Have you heard a lot about Tahini but have never really dived into using it because you had no clue what it was, what it would taste like and what on earth the difference is between hulled and unhulled tahini? That was me… It was always in our fridge but I never knew what to do with it and the smell always put me off because it’s very unique and has quite a bitter and strong flavour profile. But considering it seems to be such a highly consumed food in middle eastern communities and within vegan communities, I thought I would do some research because I love middle eastern food and I am currently trialling a vegan/vegetarian diet.
Firstly, the difference between hulled and unhulled tahini. Hulled tahini is the sesame seed without the husk, stripping it of quite a lot of nutrients, whereas unhulled tahini keeps the husk, maintaining its nutrient profile. For example, one tablespoon of unhulled sesame seeds contains about 88 milligrams of calcium, while the same of hulled sesame seeds contains about 5-10 milligrams. So thats pretty huge! The taste of unhulled tahini is much richer and slightly bitter than hulled tahini but both are still delicious and versatile.
I’ve been doing some experimenting with tahini and I’ve got some savoury and sweet options that I’ve loved when adding just a dollop of the yummy paste! They are simple, but they change the whole flavour and depth of your meal.
The Tahini I’ve been using and has been the first one that I have really loved, is the Tahini by The Food Company. It is unhulled tahini, using the whole sesame seed.
Tahini Green Smoothie
Tahini mixed into a smoothie gives it a great nutrient kick and creaminess! It’s a great replacement to peanut butter and for someone who likes to have peanut butter as a treat, this was perfect for me! This smoothie is sweet and savoury, so it super satisfying.
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp cacao
1 cup spinach
1/2 cup almond milk (add more almond milk or water if blending is difficult)
2 drops of vanilla stevia (can be omitted)
I use a bullet blender. Add almond milk first, followed by tahini, chia, cacao, stevia, banana and spinach. This order makes it easier for the blender to blend the ingredients as the spinach is initially chopped up by the blades and the paste, powder and seeds don’t get stuck to the sides. Serve in a bowl with you favourite toppings. I used my homemade granola, coconut flakes and blueberries.
Tahini Salad Dressing
Tahini is a great addition to salad dressings as it takes the normal vinaigrette to a whole new level! What we have here is a Mediterranean Falafel Salad (left) and a Roasted Vegetable and Tofu Salad (right). Tahini goes perfectly with Mediterranean flavours, especially anything with Falafel and is also a perfect combination with sweet potato.
Serves 2 (usually for a big salad but having a drizzle on an individual salad and keeping the rest in the fridge is perfect)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp tahini
pinch of salt and pepper
Whisk or shake ingredients together and drizzle on top of your salad.
This last one is simple but it’s definitely a winner because of how versatile it can be! It’s basically just tahini, drizzled on top of your sweet or savoury meal. The beauty of this is that you don’t need to add anything to the paste so you get it’s full flavour and creaminess with you meal.
Here I’ve paired tahini with Oven Baked Chilli Chickpeas and Roasted Vegetables (broccolini and butternut pumpkin) and my favourite Carrot Cake Paleo Porridge, which can be found in my recipes on my blog. It is so true that tahini can replace peanut butter as I didn’t miss the flavour and creaminess at all! It gives such a sophistication to any meal so you should definitely try it. If your tahini is quite thick, add a little bit of water so it is easier to drizzle.
Enjoy! Jess xx