Weeknight Cooking

The Green Tahini Sauce to Have on Hand for a Week of Meals

February 28, 2016

On quiet weekend days, I love to prepare and stockpile food for the week ahead. But since I am also easily bored, I aim to create recipes that can take on different personalities throughout the week; today's sauce is tomorrow's marinade.

When I put together my book, Bon Appétit: The Food Lover's Cleanse, I made sure to include plenty of multitasking recipes that could be adapted for different applications throughout the week, like The Greenest Tahini Sauce.

Tahini practically glues my kitchen together. I love its nutty taste and its innate flexibility. At this time of year, when the budding trees and springy air have me craving fresh flavors (and the local asparagus hasn't yet made it to the market), I like to brighten the tahini up with an emerald combination of watercress and fresh herbs (if you can't find watercress, use spinach in its place).

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From there, I use it as a dip for vegetables, a sauce for fish or lamb, and a topping for eggs. I toss it with chicken for chicken salad and paint it on bread instead of mayonnaise.

Photo by James Ransom

If you make some of the green sauce, you can start the week elegantly with salmon, and then mix and match it with a few other components to suit your time frame and mood.

On Sunday, make:

And stock your kitchen with:

  • Onions
  • Celery
  • Canned white beans
  • Lemons, oranges, and grapefruit (it's citrus season!)
  • Milk, dairy or non-dairy
  • Butter lettuce or another type of green
  • Nuts, like pistachios and almonds, and dried fruit (I like apricots)

Mix and match your components throughout the week:

  1. Serve the salmon with a side of millet: Sweat sliced onion in olive oil (or take it a step further and caramelize), then toss with some of the millet to warm it through, and season with salt, a pinch of Aleppo pepper and some lemon zest.
  2. Start a day with breakfast millet. Warm cooked millet with milk (dairy or favorite non-dairy), orange zest, chopped dried apricots, toasted slivered almonds, and a wisp of orange flower water if you like it.
  3. Use Greenest Tahini Sauce as a marinade for chicken skewers (make extra skewers for a lunch the next day as well); serve with a white bean salad with radishes and fresh herbs (both left over from the sauce preparation), and the Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
  4. Flake some of the salmon into a salad with pink grapefruit, butter lettuce (or another leafy green), and Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
  5. For lunch or dinner, serve the roasted root vegetables with hard-cooked eggs and Greenest Tahini Sauce.
  6. Make a grain salad with millet, chopped roasted vegetables, pulled chicken, pistachios, parsley, and more vinaigrette.
  7. Warm up with a chunky soup. Sweat some minced onions and celery with olive oil or butter. If there is any green garlic at your market, add fine slivers of that, too. Add in chicken stock, remaining roasted vegetables, and millet.
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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Sara Dickerman is the author of Bon Appetit: The Food Lover's Cleanse and Dried and True, and her new book The Secret of Great Second Meals.