate from the solid mixture. To remix it, turn the jar or can upside down for 30 minutes before using.

Usage Tips

• Tahini is best served at room temperature.

• Use it as a sandwich spread, appetizer spread or dip with pita chips and sliced carrots and celery.

• Mix it with onion, garlic or cayenne pepper seasonings to make a salad dressing.

• Spread it on toast in place of margarine or butter.

• Add it to dessert recipes calling for nut butters.

Substitution Tips

When tahini is not available, peanut butter can be substituted in most recipes.

Try one of our favorite tahini recipes:
Falafel Sandwiches
Spicy Cold Soba Noodles
Tahini Oatmeal Walnut Cookies