The production of tahini throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and North Africa date back millennia; in many Middle Eastern cuisines, it serves the same purpose as salt and pepper in Western cooking.
Here are the most reliable ways we’ve discovered to track down tahini in food stores.
What is Tahini
In order to create tahini, raw seeds are used. Typical applications for tahini, a thick paste formed from mashed sesame seeds, are in Middle Eastern cuisine, where it is used in tahini sauce.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste, but if your recipe calls for sesame seed paste, it probably means the roasted sesame seed paste that is more typically used in Chinese cookery.
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How to Locate Tahini in The Grocery Store
It would be wise to keep this item on hand always. Because of the recent uptick in interest in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, tahini paste can be located in the condiments section alongside gourmet olives or in the ethnic foods section of most major supermarkets.
Since there is no universally accepted standard for where to store tahini, individual stores will put it on the shelves that make the most sense given their layout and inventory needs.
Ask an employee for help locating tahini if you can’t find it on the shelves of your local supermarket. Many independent supermarkets probably won’t stock it.
If you’d rather not hunt for tahini in the supermarket, there are plenty of places to buy the paste online and have it shipped to your door.
There’s no excuse to skip picking up a jar of tahini at your next supermarket shop, what with all the ways you can put it to use and the abundance of stores carrying it.
Tahini Rainbow Cookies (yep, it works in desserts too) and Tahini-Ginger Noodles are here to further encourage you.
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How Many Varieties of Tahini Are There?
There is both hulled and unhulled tahini available. Huiled tahini, in contrast to unhulled tahini, is lighter and creamier since the outer shells of the sesame seeds have been removed.
Less fiber and fewer nutrients are found in hulled tahini. Tahini made from whole sesame seeds, or unhulled tahini, has a more bitter flavor.
Not only that, but tahini paste can be either raw or roasted. The nutritional value of raw tahini is higher than that of roasted tahini, and it is also lighter in color and has a milder flavor.
Tahini can be anywhere from almost white to a rich, dark brown. The hulls are removed from the sesame seeds before they are roasted or eaten raw to create lighter varieties.
Darker and more robust in flavor than those created with unroasted seeds, roasted varieties have been achieved by toasting the seeds first.
In really dark kinds, the hulls of the sesame seeds are also included. These are typically offered in blocks. Some people find the strong, roasted flavor to be a little bitter, and the texture to be somewhat gritty.
Uses for Tahini
Put it in the appetizers.
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines are the birthplaces of tahini, a sesame seed paste used to add flavor to a wide variety of dishes, including dips and spreads like hummus and baba ghanoush, as well as salad dressings and falafel dipping sauces.
Tahini is the second most common ingredient (after chickpeas) in traditional hummus, and its nutty flavor is what makes it stand out as a Middle Eastern staple. Add a tablespoon to puréed carrots or beets for a beautiful and delicious vegetable hummus, perfect as a party appetizer.
Toss it into a sauce.
Tahini can be used as a sauce when thinned with water and seasoned with lemon juice and chopped garlic. This condiment goes well with roasted veggies and grilled meats alike. Even barbecue sauce can be made with this.
Adapt it into a sauce by whisking it.
Tahini’s thick texture creates the impression of a cream-based dressing for salads and dipping vegetables, making it an ideal vinaigrette ingredient. Add some tahini to your go-to dressing recipe, or use it as a vinaigrette base with some soy sauce or vinegar.
Use it as a sweetener and see what you think.
Sweetened tahini can be drizzled over a fresh fruit buffet as a nutritious and delicious dessert option. Mix it with a little water and a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup until you reach the desired consistency. Use it to make cookies or brownies with a twist. Even ice cream has incorporated tahini.
Add it to your morning smoothie
Smoothies and oats can also benefit from a teaspoon of tahini, which adds taste and nutrients when blended or stirred in. Tahini and honey make a great vegan spread for bagels, English muffins, or toast, especially when spiced with cinnamon.