Ingredient Spotlight: Tahini

Dec 12, 2023

Our latest article delved into what 2024 might look like regarding food trends. Clearly, health and convenience would be at the forefront of consumers’ minds. Regarding flavor, experts believe there would be an interest in using tahini specifically beyond its Middle Eastern roots.


In recent years, there has been substantial growth in the popularity of tahini, partially driven by food media and restaurants integrating it into mainstream culture. Social media and other platforms have fueled people’s interest in global flavors, leading to a surge in the appreciation of ingredients like sesame. Amy Zitelman, CEO of Soom Tahini, highlighted the versatility of tahini beyond its traditional use in hummus, noting its ability to enhance various dishes. At events like Expo East, multiple tahini brands showcased products ranging from dips and sauces to chocolate bars and vegan ice cream, reflecting the increasing demand for tahini among home cooks, chefs, and brands. This trend signifies a growing appetite for tahini and its diverse applications in culinary creations.


Tahini has a distinct taste that’s rich, nutty, and slightly bitter. It’s made from toasted ground sesame seeds and carries a deep, earthy flavor profile. Some liken its taste to nut butter but with a smoother texture and a more pronounced sesame seed taste. The bitterness can vary depending on the brand or the roasting level of the sesame seeds used to make the tahini. It also has a slightly savory and mildly sweet undertone, which makes it versatile for both savory and sweet dishes.


Check out these ideas for using tahini in unconventional ways:


Desserts: Incorporate tahini into desserts like brownies, cookies, or cakes. Its nutty flavor adds depth to sweets. Try making tahini-swirled brownies or tahini chocolate chip cookies.

Tahini-Crusted Fish or Tofu: Create a crust for fish or tofu by mixing tahini with breadcrumbs and spices. When baked or pan-fried, it adds a unique flavor and texture to the dish.

Stir-fries and Noodle Dishes: Use tahini as a base for stir-fry sauces or noodle dishes. Combine it with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a splash of vinegar for a flavorful sauce.

Tahini in Cocktails: Create unique cocktails by using tahini as an ingredient. Mix it with components like honey, citrus juice, and spirits like whiskey or rum for a nutty, creamy twist to your drink.

Tahini in Soups: Add a spoonful of tahini to creamy soups like butternut squash, carrot, or cauliflower soup. It can enhance the richness and depth of flavor in the soup.

Tahini’s creamy texture and nutty taste make it a versatile ingredient in savory dishes, elevating flavors and adding a unique twist to various recipes. So, if you’re looking for a new way to spice up your menu, tahini may be just the trick!