This luxuriously creamy and flavorful vegan tahini sauce is perfect drizzled on everything. Ready in only a few minutes, it makes everything taste better from salads and falafel bowls to vegan shawarma, veggie burgers, and grilled vegetables.
Rich and silky smooth, this delicious vegan tahini sauce is a wonderful dairy-free alternative to creamy sauces plus it's oil-free, gluten-free, and vegan! If you like tahini as much as we do, try my new, flavorful spicy green tahini sauce or this addictive sweet and spicy tahini sauce recipe. It's the most popular sauce on my blog!
I like to add a twist to my sauces and in this case, I think the nutty sesame flavor and pungent garlic benefit from a kiss of sweetness so I added a date - just one, to balance the flavor. Okay, I added one other twist too. Keep reading . . .
So simple, delicious and healthy to make from scratch, you'll never buy store-bought tahini sauce again. Basic tahini sauce is made from only 4 ingredients, here's what you'll need:
- Tahini Paste - simply sesame seeds ground into paste. Because tahini paste is the star ingredient, choose one that is runny and tastes good (not too bitter). Here are some popular, easy to find brands: Soom, Whole Foods 365 Brand, and Trader Joe's.
- Shopping Tip: find tahini in the peanut butter, health food or International aisle at the grocery store. Sold in jars or plastic tub. Or if you prefer order tahini paste online.
- Lemon Juice - freshly squeezed is best!
- Garlic - mince, press, grate/microplane fresh garlic (more details below).
- Salt - coarse ground, elevates flavors
Tahini sauce is super versatile - of course it makes the perfect falafel sauce! We also love it served with pita bread and hummus for an afternoon snack. It makes a healthy and quick salad dressing for cabbage, kale, spinach, and romaine based salads, and the kids love it for dipping raw veggies. I always have a jar in the fridge but sometimes I add a twist:
- Sweeten it up - add one medjool date which smooths out the flavours and takes the edge off the pungent garlic. Don't overdo it! Soften the date in warm water for a few minutes. Then pop it into the blender or food processor with everything else.
- Add some heat - add one or two tablespoons of pickled jalapeno juice for a subtle hit of heat and tang.
How to Make Tahini Sauce
Ready to get started? Let's make homemade tahini sauce . . .
- Prepare the garlic: Grate, mince or press the garlic. (See below for garlic chopping tips).
- Whisk the ingredients: tahini paste, garlic, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and salt together.
- Add the cold water: just a few tablespoons at a time. The tahini will seize up as you add the liquid, but keep whisking and it will all smooth out into a luscious pourable tahini sauce.
- Taste and adjust: for a more lemony tahini, add more lemon; taste flat, add salt; for a thinner consistency, add more water a teaspoonful or two at a time.
- Storing: pour into a jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Why Chop, Mince, Press or Grate Garlic?
Here's the 4 main ways to prepare garlic in a recipe:
- Chop - small chunky pieces of garlic if you like some texture in your food.
- Mince - finely chopped particles of garlic used when you want the flavor but not so much texture eg. for raw dishes like pizza sauce, salad dressings, dips or sauces.
- Garlic Press - modern gadget popular for crushing garlic cloves.
- Microplane/Grating - finely grated particles of garlic (very potent)!
4 Ways to Cut Garlic
A head of garlic is made of many individual cloves varying in size. Here are a few tips for peeling and chopping the garlic:
- Pull the clove apart removing the number of cloves you'll need.
- Place garlic clove on cutting board.
- Place large (knife) on the clove.
- Using a flat hand, hit the knife to crush the garlic (or use a wooden spoon, pan, etc instead of the knife).
- Peel the loose outer papery skins and the hard membrane. Cut the small hard root end off.
- To Chop Garlic: Pile the peeled garlic cloves together, hold with one hand and chop with the other hand using a sharp kitchen knife.
- To Mince Garlic: Once the garlic is chopped, place one hand on top of the knife blade (keep fingers straight out) and grab the handle with the other hand. Continue to chop the garlic using a fan motion over and back across the pile until the garlic is finely minced.
- To Press Garlic: peel the garlic, place one clove in the garlic press and squeeze the handles together. Cut the pressed garlic off with a knife.
- To microplane/grate Garlic: peel the garlic. Carefully rub one clove at a time across the microplane or smallest opening of a grater.
FAQ - Homemade Tahini Sauce
Yes, tahini sauce is a healthy, gluten-free sauce made from sesame seed paste, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and salt.
Yes tahini sauce is 100% vegan and plant based made with sesame seed paste.
Storing Tahini Paste and Tahini Sauce
Tahini paste typically is sold in large tubs. Because it's made of sesame seeds that are ground into a paste, it settles - the solids and liquids separate just like natural peanut butter. When you open a fresh tub, you'll need to give it a stir until it comes back together.
Once the tahini paste has been opened, store it in the fridge.
Store the tahini sauce in a jar in the fridge for a week to ten days. Which is perfect for a meal prep!
More Vegan Sauces
If you love this gluten-free tahini sauce, here's a few more vegan sauces to try:
- Vegan Southwest Dressing (tangy, creamy, epic flavor)
- Sweet and Spicy Tahini Sauce (impossible to resist)
- Vegan Tzatziki Sauce (3 ways)
- Cilantro Tahini Sauce (with jalapeños!)
- Vegan Tartar Sauce (super thick and creamy)
- Dragon Dressing (incredible, Buddha bowl dressing)
Easy Tahini Sauce (gluten-free)
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Basic Tahini Sauce
- 2-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ cup tahini paste
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 6-8 tablespoons cold water
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground sea salt (more to taste)
Sweet Heat Option
- 1 softened medjool date
- 1-2 tablespoons jalapeno juice
- Finely mince the garlic or use a garlic press.
- Mix the tahini, garlic, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl or jar. Whisk in the water a couple tablespoons at a time until the desired consistency is met.
- The sauce will seize up when you add the liquids, but keep whisking and adding water until it all comes together as a smooth, silky sauce.
- Taste and adjust seasoning as you go. Lemon makes it tangier, garlic makes it more pungent, salt enhances the flavours. Add more water if you want a thinner more pourable consistency.
Sweet Heat Option
- Place all the ingredients* plus 1 softened medjool date (remove pit) and 2 tablespoons of pickled jalapeno juice into the blender or food processor and blend until silky smooth. *Remember to add the water a couple tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is met.
- Store in the fridge in a jar for a week to ten days.
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