• What exactly is tahini? You might know it as one of the key ingredients in hummus or baba ghanoush, but not actually know what it is or how it’s made.

    Tahini is made in much the same way as any nut butter, except it’s made using sesame seeds. This is what gives it that signature, bitter but nutty flavour that adds so much depth to the dishes it’s found in.

    In much the same way as you can make nut butters in your own home, home-made tahini is ridiculously easy to make. Simply grind toasted sesame seeds with a splash of oil until it forms a thin paste. Tahini is naturally vegan and gluten-free, and great for people with a nut allergy (who are not allergic so sesame seeds of course)!

    sesame seeds in wooden spoons and a small jar of oil
    freepik.com on Pinterest

    How to store tahini

    It is generally recommended to store opened tahini in the fridge, as the cold environment helps slow down the oil separation which begins to happen after a couple of months. Just like any other nut butter though, oil separation in tahini is normal and not a sign for concern. All it means is that it needs a thorough stir to reincorporate the ground seeds with the sesame oil.

    Also, did you know that tahini lasts for absolutely ages? An unopened jar will last at least 18 months in a cool, dry place while an opened jar can last for up to a year. We would recommend keeping your tahini in an airtight container or jar to ensure the longest shelf life possible.

    homemade tahini in a jar
    simple-veganista.com on Pinterest


    If you have a recipe that calls for tahini but don’t happen to have any on hand, there are a couple of ingredients that could easily be substituted in its place. In hummus or baked goods, any kind of nut butter could generally be used instead. The notable exception to this is peanut butter, which has too thick of a texture and such a strong flavour that it won’t work in quite the same way as tahini. If you have a nut allergy, then sunflower seed butter will also work as a great substitute for tahini.

    In some dips and spreads, Greek yoghurt can be used as a replacement for tahini. It’s worth noting that the flavour won’t be quite the same, but it will provide a lovely creamy texture to your recipe.

    If it’s the sesame flavour that you’re looking for instead of a 1:1 substitution, then a little drizzle of sesame oil might do the trick in providing those nutty notes that you’re looking for.


    Here are some lovely recipe suggestions if you want to give tahini a try:

    Roast Beef Sirloin with Smoky Tahini

    Roast beef sirloin with smoky tahini

    Hummus with olive pesto topping

    Homemade hummus with olive pesto topping

    Tahini, banana and mixed-nut ice cream

    Tahini, banana and mixed-nut ice cream with salted honey caramel

    Sesame fried eggs on tahini-yoghurt

    Sesame fried eggs on tahini-yoghurt

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    READ MORE: How to make hummus from scratch

    How to make hummus from scratch

    Featured image: Nicholas Barbaros on Unsplash