Make this easy creamy tahini sauce in your food processor with tahini paste, fresh lemon juice, garlic cloves, agave, and a few spices to round it all out. Tahini dipping sauce is the perfect salad dressing, veggie dip, bowl or falafel sauce. Just 5 minutes and 7 ingredients + a little water.
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A basic tahini sauce is a staple in any plant-based diet. This is the flavorful sauce that I’ve been making since 2015 and it’s become one of my favorite recipes. It’s a simple recipe, but it’s so good – a perfect sauce with a great balance of that umami tahini, zesty lemon, and sweet agave.
It was a major victory to learn how to make a creamy tahini dressing when I first went vegan because it’s an easy way to make a creamy sauce or dressing without using dairy or even a high-powered blender, which I didn’t have at the time. Hope it does the same for you!
Keep this great sauce recipe in your back pocket. (But don’t keep the sauce in your pocket, that’s just messy.)
Why You’ll Love This Tahini Salad Dressing Recipe
- Quick and easy. The whole thing comes together in just minutes!
- Adds a major flavor upgrade to any dish it touches!
- It’s so versatile. Whether on a falafel bowl, as a salad dressing, or as a dip, this recipe is sure to make you flip!
Ingredients in Tahini Dip (Vegan)
To make vegan tahini sauce, you only need 7 ingredients plus a little cold water to thin it out.
- Tahini – Use a good quality tahini because that’s key to overall flavor. Our favorite is Soom tahini which is a women-owned brand located right here in Philadelphia! Fun fact: “Soom” is a riff of “soomsoom” which is Hebrew for “sesame”.
- Lemon juice – Fresh or bottled, either works!
- Garlic cloves – More or less depending on how much you like garlic. (We REALLY like garlic!)
- SPICES: sea salt, ground cumin, ground black pepper
- Agave nectar – This adds a touch of sweet to balance out the bitterness and acidity in the most delightful way!
Tahini Sauce Origin
The origin of tahini (which means “to grind”) as a sesame paste recipe ingredient can be traced to Arabic texts from the 13th century. However, sesame seeds and sesame paste have origins in recipes and medicinal uses as far back as the 5th century BC Greece and even earlier!
How to Store Tahini After Opening
This is a widely debated topic, but truthfully, the option is yours. Store tahini in a cool, dark spot like the pantry. You can store it in the refrigerator, but that will cause the sesame paste to be thicker, which is a deal-breaker for those who prefer a thinner tahini for mixing in dressings and the like.
A jar of tahini should last up to a year after being opened, whether in the pantry or the fridge, as long as it doesn’t come into contact with a contaminant like moisture or bacteria.
How to tell if tahini has gone bad: If your tahini has indeed gone bad, it will have a noticeably sharp and unpleasant rancid odor. The pleasant “slightly bitter” smell associated with tahini will no longer be pleasant or slight.
Substitution Options for Tahini Dressing (Vegan)
If you don’t have or can’t tolerate one of the above ingredients, here are our best substitution tips. Remember: substituting any of the ingredients may lead to a difference in the final product that is not always a positive one. Let us know in the comments if you try any subs and how they work out for you!
Tahini substitute: You could maybe make this with sunflower butter. You could also use the recipe as a framework for a similar sauce with almond butter or other nut or seed butters, but it would taste very very different. And I definitely would not use peanut butter. LOL! We have not yet tried these substitution options.
For the lemon juice: Lime juice would be a nice sub, but the overall taste would be slightly different. To get a similar effect, you could also use rice wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
For the fresh garlic: To sub for minced garlic from a jar, I find 1 scant tablespoon to be about equivalent to one large minced clove of fresh. If you want to replace it with garlic powder, we recommend about 1/4 teaspoon per clove of fresh garlic.
For the spices: Feel free to shake up the spices. Coriander or garam masala would be nice, cayenne or red pepper flakes for some heat. Maybe dried dill or even mint for something a little different.
How to Make Vegan Tahini Sauce
Blend all the ingredients until they are completely smooth. That’s it!
Tahini Sauce Uses
Serve this vegan tahini sauce cold and straight out of the food processor. Or see below for storage ideas!
- Tahini sauce for falafel – served as a bowl, wrap, burger, or pita
- The best vegan tahini dressing for dairy-free salads
- As a simple sauce for any kind of bowl: buddha bowls, falafel bowls, grain bowls.
- As a tahini vegetable dip for your favorite veggies and pita bread or pita chips
- Drizzle it on everything – sandwiches, flatbreads, tofu scramble
How to Store Leftover Tahini Dipping Sauce
How long does tahini sauce last in the fridge? Homemade tahini sauce lasts 5-7 days stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.
Can you freeze tahini sauce? You can freeze tahini sauce for up to three months. Some separation may occur when defrosted. We love to use our Souper Cubes for perfectly portioned sizes and so we don’t have to defrost a large amount when we only need a little.
Vegan Tahini Sauce FAQ
Tahini is a very popular sauce made from simple ingredients like toasted and ground sesame seeds and olive oil made into a sesame seed paste. It has a lovely nutty flavor and is a main ingredient in a lot of middle eastern cuisine. Including baba ghanoush and creamy hummus, to name but two. It’s also highly beloved on its own as a delicious sauce or dip with some fresh parsley or other fresh herbs.
Tahini by itself is vegan, but some tahini-based sauces on the market at the grocery store have dairy added to them. Always check the ingredients.
This is a widely debated topic. Tahini can be stored in a cool, dark spot like the pantry. It can also be stored in the refrigerator, but that will cause the sesame paste to be thicker, which is a deal-breaker for those who prefer a thinner tahini for mixing in dressings and the like.
Yes, tahini is a delicious and versatile gluten free food.
Tahini is great for those following a keto diet because it is high in fat and low in carbohydrates.
Tahini should last up to a year after being opened, whether in the pantry or the fridge, as long as it doesn’t come into contact with a contaminant like moisture or bacteria.
Tahini has a wonderfully nutty, sesame flavor with just the slightest bitterness to it.
This list is so long I could potentially write an entire other post just on that one question. Tahini is used as an ingredient in SO many cultures. From savory to sweet, tahini can be used on its own or play a smaller role in a recipe. It’s an integral part of any hummus or halva recipe. It’s great as a yogurt substitute for things like tzatziki sauce or other dressings.
Tahini (sesame seeds and oil) is not the same as mayonnaise (egg whites and oil), but it can be used as an alternative in many recipes that call for mayonnaise.
Vegan Recipes with Tahini
- Whipped Tofu Feta Dip
- Tahini Brownie Batter Dip
- Creamy Vegan Broccoli Pasta
- Vegan Baked Feta Pasta
- Garlic Hummus Recipe with Tahini
I hope you find this tahini sauce recipe as delightful and deliciously useful as we have! When you try it, I’d love to hear what you thought and how you used it.
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- 3/4 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 5 large cloves garlic
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Add all the ingredients to a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as you see fit. Also check the texture. If you’d like it thinner, add another Tbsp or 2 of water, blend, and check the texture again before adding more.
- Serve this tahini sauce as a salad dressing, drizzled on roasted vegetables, baked potatoes, as a veggie dip or falafel sauce. Enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and give it a good stir before using!
Serving Size:2 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 140mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and may not always be accurate.
Watch our Falafel Sauce web story!