Kitchn Love Letters

I Put This 3-Ingredient Green Tahini Sauce on Everything

updated Jun 24, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

There was a time when I thought simple tahini sauce with a hint of lemony zing couldn’t possibly get any better. Then I was reminded of the herb-packed green tahini sauce I’d enjoyed slathered over falafel at restaurants. While I was familiar with eating this well-known Middle Eastern sauce, I’d never before considered making it at home — and it was time for that to change. Now, nearly three years later, I’ve been making a batch of green tahini sauce almost every single week. I’m typically someone who craves variety when it comes to food, and don’t like eating the same thing on repeat, but this sauce is the exception. To say I’m totally hooked is an understatement.

Simply put, this sauce is just plain delicious! But, of course, I must tell you more than that. This green tahini has the sweet and bitter nuttiness married with a hint of citrus I expect and love in a good tahini sauce. But what makes this simple green version so memorable is the herbs. Regardless of whether it’s mint leaves that bring cool sweetness, a peppery twist from basil or parsley, a hint of anise from dill, or cilantro that elevates the citrus, fresh herbs bring basic tahini sauce to life. With about a full bunch blended in, they share the spotlight and stand out just as much as the sesame flavor I love so much.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3 Ingredients + A Ton of Versatility

I’m a very strong believer in meal prepping a jar of sauce or dressing every weekend, and I’m pretty sure this was the sauce that convinced me. Even when I don’t feel like I have the time, energy, or patience, I know I have five minute to blitz a few ingredients in the food processor, and that my mealtimes in the week ahead will be so much better for it.

Taste aside, the beauty of this sauce is how darn simple it is to pull off and versatile enough to work with whatever I have at the moment. All fresh herbs are fair game here. Sometimes it’s just a handful of dill or basil; other times it’s a robust combo of cilantro, parsley, and mint. While I’ll sometimes buy herbs specifically for a big batch of sauce, I usually stick with whatever leftovers are hanging around.

I haven’t looked at the recipe in roughly three years and I stopped measuring the ingredients very shortly after. Usually I spoon what looks to be about up to 1/2 cup of tahini into the food processor, followed by a bunch of fresh herbs (about 1 cup) and the juice from one or two lemons. Okay, and a pinch of salt for good measure.

And when I want to thin it out to make it extra drizzly for salads and grain bowls, I’ll mix in an extra squeeze of lemon or even just some water. And while this sauce doesn’t necessarily need more than three ingredients, I’m not averse to tossing a few more goodies into the food processor when I’m feeling a little adventurous. A spoonful of Greek yogurt for some creaminess? Why not. A clove or two of garlic? Never not a good idea.

The secret to making a really great green tahini sauce (or any simple tahini sauce, for that matter), is starting with a good-quality jar. Yes, any brand of tahini will get the job done, but as is the case with any recipe that calls for just a few ingredients, those ingredients really stand out. For this sauce and everywhere else I use tahini, my go-to is Soom Foods Tahini.

All the Ways to Use Green Tahini

Part of why I keep this sauce stocked in my fridge all the time is that it goes with absolutely everything. It started out as my go-to dressing for salads and grain bowls, but it wasn’t long before I was drizzling it on my favorite chickpea pitas and chicken breast, and using it as a condiment for sandwiches and burgers (it’s especially great on turkey burgers and lamb burgers, and veggie burgers, too!). It’s a no-brainer drizzled on grilled and roasted veggies, partnered with tofu, and even added to egg sandwiches (trust me here). One night when I was in a pinch, I thinned it with some starchy pasta water and used it as a sauce for my spaghetti. The result was a smooth and creamy, super-savory, herb-packed sauce that was so much better than I imagined. These days I use it as a sauce for all types of noodles, and when I do I make a point to add a little more tahini to the sauce, more herbs that usual, and sometimes a little garlic.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.