3-Ingredient Tahini Sauce For Everything

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Whisking together our tahini sauce recipe that's good on everything I’m reaching for something Mediterranean-inspired at least a few times a week, whether it’s hummus and veggies, Chickpea Shawarma SaladShawarma Chickpea Dip, or a Chickpea Shawarma Sandwich. (Are you sensing a theme? I like shawarma.) In most situations, my 4-ingredient Garlic Dill sauce is where it’s at. It’s lemony, herby, and packed with tons of fresh garlic flavor. Recently, however, I’ve been reaching for something more subdued, especially when it comes to my falafel addiction. Enter: 3-Ingredient Tahini Sauce for Everything. Grabbing a spoonful of gluten-free vegan tahini sauce

What is Tahini?

Tahini is made by grinding sesame seeds into a smooth paste. Sometimes the sesame seeds are hulled, sometimes they’re left unhulled; sometimes roasted, sometimes raw. We like to use tahini to make dressingssoft serve, snack bites, stuffed dates, and SO many other dishes. The possibilities are endless!

Origin of Tahini

Tahini is an Arabic name for ground sesame seeds. However, its origins are thought to have been in Persia, where it was called “ardeh.” Tahini later found its way to Israel and was held as a delicacy as sesame seeds were rather expensive to procure. In some cultures, tahini was even used as currency. (source) Whisking tahini sauce for a smooth texture This sauce was inspired by Wolf + Bear in Portland (one of my favorite food carts!), which has me hooked on falafel salads with tahini dressing (and Tahini Bombs!). Upon investigating the texture and flavor of their sauce, I realized how simple it really was. Consider this my inspired version. This recipe couldn’t get any easier. Sprinkle a little salt and garlic powder on tahini and whisk. Then add water and whisk. THAT’S IT. It’s hardly a recipe but it’s too good and simple not to share. What does one put this tahini sauce on? Everything: Falafel (!!) Veggie Burgers Salads Chickpea Fritters Arrancini Sandwiches And,one more dish that’s coming at ya soon. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends! Two photos showing tahini sauce being whisked in a glass bowl

3 Ingredient Tahini Sauce For Everything

Creamy, savory tahini sauce with just 3 ingredients! The perfect vegan sauce for falafel, salads, veggie burgers and everything in between!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Using a whisk to mix a bowl of simple homemade tahini sauce
4.39 from 36 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 10 (1-Tbsp servings)
Course Sauce, Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Middle Eastern-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 1-2 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tahini (from raw or roasted sesame seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup warm water (plus more as needed)

Instructions

  • Add tahini, sea salt, and garlic powder to a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add water a little at a time, continuing to whisk, until you have a creamy, pourable sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Tahini is meant to be the prominent flavor, but add garlic powder for more garlic flavor or sea salt for saltiness.
  • This sauce is ideal for falafel, salads, veggie burgers, and just about everything in between! It's ideal for dishes that need a creamy sauce that isn't overwhelmingly flavorful.
  • Store in the refrigerator covered for 1-2 weeks.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.
*Recipes yields about 2/3 cup as originally written, depending on how much water is added.

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 one-Tbsp servings Calories: 71 Carbohydrates: 2.5 g Protein: 2 g Fat: 6.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 37 mg Fiber: 1.1 g
Drizzling tahini sauce on vegan falafel

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  1. A Mac says

    I made this, but added a lemon and more water to boost the flavor and thin out the dressing. It was great! Let it sit for five minutes for the flavors to come together and then taste again and adjust seasonings as needed.

  2. Sharlie says

    I really liked this recipe; I added some smoked paprika and a bit of hot sauce and it gave it that extra kick I was craving!

  3. Jennifer Ronan says

    This was so good and easy to make!!! Love that it is oil free and just as delicious. Thank you Minimalist Baker…you are dope!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Incredible combo, Juliette! Thanks so much for the lovely review! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  4. Ava says

    I only had a little less than 1/4 cup tahini left in my pantry, so i made this using that, a little more than 1/4 cup water, apple cider vinegar to taste and salt and pepper. I also used one small clove of garlic and blended it in an individual smoothie blender. Worked great! Yummy on top of cooked veggies. I like to make chickpea pasta and bulk it up with whatever veggies I have on hand, and put this dressing on top!

  5. Heather says

    This recipe is an excellent place to start. But if you’re like me and tahini tastes gross to you in its natural state, then you’re going to need to add more to this sauce to make it palatable. Others in the comments have suggested adding more garlic, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar – the addition of which greatly improved this sauce for me.

  6. Kelly says

    My tahini was separated to start so I treated it like honey that has sugared and put the jar in a warm pan of water for 5 minutes then re-homogenized it. Modified slightly 1/2 the garlic and added the juice and zest from a half a lemon. Soooooooo amazing. Thanks for the recipe and to your readers: thanks for the comments and tips. Made this 5 minute recipe a success!

  7. Cooking Dad says

    Hi Dana, thank you for making this recipe available and also your “4-Ingredient Garlic Dill Hummus” and “Easy Vegan Falafel” recipes, all of which I made earlier today. I landed on your website searching specifically for a canned pea falafel recipe in a pinch, having not soaked chickpeas ahead and the kids really wanting falafel. I have to say it worked out just great.

    I actually made this tahini sauce recipe twice. The first time, I missed the part about adding the water slowly and not only did it paste up as some mention in the comments, it complete broke, with a lump of tan play-doh stuck to my whisk and all the oil separated out into a puddle around it.

    The second time I added the water slowly while whisking as you instruct and while it pasted up a bit, the oil didn’t completely fall out and further whisking/water got a nice, smooth consistency.

    As for that lump of tan play-doh? I stuck it up against the side of the bowl and let the bowl sit, tilted at an angle for 10 minutes or so to let all the oil drain away, then used it as a spread on crackers. Its consistency was about like cold peanut butter but it would spread. It was great. :-)

    The garlic dill hummus was also very good. But you should try mixing equal amounts of it with your tahini sauce – we ended up doing this to make yet a third sauce that all but one of us liked better than either of the other two alone.

    Thanks again.

  8. Luna says

    Super delicious! I try to eat a 5 oz. salad with beans for at least one meal a day, and needed ideas for a good WFPB dressing to add to them to keep things fresh. This fit the bill! It’s great with kale and chickpea salads as well as with “Buddha bowls,” which usually contain greens, beans, quinoa, and other veggies.

    (I added a few squeezes of lemon juice to this recipe, and, as other people have stated, I also added more water than it called for.)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Luna! So glad this worked well with your salads and buddha bowls!

  9. Emily says

    This was super easy and quick to make. I added a little apple cider vinegar to give it some extra tang – it needed a little acid IMO – and it was a great dressing for salad (with harrisa-baked chickpeas). Will be making this for salads a lot this summer!

  10. Liz Ellis says

    Just what I have been looking for – food is so boring to me at the moment and I am actually craving a decent falafel and sauce on a bed of crisp fresh lettuce from the garden – shame I have missed out on your free recipe book – I would have loved to read that as I plan my next months worth of menus – ah well – what I will do is enjoy all these you have posted
    Liz

  11. Vanessa says

    Yum. Although I ended up doubling the water, garlic, and salt and adding a bit of lemon juice. Had it over a riced cauliflower bowl with corn and kale – delicious! Thanks!

  12. Dan says

    How long will it last if I remove the garlic powder? I know tahini paste lasts over a year but how does it change when thinned with the water (if at all)?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’m not sure, Dan! Tahini paste lasts a long time by itself but this sauce will keep in the refrigerator covered for 1-2 weeks.

  13. Kaarie Blake says

    So simple, so delicious! I add a tad of maple syrup to mine for some extra flavoring. I add the sauce to so many dishes, love your recipes. Thank you!

  14. KC says

    I used to make a miso version of this however I no longer eat soy products. So this recipe was a great reference.

    I definitely used more than 1/4c of water. As others have mentioned… it got thicker and pastey at first. But keep on whisking and adding way more water. It will get to a nice creamy texture.

    I also added juice of about 1/2 of a Meyers lemon, to taste. I can also see adding a pinch of cumin. Used it over a veggie rice bowl. Delicious and satisfying!

    FYI: I used Trader Joe’s organic tahini. It was really separated in jar and pretty much unstirrable (it was in my pantry long time). I remedied that by warming in microwave on very low power – one minute at a time. Initially just stabbing thick stuff at bottom and then eventually stirring it all together.

    • Carole K says

      I use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Its delicious! Along with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar (the very thick one from Napa Valley) olive oil, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and water. I’m considering using curry powder some time…but not now….I use this as a dip for fresh veggies…..lovely!

  15. Carmella says

    This was a perfect dressing! My favourite is when you don’t have to look up a recipe! I’ll remember this one! Served it over an greens salad with strawberries, apples and avocado. Delicious!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jamie! Hmm that shouldn’t be the case. Did you make sure to mix quite a bit, as you added more water? Did you change anything in the recipe?

      • Jamie Beuthin says

        I followed the instructions exactly. The more I stirred, the thicker it got, no matter how much water I added. It was almost as if there was some sort of chemical reaction happening between the water and tahini.

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Jill, what kind of tahini did you use? There’s a lot of duds out there. Check out our tahini review for best buying options. Also, this sauce is meant to be quite simple and go with a variety of dishes. If you’re looking for something more flavorful, perhaps try this ginger miso tahini sauce!

  16. Patricia Baerga says

    This may sound strange but I have seen “ tahini paste” referred to when making this sauce. Does any one know where to get this paste?

  17. Dalya Rubin says

    I just made your tahini sauce and added lemon. It was excellent! I poured it over a Mediterranean salad bowl!

  18. Dee says

    I made this several times and forgot to post. All I can say is that I have fallen in love with this on my kale and regular salads. I had to add a lil more water and sea salt but other than that, it’s delicious!!!! :)

  19. Laura says

    LOVE this!! Quick Q – how long is the shelf life? I am currently storing in a jar in the refrigerator

  20. Connie says

    Absolutely love it!! I always have a batch in the fridge nowadays (in fact, one at work and one at home)! Yes, it sometimes needs more water than is stated in this recipe but it also depends on how solid/liquid the tahini is. I always find it difficult to stir it properly in the jar without making a mess, so generally the contents at the bottom of the jar are just a lot more dense and therefore the closer I get to emptying the jar of tahini, the more water I need to make the sauce. If that makes sense….

  21. Alene says

    I just made this and want to say that if you plan to use it for a salad dressing, you will need to add way more water. I also added a squirt of lime juice. This was nearly a paste when I followed the recipe.

  22. Laura says

    EUREKA!! I just wanted to follow-up and let you know that I made it work! I bought an entirely new brand of tahini (365 organic) because I couldn’t find any at Trader Joes. The same thing happened as I added the water – after 1/4 cup warm water it was a mushy mess. But, I kept adding more and more water and finally it got to the right consistency! I probably had to add 1/2 cup or maybe more but it worked! I think I was stumped before because I didn’t realize I would have to add a LOT more water than what the recipe originally called for. Thank you!

  23. Laura says

    I love this sauce and I put it on everything. But, I think I’m doing something wrong. Whenever I make it, it just becomes very thick (like hummus or thicker) instead of some consistency that can be easily drizzled. I add even more water than the recipe calls for, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Once I stir it up, it thickens. It still tastes very good, but it’s not really a “sauce” any more.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Laura, I’ve found that adding small amounts of water and continually whisking the sauce until it thins out helps! Let us know if it still isn’t working!

      • Laura says

        I tried it again tonight and, alas, same result :/ I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong! Maybe it’s my tahini (I use Once Again organic tahini)? Maybe the water is too warm? Maybe it’s too cold? Maybe I’m not whisking enough, or maybe too much? I tried adding the water just a spoonful at a time, and it just kept thickening. And then there was one point (I wasn’t quite at 1/4 cup yet), where the oil in the tahini really started separating and there was no going back. I want this to work so much because it would be so much better if I could just drizzle it on stuff! Thanks for your help!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          It could be that your tahini has gone bad? Maybe try another brand? Lately we’ve been using Trader Joe’s and have had great results! Also, warm water might help! Keep us posted, I want this to work for you because this sauce is a staple around here and it’s so versatile!!

          • Laura says

            Well I bought some new tahini (same brand) and it worked a little bit better but still not ideal. Definitely at least pourable now but not exactly drizzlable. I think it must be the brand of tahini as you suggested. Next time I’m at Trader Joe’s I’ll pick up some of theirs and try again! In any case, it’s still a great dressing and sauce, no matter what form it’s in!

        • Therese Williamson says

          Make sure the tahini is fully blended in the jar. Add water all at once. Use double the water. I just mix it with a spoon & it blends fine, but I also use lemon juice in mine. which may make a difference. Good luck!!

  24. Klara says

    Hi Dana! Made this sauce today and OH.MY.GOD! I added a bit more water to make it more liquidy and poured it over steamed veggies from the farmer’s market. It definitely goes to my list of go-to dressings! Thank you :)

    • Haley Simmonds says

      Hi Christina,
      I have never tried tahini on pasta, but wouldn’t knock it ’til I tried it! I do know that using avocados, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper makes a GREAT creamy pasta sauce for cooked pasta or zucchini noodles! I know this is a little late but I thought I would put in my 2 cents. Happy saucing! Lol.

      – Haley

  25. Steph says

    Hi Dana,

    this is awesome! I was not a huge fan of tahini before, but now I really am. Made it yesterday and by the end of the night I was eating it by the spoon full :D
    I tried both versions, with and without lemon juice.

  26. Steph says

    Hi Dana,
    this sauce is awesome! It´s crazy how the consistency is still so thick and creamy and doesn´t lose the flavour of the tahini. I made it yesterday and by the end of the night, I was eating it by the spoon full :)
    I did add a little squeeze of lemon juice but only cause I´d already cut one up and it was left over. But I tried both versions and liked them!
    BTW before I tried this sauce I was not a huge tahini fan at all.

  27. MJ says

    Tried this last night – my husband loved it (he’s Egyptian…so anything Tahini is love for him) but it just tasted like saltier tahini to me. I must not have a palette to discern the difference between this and tahini.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s definitely a very mild sauce. For more kick, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a little maple syrup!

  28. annushka says

    Will be trying this! My only comment, why dont you include affiliated amazon links in your recipes? To try this, I just bought organic tahini on amazon… You should have earned commission on it… Jut saying…

  29. Lisa Frank says

    I’m a fellow Portland gal and love all your recipes! Just a heads up, on my Android phone, when I load your blog the ads at the bottom of the screen block all the social media buttons and make it really hard to Pin the recipe. If I try to close out the ad, a greyed-out box still covers the buttons. I thought you’d like to know. ?

  30. Lauren says

    I have a similar go-to tahini recipe! It’s just about the same, but I add a bit of apple cider vinegar too :)
    Love it!

  31. Sara says

    Thanks for this! I’ve recently become OBSESSED with tahini and a simple recipe like this really hits the spot.

  32. Anete says

    Hi Dana!
    Made this yesterday and it was great poured on a kale salad. Love simple recipes like these! The only struggle I had was that making tahini with my food processor took a long time, but after adding a little water it finally made it.
    By the way, this is the first time for me commenting here although I have made many recipes and I have loved them all. My dad’s favourite is One pot red lentil chili.
    Your blog is my favourite, I also adore your photography! :))

  33. Caroline says

    Love this! I always make a tahini sauce using only tahini, water and apple cider or lemon. I’ll need to try this one next time, the garlic powder must add such a huge flavor boost! :)

  34. Nicole @ What She Ate says

    I’ve always loved simple sauces like this. They’re often better than the ones you put more ingredients and effort in to. And, you can never really go wrong with tahini.

  35. Lynsey says

    Tahini is becoming a staple in my house. I recently made some tahini blondies and they were delicious! Can’t wait to try this and smother it on EVERYTHING! L x

  36. heather says

    My 3 ingredient tahini obsession is: tahini, lemon & maple syrup with salt & pepper. But this sounds fabulous as well! Will try on my salad today.