Tahini salad dressing is an easy, tangy and vegan way to dress up your greens, veggies and even protein. It is really simple to make – all you need is tahini, water, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, oregano and salt and pepper.
Have you ever eaten tahini? Even if you think you haven’t…you probably have. Tahini is the paste of ground up sesame seeds and it is traditionally a key ingredient in hummus. Almost like a nut-butter, tahini is creamy, smooth and very nutritious, being pretty high in calcium and iron as well as protein and fiber…and fat. Whatever! Tahini is not perfect.
I love to use tahini not only in this salad dressing but also to make some of my favourite desserts, like these double chocolate tahini cookies, and these amazing tahini honey cookies. Other savoury uses for tahini include using it for the lemon tahini sauce that I serve with these chickpea fritters.
Why I love this recipe
Often times, a healthy salad becomes unhealthy because it is topped with an unhealthy salad dressing. Not the case here! This is really a healthy salad dressing that contains no oil, and no sweetener. Despite this, it is full of flavour and makes any great salad even more wonderful.
I also appreciate how easy it is to make this dressing. Once you make your own, you will never feel the need to purchase premade salad dressings again. Making it yourself is cheaper, and you control exactly what goes into it.
When life gets busy and you just don’t have the time or energy to be in the kitchen for too long, you can throw some chopped up vegetables into a bowl, dress them with this tahini salad dressing, and call it a day. During periods of lent, or Orthodox fasting, this salad dressing is particularly handy because it is not only vegan, but it also does not contain any additional oil (the sesame seed paste will produce it’s own oil when crushed up however).
Tahini Ground up sesame seeds produce tahini! This is a great alternative for anyone who has peanut allergies; it is flavourful, nutritious and so versatile.
Water Regular tap water (filtered is best if you have it) works great in this recipe
Lemon juice I always use freshly squeezed lemon juice, especially in something like a vinaigrette. You can’t beat the flavour!
Red wine vinegar I like the flavour of red wine vinegar and the fact that the colour is muted enough to not really change the colour of your dressing.
Garlic Fresh garlic is a flavour bomb!
Dry oregano I rarely use fresh oregano – I find that the flavour of dry oregano just can’t be beat.
Salt & pepper The flavour staples!
How to make it
Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for approximately 15 minutes so that the flavours can blend. That’s it!
Instead of using red wine vinegar you can use white wine vinegar, white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar in equal amounts.
Instead of lemon juice you can opt for freshly squeezed lime juice.
How to handle tahini
Once you have opened your container of tahini for the first time, store the remainder in the refrigerator to keep it from going rancid. As with natural nut butters, when the tahini is cold it will be difficult to mix (sometimes the oil in the tahini will separate from the solids). If that happens simply set it on the counter for a few minutes so that you can mix it easily.
Frequently asked questions
What does tahini taste like?
If you taste tahini alone it may be a little bit bitter; it is certainly not sweet like many nut butters. When you combine the ingredients in this dressing recipe however, you will find that the flavours balance out. If the dressing is still too bitter for your liking, add a little more salt (salt will counteract bitterness…science) or, alternatively, add some honey or agave nectar to taste.
Can I make this dressing ahead of time?
You can! I often make this dressing and keep it in the refrigerator for up to one week. You just have to shake it up or re-whisk it a bit before you use it again.
For a richer dressing, add oil
In the recipe below there is no oil added. You can however choose to replace 1/2 of the water with Greek olive oil; therefore you would use 1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup Greek olive oil.
How to serve
This dressing is great drizzled on a green salad, but is equally delicious mixed into a bean salad, potato salad or even poured on top of grilled vegetables like grilled zucchini.
Maroulosalata The classic finely chopped Greek lettuce salad, with a lovely herb dressing.
Chickpea salad Filling, easy and so hearty. Love this chickpea salad.
Greek Horiatiki salad Often simply called a Greek salad, there is no lettuce here!
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Tahini salad dressing
- Salad dressing shaker or bowl
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
- Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside for approximately 15 minutes so that the flavours can blend.
- Use the tahini dressing in green salads, bean salads, or even roasted vegetables.
- The dressing will keep, well covered, for up to one week in the refrigerator. You may need to re-whisk it prior to using if it has been left untouched for a while.