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This Lemon Tahini Dressing is made with just 3 simple ingredients in 5 minutes. It’s the ultimate creamy sauce for just about anything. Gluten-free, Vegan, Oil-free.
Drizzle this rich and nutty Tahini Dressing over anything that needs a boost of flavor and creaminess. It’s the perfect pair for fresh salads and nourish bowls and is the definition of quick and simple homemade dressings.
Table of Contents
A Versatile, Meal Prep Staple
This Easy Tahini Dressing has become quite the staple for me over the years. When I first developed it, I made it at least 2-3 times per week, so I thought it was only right that I share this incredible dressing on the blog. It’s so dang simple and something you’re going to want to have on hand to drizzle over your favorite salad, roasted veggies, falafel burger patties, and more.
Long story short, you won’t have trouble figuring out how to use up every last drop.
What You Need for Tahini Dressing
You only need 3 simple ingredients to make this amazing dressing.
- Tahini: When purchasing a new tahini, I highly recommend looking for a high-quality tahini that is runny, easily pourable, and has a mild nutty flavor. If your tahini is overly thick and bitter tasting, it won’t make a great dressing. I recommend the brands Soom Foods and Pepperwood Organics. If you’re looking for tahini or sesame seed paste in the grocery store, it is typically found in the “Ethnic foods” or nut butter aisles.
- Lemon juice: Fresh lemons adds a bright acidity that balances the creamy tahini. I do not recommend using pre-bottled lemon juice – the flavor is not the same.
- Salt: Every good dressing needs a pinch of salt. I use Pink Himalayan Salt but you can use any sea salt you have on hand.
How to Make Tahini Dressing
- Whisk tahini, lemon juice, and salt together.
- Slowly pour 1/4 cup of water to the bowl while whisking vigorously. Continue to add additional water until your desired consistency is reached.
- Add additional seasonings and flavors as desired.
- Serve immediately as desired, or store until ready to enjoy.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Use the highest quality tahini possible. I honestly do not recommend tahini from a mainstream grocery store. These tahini dressings are usually made with low-grade sesame seeds that are often rancid or contain impurities that impact flavor and texture. Additionally, the seeds are often roasted at too high of a temperature or processed using chemicals, resulting in a bitter flavor. A good tahini on the other hand is made with quality ground sesame seeds and are ground without heat to preserve their natural oils and flavor. When in doubt, make your own homemade tahini!
- Change the amount of water you add based on the recipe. I almost never add the same amount of water each time I make this recipe because I’m always using it for different recipes. For example, if you’re planning on using this creamy tahini dressing as a dip, you’ll want to use less water compared to a tahini salad dressing. Don’t be afraid to adjust to suit your needs.
This creamy dressing makes an excellent salad dressing, dipping sauce, or sauce to drizzle over things like grain bowls, Buddha bowls, or a pasta salad. The options are truly endless, but here are a few of my favorite recipes from the blog to pair it with:
Drizzle tahini dressing over Sheet Pan Za’atar Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes, Millet Tabbouleh, Sweet Potato & Kale Boats or a Warm Lentil Salad with Roasted Vegetables. Or, use it as a dip for Falafel, pita bread, and fresh veggies. Finally, spread it on a veggie burger like this delicious Falafel Burger made with Middle Eastern ingredients.
How to Store Tahini Dressing
Leftover tahini dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 14 days. For best results, store in an airtight container such as a glass mason jar. After refrigeration, the dressing can become much thicker and separate so give it a good store before using again.
Freezing this dressing isn’t recommended. Once creamy dressings are frozen, the fats can separate and make the thawed dressing grainy.
Substitutions and Variations
- Add sweetener: Adding a bit of sweetness will help balance the acidity in the lemon juice and counteract the bitterness of the tahini. If you prefer a sweeter dressing, make a maple tahini dressing. Start with 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or agave syrup and adjust from there to taste.
- Fresh herbs: If you’re looking to add an additional pop of flavor, add in finely chopped fresh parsley or dill.
- Dried spices: If you’re out of fresh herbs, dried spices are the next best thing. Try a touch of garlic powder, cumin, and/or red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.
- Make a single serving: Use 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of tahini, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and a pinch of salt plus water to thin.
Although both are creamy and commonly used as condiments, the two have very different flavors and textures. Tahini is rich, nutty, and can be slightly bitter tasting. Mayonnaise is very smooth, light, and creamy. If you’re interested in a mayonnaise recipe, try my healthy mayo recipe.
Most quality tahini brands do not need to be refrigerated once opened, but it can be helpful to refrigerate tahini if you live in a humid climate or don’t think you’ll use it within a couple of weeks. Refrigeration also extends the life of tahini and will preserve the flavor.
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
For the Tahini Sauce:
- 1/2 cup high-quality tahini*
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice about 1-2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup water, divided; plus more to taste
Optional Add-Ins: (choose your adventure!)
- 1 clove fresh garlic minced
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs like dill or parsley
- Prep (optional): If you are using fresh garlic, combine it with the lemon juice and let sit for 5 minutes for a more mellow flavor.
- Tahini Paste: Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and any additional add-ins to a medium bowl. Whisk together; the tahini will become very thick and lighter in color.
- Thin Out: Slowly pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the water into the bowl as you whisk it into the mixture. Slowly add the remaining water to the bowl while you mix the dressing vigorously. If you would like your dressing to be thinner, continue to add water slowly and whisk until the dressing reaches your desired consistency.
- Serve & Store: Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for up to one week. The dressing will thicken in the fridge, but you can thin it out with a bit of water if necessary.
- Tahini: I find most store-brand tahini to be very thick and bitter; good tahini should be smooth and runny! I prefer to use Soom Foods tahini. If your tahini is on the thicker side, you may need to add more water to thin the dressing out more.