This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make and gives you a great healthy homemade veggie dip or salad dressing to use all week long! I’ve decided to feature an easy-to-blend-and-create recipe this week to show you how many different things you can make in a blender…and not just smoothies!
Raw tahini, or sesame paste (think peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts), can be found in most supermarkets and health food stores. I bought the tahini for this blog post at a Greek supermarket and deli, but you can also find it in any type of Mediterreanean or Middle Eastern Supermarket as well.
In the US and North America, people tend to call sesame paste ‘tahini‘ but it the Middle East you will see it called ‘tahina.’ In Israel, there are countless brands of tahina for sale. They even have a sprouted raw tahini sesame paste from Ethiopia which is outstandingly delicious!!
What’s interesting to know is that in Israel, people rarely eat tahini straight from the jar. For them, it’s too thick and it’s not tasty without any spices or fresh lemon juice. It seems to me that in the USA, tahini is under-appreciated and under-utilized because people don’t know the traditional way to prepare it. In the recipe below, I will show you how!
Typically I will use one whole jar of tahina or sesame seed paste to blend up my tahina dressing for the week. Here, I used one 16-oz. (or 454 gram) container of tahina to make a container of 32 oz. (or 950 ml) of dip or salad dressing. Making salads that taste good is a key to raw food success, and there is no faster way to kill a good salad than by adding a store-bought salad dressing full of sugar, preservatives, flavor enhancers (MSG), thickeners and emulsifiers.
I always make my own salad dressing and I am a happier, healthier person for it!
Sesame seeds are a great vegan source of calcium and they’re also naturally high in zinc. Fresh lemon is extremely alkalizing, good for pH health. Cumin is known to aid in digestion. Cayenne pepper is very good for the heart and blood (circulation). Garlic is a natural anti-inflammatory food and a great immune system booster.
Tahini Salad Dressing/Dip Ingredients:
- 2 – 3 large garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 16 oz. container tahini (sesame seed paste)
- Juice of 2 lemons (freshly squeezed is best)
- 1 cup water (filtered is best)
- 1 tsp. cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)
- dash sea salt or Himalayan salt (to taste)
Tahini Salad Dressing Directions:
The lucky winner of the Vitamix Blender can use their new blender to make this recipe. For the commoners (like me!), you can use a normal blender. Peel the garlic and put garlic and water in the blender. Blend. Add the entire jar of tahini paste (with the oil which is usually separated on top), spices, fresh lemon juice and salt and blend again. Adjust spices to taste (you may need to add more cumin, salt or cayenne pepper) and blend again. If the result is too thick, add more water…slowly! Start with adding 1/4 cup water, blend and assess. If too thick, add another 1/4 cup water and blend again. The final result should be creamy, but not runny. (Each brand of tahina will give a slightly different thickness so you always have to experiment a little.)
Optional: You can also add 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and blend. Fresh parsley is highly recommended over dried parsley for this recipe (in the Middle East, no one uses dried parsley in tahina!). If you use dried parsley (which I do not recommend simply because fresh parsley tastes 1,000x better), add only 1 Tbsp. of dried parsley. The garlic and paprika are also optional, depending on your taste.
Tip: For garlic, try to find organic garlic which, not only is a normal size like you see in the photo and not GMO-ed gargantuan size, but organic garlic has a nice, mild fresh taste. The gigantic non-organic garlic from China (sold in most supermarkets) has an unnaturally strong taste (perhaps in relation to it’s unnaturally large size!). Choose organic garlic to really enjoy the subtle flavor of this healing food.
Note: The dressing should keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.
How to Eat
In Israel, this salad dressing is on the table with nearly every meal and most often eaten with a classic ‘Israeli Salad’ or ‘Arab Salad,’ consisting of finely chopped cucumber, fresh parsley and tomato. However, you can use it on any raw food salad as a tasty dressing. Try this combo: Peel 3 organic carrots and then grate with a normal size grater into a bowl. Add 1 celery stalk chopped, fresh romaine lettuce chopped, and 1 cucumber peeled and chopped. Mix all ingredients well and drizzle 4 Tbsp. of the Tahini Salad Dressing on top.
Another option is to serve this as a dip with freshly sliced cucumber and carrot sticks for a delicious 100% raw food gluten-free vegan snack. I recently brought that to a gathering with many cooked foods eaters, and they loved it!
This is certainly a healthier option than the ‘old-style’ spinach dip made with dairy (mucous-forming) and dried soup mix (containing MSG!) served in a bread bowl. Isn’t it time to start spreading the love and showing your family and friends how delicious raw food can be?!
Another popular Middle Eastern dish made with sesame seeds is called Halva, and it’s traditionally made as a dessert with ground sesame seeds and sugar. You can make a delicious raw food version of Halva using raw sesame seeds and raw honey (or agave). Click here to check out my Recipe for Raw Halva or Sesame Balls.
More Raw Food Dressings & Dips: