When I made falafel, I told you that the tahini was optional.
I said this because not everyone is a fan of tahini or even knows what it is.
But I’m slightly obsessed with it. Even before I started dating my Greek Armenian boyfriend, even before I had his meme’s homemade babaganoush and hummus, I was in love. With tahini, not him. I love him, but I’m talking about my love of tahini right now.
It’s enough to dedicate a whole post to it.
Tahini is like peanut butter that’s made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts.
That’s all it is, is ground sesame seeds and oil. You can make your own if you’re feeling adventurous. http://mideastfood.about.com/od/dipsandsauces/r/tahinirecipe.htm
It’s nothing exotic or crazy, though it does play a large role in the unfamiliar to most flavors of middle eastern food.
But I have one word for you, you who are wrinkling your nose at tahini.
Tahini plays a huge role in hummus. There’s a hummus craze right now if you haven’t noticed. Long a staple at the middle eastern table and a key player in any mezze spread (think Greek version of Italian antipasto), hummus has made its way to our grocery shelves, to our diet menus and to our daily routines. Carrot sticks and hummus. I bet someone in your office brings that for lunch.
Hummus is essentially chickpeas, garlic and tahini.
Tahini has such a complexly rich flavor. It’s more intense than peanut butter, a tad smoky even. It’s a flavor that can’t be substituted.
I have a minor love affair with tahini. I’ve always loved the flavor, but even more so recently. I’ve always loved peanut butter. Slathered on celery, melted on a warm English muffin, straight from the jar. But sometimes peanut butter gives me a tummy ache.
Sad. I know.
Craving my usual celery peanut butter snack but being wary of how it would affect my stomach, I grabbed the tahini from the fridge. Brad’s Organics makes great tahini and it even comes in a jar that resembles peanut butter packaging. Great if your kid has a peanut allergy and doesn’t want to feel left out or different.
I dipped the celery in the tahini and it was love at first bite. Carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, pita bread. So good.
Tahini makes a fantastic salad dressing. A tablespoon of tahini, some lemon juice and some black pepper is a nice change to your usual side salad. Use it as a sandwich spread. Mix with tuna fish instead of mayo and stuff in a pita with some sprouts for a Middle Eastern twist on the typical tuna sandwich.
If you’re getting bored with the typical flavors of your kitchen, try tahini and bring a little Middle Eastern flair to your lunchbox.
It’s a great item to have in your itty bitty city kitchen arsenal because it has a long shelf life and it’s extremely versatile.
Most importantly, though, it’s delicious!