Super Seed Spread
While you may be unfamiliar with tahini, it plays a central role in a popular dish you likely already know and love: hummus! It adds body and heft to dips and sauces while also providing creamy, rich flavor. The name itself comes from the Arabic tahana, or “to grind” (tahini is, at its most basic, ground sesame seeds). Sesame seeds are rich in phytosterols, which have been shown to have cancer-preventive properties. Grinding the sesame seeds allows you to access more of the nutrients that would otherwise be available due to the seeds’ tough outer shell.
See Also Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Dip
How to Shop For & Use Tahini
White or light tahini is most commonly available, though black or dark tahini can also be found. The darker variation lends a more intense and slightly bitter flavor. While you can use the dark variety in any of the same uses as the light, it works especially well in sweet contexts. Always stir tahini before using and store in the refrigerator after opening. Fresh tahini should have little separation between the oil and the paste. Tahini should never be astringent (a sure sign the seeds have gone off) or chalky (an indication it’s too old).
Not All Tahini is Created Equal
The consistency of tahini can vary from that of a thick paste to loose and liquidy. If you’re using the thicker variety, you may want to add a drizzle of water or olive oil, a little bit at a time, to reach your desired texture.
Related: Hummus Metamorphosis