This fresh, creamy, Authentic Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce is a herby twist to a classic Mediterranean tahini sauce recipe. Use it as a dressing, dip, or marinade! It's easy to make and so versatile!
It reminds me of Trader Joe's tahini sauce, that's full of herbs and can be paired with just about anything. Make your own in under 10 minutes and a few fresh ingredients!
Growing up with Tahini as a main staple in the kitchen, there is no shortage of recipes using it here. It is used in much more than Hummus, and often made into desserts. Like this classic Middle Eastern dessert called Halva that I used as inspiration for this Tahini Banana Bread.
Besides the Hummus at Trader Joes, their herbed tahini sauce is a good Mediterranean dip option for dipping your veggies, falafel or any protein. However, it doesn't have the acidic lemon-y flavor that this sauce needs in order to be as close to the authentic Middle eastern way of making it. So make this alternative in just 5 minutes instead.
Use this dairy-free and vegan sauce on just about anything, from sandwiches, to salad dressing, to a dip for your veggies, and so much more. It's also a great vegan dressing and sauce for pasta!
I'll be digging into what is lemon herbed tahini made of, how to make this sauce, and many ways to use it below.
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED
- Tahini: A Middle Eastern paste made of crushed sesame seeds. It's widely used in the Middle Eastern and one that I grew up using regularly. You can find it in most grocery stores either in the health section, in the ethnic section, or near the nut butters. Another good place to get one is on Amazon.
Purchase one that's good quality and make sure to stir it really well prior to using.
- Lemon: Clean it really well, and use the zest and the juice for this recipe. Make sure the zest is fragrant, as some are more mild than others. Lemon is a use part of this Middle Eastern sauce!
- Fresh Parsley: For best flavor and to make it the authentic Mediterranean way, use fresh herbs. Chop them extra fine, or roughly chop them to blend further in a food processor.
- Fresh Dill: It's readily available in a small herb container in most grocery stores. Typically stored in the refrigerated section near other produce.
- Fresh garlic: Provides the best, most amazing garlic flavor for this recipe. Most recipes will suggest garlic powder, but I've tried them both ways, and fresh is much better. It's how I've always made it growing up as well.
- Honey or Maple syrup: Use either honey or maple syrup - whatever you have in your pantry or in the fridge. A little bit of sweetness helps offset the acidity of the lemon.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
First, you'll want to grab a food processor.
No food processor? If you don't have one, a good alternative is to very finely chop the parsley and dill and of course, mince the fresh garlic. This way, using the food processor can be avoided entirely.
To proceed with a food processor, add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until completely mixed and the sauce is smooth.
- Stir the tahini! It is similar to peanut butter in that it separates, and the oil sits on top while the bottom is a stiff paste. Stir it really well to ensure you're using the right amount. The sauce may come out too runny if it isn't mixed correctly.
- Use a food processor - To properly mince and blend the sauce, I suggest using a food processor. It's the best way to get all the flavors in every little bite.
- Allow time for flavors to meld - Once you make the sauce, store it in an airtight container or wrap the bowl using plastic wrap and store in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but. I prefer to make it the night before.
How do you use this sauce?
This sauce is highly versatile in Middle Eastern cuisine and its uses range from a dip, dressing, marinade, and sauce.
Here are just some of the ways to use it:
- Falafel. Using it on falafel is the most authentic way of using it. Growing up we couldn't have falafel without it.
- Use on chicken, steak, pork, or seafood. After cooking your protein, drizzle as much as you'd like to serve.
- Salad dressing. Top it with your kale, lettuce, spinach, or arugula salad.
- Dip with veggies. Use instead of ranch in a tray of fresh raw veggies.
- Top to roasted veggies. Make extra sauce to top over roasted veggies for a Mediterranean flare.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Fresh lemon juice doesn't always stay fresh too long. Look at the serving tips above if you want more ideas on how to use it.
HOW TO PREP AHEAD
It's actually a good thing to prep this sauce in advance. The flavors have more time to develop.
So to make ahead, you can prep the recipe the morning of, or even the night before. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
This recipe is made using my family's authentic Lebanese tahini sauce recipe and adding a twist with fresh dill. Using fresh dill adds more dimension and flavor to the sauce. It's not too uncommon to slather this sauce in a sandwich, or pair with falafel, beef, shawarma or even fish!
This recipe is tested, loved, and approved by my Mediterranean-cuisine loving household.
VARIATIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Switch up the herbs: Use mint, cilantro or basil instead of dill. I've made it various ways, and I love it with any herb really. So, you can't go wrong with mint, cilantro or basil!
This sauce is so fresh, from the fresh lemon and herbs, to the nutty sesame flavor that shines through. When mixed with fresh garlic, lemon, parsley and dill it becomes a light, fresh, and creamy sauce.
It's an excellent option for seafood, especially with fish, or used as a salad dressing.
It's also a wonderful option for vegans to use as a substitute for dairy-based sauces.
Yes, it absolutely is. Tahini is a sesame paste that's filled with nutrients from fiber, selenium, protein, and more. All of which are important for overall health, especially in battling inflammation.
It is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, which is an overall healthy lifestyle diet consisting of high-nutrient food, good protein, and fresh ingredients that are sourced locally when possible.
Yes! You can make it without a food processor as long as you finely chop the herbs and allow some time for the flavors to meld. Typically a food processor cuts the time down for melding. Use a whisk to mix the sauce when you make it outside the processor.
It can be purchased in most large grocery stores. It's typically in the natural aisle, near the ethnic food, or near the nut butters.
If you'd rather purchase it online, you can grab some on Amazon.
My other favorite Middle Eastern sauce is this Toum Garlic Sauce that my family has used for generations! It's absolutely bursting with garlic, and paired beautifully alongside roasted veggies, and just about any protein.
With any leftover tahini, make this Authentic Citrusy Hummus. If you're looking for something sweet, you have to give this Banana Bread a try, and when paired with chocolate cake or cupcakes this frosting is delectable!
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Authentic Lemon Herb Tahini
- ½ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup roughly chopped parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill or mint
- 2 cloves medium-sized garlic
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt
- 2-4 tablespoon water use as much as you need
- Add tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, dill, garlic, and honey.
- Add just 2 tablespoons of water to start, along with a minimum amount of salt, and add more as needed later.
- Pulse the sauce until the herbs are finely minced and the sauce is well combined. For at least a few minutes.
- Store at room temp or in the fridge for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
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