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Vegetarian Recipes

Tahini Sauce

https://www.loveandlemons.com/tahini-sauce/

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you know that I love tahini. In the past, I’ve posted tahini cookies, salad dressings, oatmeal, and even ice cream, but today I’m finally sharing my favorite 5-ingredient lemon tahini sauce.

This tahini sauce recipe is incredibly versatile, as it shines on salads, sandwiches, falafel, bowls, and more! My basic version is similar to what you’d find at any falafel or shawarma restaurant, but I’m also including three delicious variations here. Honestly, I can’t choose a favorite. They all pack a punch of vivid color and bold flavor, and making them couldn’t be simpler. They keep for up to a week in the fridge, so prep one (or more) to jazz up your meals all week long!


Lemon Tahini Sauce


If you’re not familiar with tahini, it’s a creamy, nutty paste made from ground sesame seeds. Popular throughout the Middle East, you can find it blended into hummus or baba ganoush, or drizzled over meat or fish. I use tahini in lots of ways in my kitchen, but most often, I add it to this easy, versatile lemon tahini sauce.

Basic Tahini Sauce Recipe Ingredients

You only need 5 basic ingredients to make this easy recipe:

  • Tahini This recipe is all about the tahini, so choose a good quality one that isn’t too stiff or bitter. My favorite brands are Cedar’s, Soom, and Seed + Mill, all of which have a nice runny texture and nutty taste.
  • Lemon juice – Squeeze it yourself for the best bright flavor!
  • Garlic – I don’t mince garlic for this recipe. Instead, I grate the garlic finely to fully integrate it into the sauce, adding a little kick.
  • Water – Add water, as needed, to thin your sauce to a creamy, drizzleable consistency.
  • Sea salt – Stir it in to sharpen the sauce’s nutty, lemony taste.

Yum!

How to Make Tahini Sauce

To make this recipe, simply whisk the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and water together in a bowl until they create a luscious, smooth sauce.

That’s totally normal! Continue whisking for a minute or so, and the ingredients will combine to form a smooth, creamy sauce. If your tahini is dry, or if you prefer a thinner sauce, add more water, as needed, to reach your desired consistency.

Then, taste and adjust your seasonings. If you prefer a brighter sauce, add more lemon. If it is too bitter, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey. And if the flavor is too sharp, mellow it with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon olive oil. Enjoy!

Tahini Sauce Recipe Variations

Like my cilantro lime dressing, I like to make this dressing in more ways than one. The traditional version is delicious, but these colorful, flavorful variations are fun ways to change it up:

  • Turmeric – Just stir turmeric, ginger, olive oil, and a drop of maple syrup into the base recipe to make this vibrant, sunny sauce.
  • Beet – Beets + tahini are a match made in heaven! Make the entire recipe in the food processor, blending a roasted beet, cumin, and coriander with the base ingredients to give the sauce a sweet, spiced flavor.
  • Green Goddess – Like the beet variation, I make this super green sauce in the food processor, adding cilantro, parsley, cumin, maple, and olive oil to the base recipe ingredients.

Let me know what variations you try!

Tahini Sauce Serving Suggestions

Tahini sauce is super versatile, and I use it in all sorts of ways in my kitchen. Most simply, I enjoy it as a dip with fresh veggies or pita, or I drizzle it over my morning avocado toast. Here are a few of my other favorite ways to use it:

How do you like to use tahini sauce? Let me know in the comments!

Author: Jeanine Donofrio

Recipe type: condiment

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated or pressed
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 recipe Basic Tahini Sauce
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 recipe Basic Tahini Sauce
  • Heaping ¾ cup cilantro
  • Heaping ¾ cup parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 recipe Basic Tahini Sauce
  • 1 small beet, roasted and peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • Water, to thin, if necessary
  1. Make Basic Tahini Sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and sea salt.
  2. Make Turmeric Tahini: Add the turmeric, maple syrup, ginger, and olive oil to 1 recipe of Basic Tahini Sauce. Stir until combined.
  3. Make Green Tahini: Place 1 recipe of Basic Tahini Sauce in a food processor and add the cilantro, parsley, cumin, maple syrup, and olive oil. Pulse until combined.
  4. Make Beet Tahini: Place 1 recipe of Basic Tahini Sauce in a food processor and add the roasted beet, cumin, and coriander. Puree until smooth, adding water if needed.

I prefer these brands of tahini: Cedar’s, Seed + Mill, SoomSince tahini brands vary in flavor, it’s important to taste and adjust. If you find any variation too bitter, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey to balance the flavor. If it’s too sharp, add ½ to 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil to mellow the flavor.

3.4.3177

 

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Vegetarian Recipes

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

“I want you to come watch the movie with us ON the couch, not be in the kitchen!”

I’ve been filling out this one-question-a-day journals for moms that I received for Christmas. It records a little thought or memory over the last year, and then starts again, so you can see how your answers change over a few years. One of the recent ones, prompted me to jot notes about what I am learning as a mom, and I found the question so general I was basically annoyed. I am a romantic, and also wildly pragmatic. In the span of a day I can tear up over the depths of love I feel for my kids, and also wish for them to have a mute button. We all have worlds within us; mothering pushing me into the corners of myself I am sometimes proud of or other corners ashamed of, but am I learning? Yes, every single day. Sometimes in the moment and other times after a particular season. But in 2021, my answer in the bullet journal was that I see my kids are wanting me to play with them. They aren’t registering all the service and shuttling and laundry and what it takes to pull off a week, they just want to play WITH me. It’s natural for me to move within lists and tasks and responsibilities and hustling, but playing is something I have to pay attention to. For them and for me. We usually do a family movie on Friday nights and my son (6.5), see quote above, pointed out that I don’t actually watch the movie, I tinker in the kitchen and he wants me in the couch cuddle. Flattered, and found out that I’d rather make granola than watch The Croods 🙂 So from annoyed, to passing on the question to fellow parents, what are you learning? Try not to be annoyed. Maybe circle back to it.

I published this recipe over on SKCC a few weeks ago and wanted it to live here. We’re trying to find more family-friendly vegetarian recipes (it’s easy for me to fill up on roasted veggies and big salads, not so much for the kids). This batch lasts us two meals – once with noodles, maybe half zoodles, and the second round on toast or english muffins with cheese melted on top, like a pizza sort of thing? It freezes well and is great to deliver to new parents.

CAULIFLOWER BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion – roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower (about ¾ lb. or 12 oz. riced)
1/2 cup of raw walnuts pieces
1/2 tsp. of Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds – crushed
2 Tbsp. of tomato paste
2 Tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of red wine (or broth of any sort, and double the vinegar to mimic the wine’s acidity)
28 oz. of canned, crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of red lentils
red pepper flake to taste

For serving

12 oz. of pasta or choice, zoodles, etc.
parmesan
fresh, torn basil

Directions

In a large Dutch-oven or stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic into smaller bits. Add them to the pot with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté to soften, about 3 minutes.

Pulse up the cauliflower florets to get a rice-like texture. Add the riced-cauliflower to the pot and sauté to soften, about 5 minutes.

Pulse the walnuts in the processor and add those to the pot along with the Italian seasoning, fennel seed, another few generous pinches of salt and pepper, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Sauté until fragrant.

Add the red wine, cook about 3 minutes, then add the crushed tomatoes, ½ cup water, lentils, pinch of pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, put the cover ajar and let it simmer gently for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust.

Cook your pasta or zoodles according to instructions. Top with cauli Bolognese, grated cheese, fresh basil and enjoy!

The Bolognese will keep in the fridge for a week and can be frozen for a few months.

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