Tahini Dressing, Two Ways

May  1, 2014

Every other Thursday, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Meet the mother sauces of vegan cooking. 

How to Make Tahini Dressing on Food52

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There’s something about the creamy texture of tahini -- coupled with its nutty, slightly bitter taste -- that makes for one killer dressing.  

And if you make it a little thicker, you can turn it into sauce. And if you make sauce, you’ll find that tahini is not only perfect for a salads and slaws, but also for warm bowls of simple, homemade fare. Some of my favorite combinations are: 

  • Sweet potato, toasted chickpeas, and steamed or sautéed kale
  • Soba noodles, steamed broccoli, grated carrots, and red cabbage
  • Brown rice, steamed greens, hijiki, black beans, and sesame seeds
  • Quinoa, raw marinated kale, and hemp seeds

How to Make Tahini Dressing

The possibilities are endless.

Today, I'm sharing two classic varieties of tahini dressing. One is inspired by Asian flavors (sesame, garlic, rice vinegar, and ginger), and the other is made with lemon and garlic. You can use either dressing for any purpose, but I like a thicker sesame tahini sauce over brown rice, and a thinner lemon tahini dressing over salads. 

Modify both dressings to suit your taste, and then think about all of the marvelous, mix-and-match bowls you can serve them over. 

Sesame Tahini Dressing

Makes 1 1/4 cups

1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

How to Make Tahini Dressing on Food52

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Makes 1 1/3 cups

1/2 cup tahini
2/3 to 3/4 cups water (as needed)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Black pepper, to taste

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Coulinjo April 2, 2015
I have made both of these over and over since reading this post. Amazingly tasty -and it feeks so GOOD eating it.
SeeSee May 20, 2014
Perfect! Tastes like the dressing on the HippyBowl at Chaco Canyon in Seattle.
Fogdweller May 20, 2014
Do you have a favorite tahini to recommend? I've tried a number (all costing dear prices) with a wide range of taste and texture and haven't yet found one I prefer.
Nptexas October 24, 2015
Maybe you won't get this reply to such an old post. I buy tahini at an Arab grocery store that caters to the middle eastern community. They cook with fresh mint, dill, parsley all the time, so all those items are much cheaper also. Good luck!
Anjanee S. May 5, 2014
I can't wait to try these recipes. The asian inspired one looks especially delicious!
je M. May 2, 2014
I recently fell in love with everything tahini. I used to find the taste bitter, but now I cannot get enough. Will keep these two recipes close.
Aura D. May 2, 2014
I love them both. Now can someone tell me where I can get jars like those in the pic?
je M. May 2, 2014
Those are weck canning jars. You can find them on amazon for sure. But a local kitchen store probably will have them too. And they are beautiful!
Nomnomnom May 1, 2014
Thank you for posting these dressing variations. I am looking forward to making both of them!
AntoniaJames May 1, 2014
Bet they'd both be terrific on grilled vegetables, which I'll be practically living on for the next 5 months. Excellent timing. ;o)
Debra G. May 1, 2014
OMG, these sound good!
Marian B. May 1, 2014
They are actually the best.
kitkat May 1, 2014
You actually read my mind. I was just wishing for a good tahini dressing recipe this morning

Kate N. May 1, 2014
How long will these keep in the fridge?
Gena H. May 1, 2014
Kate -- 5-7 days!
Marian B. May 1, 2014
These sauces, on top of a rice bowl, are my type of comfort food. Thanks for the reminder to keep them on hand at all times!