Easy recipes with tahini (or tahin): 5 tasty, addictive ideas beyond hummus
The most famous of all easy recipes with tahini or tahin, is undoubtedly hummus, which is conquering more and more people. What is more, for many of us, the main ingredient in this delicious sauce is tahini, not chickpeas! Thus creating a real semantic paradox, since the word hummus in Arabic means chickpeas; so when you go to an Arabic-speaking country, be careful what you order at the restaurant: not hummus but “ḥummuṣ bi-ṭ-ṭaḥīna” or “chickpeas with tahini”.
After this dutiful clarification, let’s move on to the recipes: the title speaks for itself, different recipes from the “banal” hummus, but in case you want to find out my tried and adored hummus recipe, just click here.
Recipe number 1- A Sweet Spread!
After simit and çay (the sesame bagel-like bread sold in every corner of Turkiye and enjoyed with a small glass of hot tea), perhaps the other best-loved duo of the country is Tahin-Pekmez: tahini and grape molasses. This mix is easy to prepare and does not even need to be cooked!
In addition to practicality, it is also natural (these two products contain no additives or thickeners and, since they have not been processed heavily, are close to their natural state) and surprisingly tasty. So much so that it represents a valid alternative to the famous Italian chocolate spread: not only for the power of taste but above all for the quality of the nutrients; I never buy products rich in fats and added sugars, as well as additives; to understand what will enter my shopping trolley, I just have to look at the length of the ingredients list; that’s why I vote without any doubt in favour of tahini and grape molasses to sweeten the day.
But beware: although incredibly healthy, one must be cautious in their consumption; don’t forget that they are still high in fat and sugar, although naturally present.
For this very simple sweet spread recipe, you should mix 2-3 tablespoons of tahini with 1 teaspoon of Pekmez or grape molasses (or honey, or agave or maple syrup etc). Adjust the flavour according to your taste (add more tahini or more grape molasses). Here it is ready, 1 spoonful should be enough for dieters!
Or for an even more intense taste you can add a teaspoon of low-fat cocoa, but please remember to choose only fair-trade cocoa.
Recipe number 2 – Scrumptious baked veggies with tahini dressing
Cooking vegetables in the oven is a very recurring practice for me, as during the non-summer months I use the oven twice a week to bake bread. And when I switch on the oven I try to cook as much as possible, so that I can re-use the heat generated and recycle the energy created. A modern oven (class A onwards) has an efficient insulation system, so it uses very little energy to keep the heat stable inside. To reach the set temperature, the energy consumption will peak (even 800 W); but after a long cooking time, even 1.5 hours at the same temperature, a total of 1500 W will be spent (so only 700 W for baking).
Bread or pizza requires high temperatures, so to take advantage of the aforementioned peak, I recommend cooking vegetables. You will not only recycle energy, you will also have healthy food ready for the whole week. Perhaps more importantly, you will eliminate the purchase of ready-made and packaged meals, which is a significant cost to your wallet and the environment.
Then wash, peel or trim and cut (the size counts for the uniformity of baking) about 1 kilo of seasonal vegetables as you like; when you are about to prepare the tahini dressing, turn on the oven: vegetables do not need a precise temperature to cook. Place them in a fairly large ovenproof dish, previously greased or lined with baking paper.
Mix in a bowl 100 ml of tahini sauce and the juice of half a lemon, a few tablespoons of water (or vegetable milk or tomato puree), with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and spices of the type best suited to the chosen vegetables: thyme, basil, marjoram, rosemary, etc.; if desired, also some seeds, such as sesame seeds, or mustard, poppy seeds or other.
Pour the seasoning over the vegetables, stir (or just leave it on the surface) and put in the oven without waiting for the temperature to reach the set point (I set it at 250°C or 480°F to make bread); cook for 10-15 minutes with a special lid or baking tray on top. Remove the lid and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes, then take them out of the oven.
You are now ready to put the bread in the oven.
Vegetables cooked in this way will keep in the fridge for 2-4 days, depending on the type of vegetable and the outside temperature. So the part you don’t plan to use any time soon can be frozen and reheated when needed.
Recipe number 3 – For Vegan cheesecake crusts, both sweet and salty
One of my favourite easy recipes with tahini is this salty cheesecake crust, made with (perhaps no longer fresh) whole meal rusks, black beans and a delicious avocado sauce. Please note that you can use frozen avocados for this recipe (how to do it is explained here). The complete cheesecake recipe can be found here.
Recipe number 4 – The Babaganoush
With ‘a bit of fantasy’ I can explain it as roasted aubergine hummus. But by now you know that without the chickpeas, you cannot call a sauce that way, just because it is made using tahini. Babaganoush is perfect for summer evenings when you don’t feel like eating something cooked, due to the heat. But beware, babaganoush is delicious, healthy and very natural, you should try hard not to “lose control”: together with a piece of crispy bread, it becomes a real drug. For the very simple and complete recipe, see here.
Recipe number 5 – Tahini and baked (or cooked) fruit
Fruit, especially when cooked, contains a lot of sugar and little fibre, so it can raise blood sugar levels quickly. To stop this spike, simply combine it with some good fats, such as tahini sauce. My favourite recipe for this heavenly combination is baked quince with tahini (see the full recipe here), but it’s also great with other cooked fruits, such as baked apple, or pumpkin pie (very easy recipe: cut the pumpkin into even pieces and cook them with a little sugar – for 500 g of pumpkin about 30-50 grams if you’re on a diet -; 4 minutes in a pressure cooker after venting, or about 12 minutes in a regular pot).
I promised you 5 easy recipes with tahini, but that doesn’t mean its potential has come to an end: we’ll have a chance to go into more detail on this soon. In the meantime you might also like to know that you can make tahini at home, very easily: all you need are sesame seeds, a frying pan, a few tablespoons of sesame (or olive) oil and a powerful food processor, so you can prepare it whenever you need it and without spending a fortune. For the full recipe and the properties of tahini click here.
Enjoy your easy recipes with tahini and good revolution to all