Tahini paste is made from ground sesame seeds and is crucial for making dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush and halvah, a sweet treat that was always on our dessert table for holidays when I was growing up right alongside the cannoli.
Tahini is easy to make using only two ingredients: sesame seeds and olive oil. I prefer making my own tahini over buying it, mostly because I never finish the huge jars and wind up wasting it. This allows me to make a little or a lot, depending on need.
The ratio I use is 1 cup sesame seeds to anywhere from 2 tablespoons of olive oil to 1/2 cup depending on how thick or thin I want it. 1 cup sesame seeds makes about 2/3 of a cup of tahini, depending on how much olive oil is used.
Lightly toast the sesame seeds over low heat about ten minutes, stirring often, don’t worry about getting a lot of color on them, like you would if toasting nuts. They’re fragile and burn easily, so watch them carefully.
Allow to cool off and then add them to the bowl of a food processor along with a 2 tablespoons of oil to start. You can also use a mortar and pestle.
Pulse until a paste forms, scraping down sides as needed and adding more olive oil to reach a consistency you like.
The homemade tahini will have a rougher texture than store-bought and may even be stronger in flavor. The reason being is the store-bought version uses hulled sesame seeds making for a smoother tahini. If you can, buy sesame seeds that are not hulled as they are more nutritious.
There you have it! Homemade tahini paste ready to be made into hummus, dressings, sauces, baba ghanoush, mixed into soups or made into sweet treats. Whatever your little heart desires.
Now go forth and make tahini!
Because you can and it’s too simple not to.
Do you have any unique uses for tahini? Please share!