I go through a fair amount of tahini here at Kahakai Kitchen—it’s how I get through much of the unending kale and other dark leafy greens in my CSA box—sautéed leafy greens with tahini sauce = yum. Here, depending on the brand and type, it is around $9-$11 a jar—unless I can find it on sale. My trial batch of tahini used 2 cups of organic, hulled sesame seeds which came to $2.64 at my local co-op and netted me about 1 1/2 cups of tahini. I’d say that for a minimum amount of effort (cleaning the food processor is the hardest part), and with bulk sesame seeds, homemade tahini is quite a bargain and it tastes great--even better than most of the store-bought brands I have tried. I can't believe I never attempted to make my own before now.
There were several recipes for homemade tahini but I went with this one and then adjusted it a bit. The instructions said to pulse the toasted seeds in the food processor for 3-5 minutes, I just left it running, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides until it became smooth. I also added a bit of sesame oil at the end for a little extra flavor. Great taste and the texture ended up much smoother than some of the ones I saw online. I don’t know if that is due to keeping the processor running, the fact I toasted the sesame seeds pretty lightly, or I was busy and impatient and didn’t wait for the seeds to cool…so I think much more tahini experimentation is in order to figure it out.
Adapted from D.I.Y. Tahini from Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cups white sesame seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp sesame seed oil
Heat a heavy wide-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add the sesame seeds and toast lightly - about 2 minutes, shaking the pan so they toast evenly. Let cool completely.
Put sesame seeds into a food processor and drizzle in the olive oil. Process for 3-5 minutes, or until it's as smooth as you can get it, stopping to scrape down the sides periodically. When mostly smooth, drizzle sesame oil in and pulse a few times to blend. Refrigerate.
I promptly used 1/2 cup of my tahini in this fresh-tasting parsley salad. The tahini is mixed with lemon juice, garlic, and other seasonings into a delicious dressing that is then mixed with chopped parsley, green onion and toasted pine nuts to make a meze-style salad. The salad is from “Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings” by Joyce Goldstein, a book that should have been pulled off my cookbook shelves and used long ago. I served it with some homemade pita chips, seasoned with cumin.
Goldstein says, “While called a salad, this is really a meze spread to be served with pita bread. I sometimes add toasted pine nuts to the parsley and tahini mixture, as I think they add texture and sweetness. If you don’t have green onions on hand, you can use 4 tablespoons chopped chives instead.”
Greek Parsley Salad with Tahini Dressing (Tahini Salata)
“Mediterranean Fresh” by Joyce Goldstein
1/2 cup tahini dressing (see recipe below), plus more if needed
sea salt, if needed
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3 green onions, finely chopped (white and green parts)
2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
pita bread, cut into triangles and warmed
Put the tahini dressing in a blender or small food processor and beat in a bit of water to make it thin enough to coat the leaves. Salt is crucial for the balance of flavor, so dip a leaf of parsley into the dressing and add salt if needed.
In a salad bowl, toss the parley, green onions, and toasted pine nuts with the dressing. Serve with the pita bread for scooping.
(Makes 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup cold water, plus more if needed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp toasted cumin seed, ground (optional)
pinch of cayenne (optional)
chopped fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
Combine the tahini, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor or blender and puree. Add water as needed to thin to a spreadable consistency for a dip and even thinner for salad dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and with cumin and cayenne if you like.
To serve as a dip, spoon into a shallow bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley. (Some cooks stir the parsley into the dressing.)
Variation: Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro and ½ tsp cayenne to the tahini mixture when pureeing.
Notes/Results: Really good! I wasn’t too sure I would like all of that parsley but the tahini dressing softens it and the toasted pine nuts add nice texture. I think it would make an awesome sandwich spread too. The dressing is better than my usual tahini dressing (is it the recipe or my HOMEMADE tahini? Hmmm…), so I think it may become a staple. I will make all three recipes—tahini, the salad and the dressing again. The rest of my tahini is destined for some yummy hummus. ;-)
In addition to Regional Recipes Greece (which Joanne will be rounding up at the end of the month), this post is being linked to Two for Tuesdays co-hosted by my good friend girlichef. Two for Tuesdays focuses on “real” and hand prepared foods and this homemade tahini and salad definitely qualify. girlichef and the other Two for Tuesday hosts will have the links of all the recipes submitted this week on their blogs, so go check them out.
In case you are a regular reader of my blog and were wondering…next week it’s back to my normal semi-regular Tuesday “Things I Am Loving This Week” post.