The scenario you’re all familiar with: Really in the mood for some homemade hummus. Garbanzo beans? Check. Olive oil? Check. Lemons? Check. Garlic? Check. Tahini paste? Dang it.
Don’t let that stop you again. It’s super simple to make yourself and tastes even better than store-bought!
Well, I was craving hummus and didn’t have any tahini on-hand, so I quickly whipped some up and made a fabulous batch of hummus with it. As quick and easy as it is to make, it’s rather pointless buying it at the store. For one, you usually end up with waaaaay more than you need and the rest often goes to waste. Secondly, it’s quite a lot cheaper to make it yourself. Thirdly, it tastes so much fresher and bolder!
So quick and simple to make, tahini paste is simply sesame seeds that are toasted and ground up with olive oil to make a paste.
So there really is no excuse to forego your hummus craving because you don’t have any tahini on hand. Just keep some sesame seeds on hand and you’ll always be ready to roll.
BUT WAIT! I can read your mind. You’re thinking, “So is that all that tahini is used for? Hummus?”
Tahini is a popular staple in Middle Eastern, Greek, and East Asian cooking. Here are just a few ways tahini is used:
* Tahin Pekmez is a popular dip in Turkey. It has the reputation as being the Turkish PBJ because it’s made with tahini (which has kind of a peanut-buttery taste) and grape molasses. Sound like a winning combination? It is!
* In Greece it’s a popular condiment in which to dip pita and souvlaki (grilled meat kabobs).
* In Israel it’s a staple topping for falafel and shwarma. It’s also used to make halva-like treats.
* In East Asia in commonly used in noodle dishes.
* Throughout the Middle East it’s used in sauces for meats and vegetables.
As for tahini’s nutritional content: Tahini is relatively high in calcium and protein and is an excellent source of copper, manganese, amino acids, and omega 3 and omega 6 oils.
This recipe uses one cup of sesame seeds which will make about 3/4 cup tahini paste, depending on how much olive oil you use. How much olive oil you use will depend on how thick you want the paste. You’ll need at least 3 tablespoons of olive oil and possibly up to 1/3 cup.
*Shopping Tip: Buy sesame seeds in bulk. Buying the in tiny bags or cans with just a few ounces can be very expensive. You can buy sesame seeds in the bulk sections of some grocery stores. Or you can buy them online here for a good price: HERE and HERE.
Let’s get started!
Heat a clean, dry cast iron or heavy duty skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds. Stir frequently until they begin to turn golden brown and then stir constantly. Be careful, sesame seeds burn very easily.
You definitely don’t want burnt sesame seeds (they taste awful!), but you do want them generously golden brown for optimal flavor.
Once they’re toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor.
Start by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture into a paste, scraping down the sides. Add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. If you’re using it to make hummus, the paste should be fairly thickly “pourable” (like in the main recipe picture above).
Store the tahini paste in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. Will keep for several months.
And now that you’ve made your tahini, you’ll of course want to make some hummus, right? RIGHT!
So here you go!
Creamy Hummus With Homemade Tahini Paste (click for recipe)
- 1 cup hulled sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons or more extra virgin olive oil (see Note)
- Heat a clean, dry cast iron or heavy duty skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds. Stir frequently until they begin to turn golden brown and then stir constantly. Be careful, sesame seeds burn very easily.
- Once they're toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor.
- Start by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture into a paste, scraping down the sides. Add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency (*see Note)
- Makes a little less than ¾ cup tahini paste, depending on how much olive oil you use.
- Store the tahini paste in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. Will keep for several months.
* Instead of olive oil you can also use sesame oil, but olive oil is traditional. (Use raw sesame oil, not toasted, or the tahini will have an overpowering "Chinese food" flavor.)