Nomi Zysblat's paletas use ingredients ranging from halva and tahini to arak and avocado. Nomi Zysblat's paletas use ingredients ranging from halva and tahini to arak and avocado. Popsicles are popping up in all sorts of unconventional flavors, from arak to avocado to tahini. (Photo: Assaf Dudai)

6 ways to cook with tahini that don’t involve hummus

This simple sesame seed spread is surprisingly versatile.

We at the Israeli Kitchen have made no secret of our affection for hummus. This dip-to-end-all-dips is a favorite of snack lovers the world over, as well as street food enthusiasts and a growing legion of Mediterranean food truck followers. And if you know what's in this stuff, you probably love it even more. Aside from the beloved chickpea, a key ingredient in hummus is tahini, which is basically sesame seeds in spreadable form.

Hummus is arguably tahini’s most popular use, but did you know that there are all sorts of things you can make with tahini that go beyond hummus? Like way, way beyond? The Israeli Kitchen knows, and we've brought you six of them.

Tahini cookies

A stack of Tahini cookies.A stack of Tahini cookies. (Photo: Alexsvirid/Shutterstock)

Baking with tahini is a little like baking with peanut butter. It's ridiculously easy, and it adds a slight sweetness and depth that you don't get from sugar or other sweeteners. But unlike peanut butter, tahini gives these cookies a gourmet flavor, while retaining what Israeli Kitchen contributor Sarah Berkowitz calls 'the well-loved 'crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside' texture that has us all coming back for more."

The Israeli Kitchen has two tahini cookie recipes in its collection, here and here.


Tahini salad dressing

bowl of tahini salad dressing with mintTahini with a little crushed, dried mint in it helps the traditional dressing of olive oil and lemon juice to pull all the elements together. (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

You have your Caesar, you have your French, you have your vinaigrette. But you haven't had a truly Mediterranean salad until you've drizzled it with tahini dressing. In this recipe from Israeli Kitchen contributor Miriam Kresh, tahini is capped off by a small amount of little crushed, dried mint, effortlessly pulling together the flavors of the olive oil and lemon juice, served with a delicious quinoa tabbouleh.

Find our recipe here.


Tahini hot chocolate

cup of tahini hot chocolateGive your hot cocoa a Mediterranean upgrade. (Photo: Claudia Holzmann/Shutterstock)

If this doesn't propel tahini into the "miracle condiment" category, we don't know what does. The addition of tahini in hot chocolate has two benefits: it adds a creamy, nutty texture; and it brings a Mediterranean flair. This recipe – which is vegan, low-fat and naturally sweetened with agave syrup – is a healthy eater's dream.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit can be found here.


Tahini yogurt sauce

Yogurt tahini sauce with roasted eggplants and bell peppersYogurt tahini sauce with roasted eggplants and bell peppers (Photo: Miriam Kresh)

Using tahini as a dip or spread is a long-held tradition. This yogurt sauce is light, aromatic and an excellent accompaniment to many Mediterranean foods, including eggplant, tabbouleh and beet salad.

Find our recipe here.


Tahini carrot cake

Tahini Carrot CakeSoom's website includes recipes for all sorts of delicious tahini-based goodies, like Tahini Carrot Cake. Yum! (Photo: Soom)

Once upon a time, three sisters from Philadelphia loved tahini so much that they started a company devoted to it. This company, called Soom, now produces a line of sesame-based spreads that celebrate the versatility and healthfulness of tahini. In addition to producing and selling the spreads, the Soom sisters like to share their favorite tahini recipes on their website – and some of them, like this cozy-looking tahini carrot cake, look downright fantastic.

Find the recipe here.


Tahini popsicles

tahini rosewater raspberry popsiclesThese popsicles are made with tahini, rosewater and raspberries. (Photo: Courtesy of Tasty Yummies)

If you're one of those people who likes finding seemingly disparate ingredients and putting them together to make something wonderful, look no further than this quirky popsicle idea from the Tasty Yummies blog. In addition to being a stellar alternative to peanut butter, it turns out that tahini also freezes well, and makes a uniquely awesome pairing with rosewater and raspberries for these fun popsicles.

Find the recipe here.

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Related Topics: Healthy eating, Recipes