Felicity Curtain


Tahini – so much more than a hummus staple


Hulled, unhulled, regular, black tahini… so many to try!

If you’re anything like me a couple of years ago, you probably have a solitary jar of tahini in the back of your cupboard, gathering dust after that one-time attempt at a home-made hummus.

This article got me thinking about tahini, and how for me, like the legendary chef Yotam Ottolenghi, it has gone from mystery ingredient, to pantry staple.

And with my dietitian hat on, it makes sense why. Tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds, is more than a multi-functional spread, but also… dare I say it… something of a ‘superfood’.

It’s an excellent source of plant-based protein, with around 5g in a tablespoon, or the same amount as in half a glass of milk. Speaking of milk, it’s also a smart way for dairy-avoiders to get some bone-loving calcium in, with around a tablespoon boasting around 1/5 of our daily requirements. As it’s from seeds, tahini is also packed with monounsaturated fats, a win for a healthy heart amongst other things. And add to that a good hit of fibre (around 15% of our daily needs), and a laundry list of vitamins and minerals, and it’s clear that tahini is good for so much more than adding flavour to our favourite dip.

But how can you use it? Arguably as diverse in its use as Greek yoghurt, tahini can play a star role in so many sweet or savoury dishes. The following are some of my favourite ways to use this under-rated ingredient:

  • As a porridge topper: Preferably combined with banana and peanut butter.
  • In an easy DIY caramel sauce: Like this quick and easy one from Heidi at Apples Under My Bed.
  • As a savoury sauce: in everything from meat and fish dishes, to warming winter salads. My favourite way to use it is with roast veggies, mixed with lemon juice, turmeric and warm water – similar to in this sweet potato Buddha bowl from Minimalist Baker.
  • An essential toast topping: Similarly with porridge, often with banana and peanut butter, or sometimes something crazy like strawberries and ricotta.
  • In sweet/savoury snacks: Nothing more delicious than fresh medjool dates, split open and stuffed with tahini.

tahini in porridge, the best part of winter!

Have I missed any? Probably, there are so many delicious ways to use tahini. So rather than saving it for your home-made hummus, give it a try in other areas of your cooking!

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