Taste is an important part of any diet. If food tastes good and you enjoy it, you are more likely to eat it. It doesn’t matter how healthy a particular food is, if you can’t stand that taste, you won’t want to eat it.
Raw vegan staples like fruit, vegetables, and nuts all taste wonderful on their own, but their natural flavors can be enhanced by combining them with other ingredients. This doesn’t mean you to resort to cooking though.
One food that you can use to liven up raw vegan meals and even as a stand-alone food is tahini. In this article we are going to explain not only what tahini is, but how to make and use this delicious condiment.
What is raw tahini?
Tahini is a paste-like sauce that is popular in Middle Eastern cooking. It can be used in a variety of ways, including as a dip or spread, as a dressing for salads, and even just scooped from the jar. It has a creamy texture that is similar to smooth peanut butter and it combines well with lots of other raw vegan ingredients. It’s an integral part of another popular Middle eastern dip – hummus.
Tahini is made by combining sesame seeds and oil and very little else. Recipes vary from region to region and family to family but, in most cases, nothing else is added. It’s even possible to make tahini without adding oil but it takes longer to make and won’t be as creamy.
You can buy tahini, but a lot of store-bought products contain unwanted additives. Some also have a bitter aftertaste. However, because it’s so easy to make, it’s very easy to whip up a batch in your own kitchen. That way, you can be 100% sure that what you are eating is raw, healthy, and free from added ingredients. Making your own tahini is much cheaper too.
How to make raw tahini
Tahini takes minutes to make and requires no cooking. In its simplest form, tahini is just ground sesame seeds. Sesame seeds contain oil and, when ground with sufficient force, release their oil payload to make a paste. On the downside, you really need to crush those sesame seeds to turn them into tahini and adding a little additional oil helps speed up the process. This also produces a smoother end product.
1 cup of sesame seeds
3-5 tablespoons of light-tasting oil e.g. mild olive oil, grapeseed oil, or avocado oil
Sea salt to taste (optional)
1. Put the sesame seeds in a food processor or blender and blitz on high for 30-60 seconds. 2. Scrape down the sides to make sure you get all the sesame seeds, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil, and blend again.
3. Keep blending and adding a little oil until you reach the desired consistency.
4. Add a little salt according to your taste. This is optional.
No blender or food processor? No problem. You can make tahini using a pestle and mortar. This will take time but it’s how tahini used to me made. Just put a small amount of sesame seeds in the mortar (bowl) and crush them with the pestle. Keep adding and crushing until you have processed all your sesame seeds. Add a little oil if required.
Because your freshly made raw tahini contains no preservatives, you should store it in an airtight container to keep it fresh. A glass mason jar is ideal. Homemade raw tahini should then be refrigerated and will last for a month. The oil will float to the top during storage so make sure you stir it before serving.
Nutritional values for raw tahini
Tahini is high in calories because it’s also high in fat. However, much of that fat is healthy unsaturated fat.
One ounce/28 grams of raw tahini provides:
15 grams of fat (2 grams saturated, 7 grams polyunsaturated, 6 grams monounsaturated)
6 grams of fat
5 grams of protein
2.5 grams of dietary fiber
Tahini also contains beneficial amounts of calcium, potassium, and iron.
Raw tahini dressing for salad
Tahini makes a great dip or spread, but you can also use it to make salad dressings. This is one of our favorites.
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup raw soy sauce
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
1. Put the tahini, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, water and parsley in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.
2. Pour the mixture into a jug or bowl and slowly stir in the oil.
3. Add the maple syrup and stir one more time
Your salad dressing is now ready to use. Serve immediately or refrigerate. This dressing will thicken when chilled so remove it from the fridge 15 minutes before serving to make it easier to pour and drizzle.
Using raw tahini for desserts
Most people associate tahini with savory food. That makes perfect sense because tahini is unsweetened and may even contain added salt. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use tahini to make interesting raw vegan desserts. After all, it’s a cornerstone of halva, a popular Middle Eastern sweet. Here is an easy to make recipe for raw vegan chocolate cubes.
This recipe only contains four ingredients, but it tastes amazing.
3 tablespoons warmed coconut butter
2 tablespoons of homemade raw tahini
1 tablespoon of raw carob or cocoa carob powder
6 drops of stevia or 1 tablespoon of coconut nectar or maple syrup
1. Put the coconut butter and the tahini in a bowl and place the bowl over a pan of hot (not boiling) water. Stir them together as they melt.
2. Next, add the carob/cocoa powder and mix again until they are fully combined.
3. Finally, add your sweetener and mix one more time.
4. Pour the mixture into silicon ice cube molds and put in a freezer for 30-60 minutes to set. Remove from the freezer five minutes before serving.
Tahini is a very versatile raw vegan food. It’s delicious when used as a dip or spread, and you can also use it to make a wide range of raw vegan foods and meals – both sweet and savory. It’s so easy to make that you should be able to whip up a batch in minutes. Add tahini to your raw vegan diet – it’s tasty and good for you.