Tahini is the glue that holds hummus together — at least that’s what I’ve always thought of it as. But tahini paste, ground-up hulled sesame seeds, isn’t just an ingredient in a dip. This rich and slightly bitter paste stands on its own as a salad dressing, marinade and even as a cooking sauce for meat. Tahini is a staple in North African, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean (Greek, Turkish, Israeli) cuisines, and it pairs well with eggplant, cilantro and yogurt (all popular in those cuisines, as well). Store tahini in a cool, dry place like a cabinet. It is particularly resistant to rancidity, which is an amazing quality for a pantry item. Did I mention that it’s a near-perfect substitute in recipes for people with peanut allergies? Like some natural peanut butters, the oil will float to the top of your jar. Don’t worry about that; just mix it in and go on your merry, sesame-filled way.
- Let the battle of the canned chickpea hummus versus dried chickpea hummus (pictured) begin.
- Once you’ve conquered hummus, try it out in every single variation: Sour Cream and Onion Hummus, Buffalo Wing Hummus, Edamame Hummus and Green Herb Hummus.
- Pickled jalapenos and guava jam stuffed into Black Bean Hummus and Gouda Grilled Cheese is a flavor explosion of the best kind.
- A tofu twist on classic falafel, Tofu Edamame Falafel, Tofu Tahini with pickled shallots makes for lovely hors d’oeuvres.
- Lamb’s earthy flavors pair well with the bright, garlicky sauce in Nigella Lawson’s Lamb with Spinach and Garlicky Tahini Sauce.