Tahini sauce (or what we call tahina in our house) goes with nearly everything, in my opinion. It’s perfect for roasted vegetables, for grilled meats, for sandwiches, spread on bread and topped with za’atar, as a base for hummus or mutabbal, or over a fresh salad. I’m going to show you how to make tahini / tahina sauce that your guests will fight over at the dinner table. I hadn’t thought about posting this, since it’s something I’m so used to making, but I had a few friends request my recipe / process, so I thought it might be helpful for others, too.
I’m going to sing my usual song of: your tahini sauce is only as good as the tahini you use. I hate to pick on Joyva, but it’s the most commonly found tahini in supermarkets in America and it’s also probably the worst. Whole Foods’ version similarly is pretty awful. Bad tahini tastes very bitter and unpleasant. I recommend using a tahini made from Ethiopian sesame (the best sesame in the world comes from there!), and I’ve always had great luck with Soom, Al Arz, Alwadi, Achva, or Seed+Mill.
This recipe calls for six cloves of garlic. This sounds like an awful lot, I know. But there’s a trick to infusing your tahina with garlic flavour with no bite. First we’re going to throw all six cloves, whole – into your food processor or blender, along with the juice of two lemons. Blitz them for a few seconds, until they essentially become a puree. Then let them sit there for fifteen minutes.
After fifteen minutes, you’re going to strain the garlic out (don’t throw this away! You can saute it and add to other recipes as you would any finely chopped garlic / garlic paste) using a mesh strainer, like so:
Now you want to rinse out your food processor or blender to make sure there’s no garlic pieces left, and pour the garlicky lemon juice back into the container. Add your tahini, your honey, and salt. Blend again, and it’ll form a thick paste:
Now you add your ice water. I used roughly a quarter cup here, but depending on the thickness of your tahini you may need more or less. Just keep adding water and blending until you have a thick, pourable sauce. Add additional salt to taste if needed, and voila! The perfect tahini sauce. I usually double this recipe as I use it throughout the week, but this is the perfect amount for 4-6 people. It will keep (in an airtight container in the fridge) for about a week.
The Perfect Tahini Sauce
- Food processor or blender
- 6 whole cloves fresh garlic
- juice of two lemons ¼ cup (60ml)
- ½ cup good tahina
- ½ tsp honey can be replaced with agave to ensure it is vegan
- ¼ cup ice water (60ml)
- ¼ tsp salt to taste
- Juice your lemons and peel your garlic cloves. Add to the bowl of your food processor or blender.
- Blitz the lemon juice and garlic until it forms a thick liquid. Leave to sit for 15 minutes.
- Pour the lemon garlic liquid through a mesh strainer, into a small bowl. (Use this pureed garlic for another recipe!)
- Rinse the bowl of your food processor and then return the lemon juice to the bowl. Add tahini, honey, and salt.
- Blend until it forms a thick paste, then add water, a tablespoon at a time, until you have a pourable tahini / tahina sauce.