This is the one thing your fridge should never be without. Served with many dishes as a dressing or condiment, it’s the ideal snack with a warm pita or cut-up vegetables. Called salat techina (tahini salad) in Hebrew, this recipe comes together in minutes. The ice water is really important here; it helps the tahini fluff up and remain that way, even after a day or two in the fridge. If the tahini thickens a little too much for your liking, just incorporate some water or lemon juice to return it to the texture you love.
There are also variations below for making gorgeous colored tahinis and easy toppings that also happen to taste great. Make them all for a rainbow spread of salatim, or choose the one to suit your mood.
The golden variety takes on the dusky, earthy notes of the turmeric; the pink tahini is mildly sweet thanks to cooked beets; the green tahini is a riot of herbs you can improvise based on what you’ve got in the house; and the charcoal-gray tahini, speckled with little bits of charred eggplant skin (waste not, want not), is positively addictive—rarely has something so gray tasted so great.
- Prep Time
- 2 cupsServings
Basic Tahini Sauce
- 1 cup pure tahini paste
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¾ cup ice water, plus more if necessary
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Basic Tahini Sauce
- ¾ cup chopped cooked beets
- Topping (optional): ½ cup thinly sliced assorted radishes, extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, and nigella seeds
Basic Tahini Sauce
1. Place the tahini and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. With the processor running, add the water in a slow stream and process until the tahini is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
2. Add the lemon juice and the salt and process 30 more seconds. Stop the processor, taste the tahini, and add additional salt and lemon juice to taste. Stored in the fridge, tahini keeps for up to 1 week. When you take it out of the fridge, thin it with water or lemon juice and season with salt to brighten it up.
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add ¾ cup chopped cooked beets to the Basic Tahini Sauce and process until smooth; add a bit more if needed to achieve desired color. Chill until ready to use.
Topping: Shredded Radish and Nigella Salad (Active/Total Time: 10 minutes)
Toss ½ cup thinly sliced assorted radishes with 1 tablespoon each extra-virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Spread 1 cup of the tahini on a plate, top with the radishes, and sprinkle with nigella seeds. Drizzle with more oil.