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Creamy Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce

Spoon this creamy lemon herb tahini sauce over your favorite Mediterranean meal. Whether dinner is lamb meatballs with pine nuts and raisins or the vegetarian equivalent made into quinoa balls, a pumpkin couscous salad, and homemade pita, or you’ve discovered the joy that is fawaffle, this sauce is a quick and easy flavor-matched accompaniment.

I’ve patterned this lemon tahini dressing recipe on the sour cream sumac sauce from the Jerusalem cookbook by Yoam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. But this green tahini sauce also has echoes of basil pesto.

Note: Whole Foods sells a Cava lemon herb tahini sauce made with tahini, lemon juice, water, cilantro, garlic, and salt. Mine is not intended to be a copycat recipe. But if you love the Cava tahini sauce, try this homemade version and let me know what you think!

a small bowl of lemon herb tahini sauce on a green napkin with three pita, parsley, and a lemon.

About tahini

Tahini, meaning “grind” in Arabic, is an oily paste made from ground, toasted sesame seeds. It’s used in cuisines from around the Mediterranean and is a key ingredient in hummus.

Tip from the wise quacker: the sesame oil in tahini separates like with natural peanut butters. So be sure to stir it well before using. And unless you use tahini all the time, store your open jar of tahini in the refrigerator to prevent the sesame oil from going rancid.

Tips and tricks

This lemon herb tahini dressing is a simple recipe. It’s quick and easy to make with a food processor, but you can also make it by hand.

Stir the tahini well and then add it to the food processor bowl along with the parsley, cilantro, garlic clove, lemon zest and juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blitz until smooth, scraping the bowl down as necessary. You’ll still see flecks of herbs.

a food processor with the green-colored creamy lemon herb tahini sauce.

The sauce should be pretty thick at this point. To thin, start with a quarter cup of yogurt, sour cream, or water and blitz again. To make a lemon herb tahini salad dressing, you’ll probably want to add a bit more to thin it further.

Storage

Use immediately or store the lemon tahini dressing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. If you’ve made it with yogurt or other dairy, it will keep in the refrigerator for one week. If you’ve thinned the tahini sauce with water, it still needs to be kept in the refrigerator, but it will last two weeks or longer.

What to serve with this lemon herb tahini sauce

a bowl of creamy herb tahini dressing with pita.

Variations and substitutions

  • Sub in mint or arugula leaves for the parsley or cilantro, or use a combination.
  • Omit the yogurt and thin out the sauce with water to your desired texture.
  • Use a combination of sour cream and yogurt for thinning the sauce.

FAQs

Can I freeze this lemon herb tahini sauce?

Yes. To freeze, make this lemon tahini sauce up to the point of thinning. It will keep for three to six months in the freezer. To use, let come to room temperature, add it back to the food processor, and thin with yogurt or water as in the original recipe to the desired consistency.

Related recipes

If you love this creamy lemon herb tahini sauce, check out my creamy pesto dressing.

Creamy Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce

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Category: Sauces
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 111kcal
Spoon this creamy lemon herb tahini sauce over your favorite Mediterranean meal. Whether dinner is lamb meatballs with pine nuts and raisins and a side of pita, or you've discovered the joy that is fawaffle, this sauce is a quick and easy flavor-matched accompaniment.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • 1 Food processor

Ingredients

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice from about one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup yogurt, Greek yogurt, sour cream, or water plus more as desired for thinning

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients except for the yogurt to your food processor and blitz until smooth. Scrape down as necessary and blitz again until the mixture is smooth. You will have flecks of herbs.
    ½ cup tahini, ¼ cup fresh parsley, ¼ cup fresh cilantro, 1 small clove garlic, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Add ¼ cup of the yogurt, sour cream, or water and blitz again for 10 seconds.
    ¼ cup yogurt, Greek yogurt, sour cream, or water
  • Check the consistency and taste. Add more yogurt or water, lemon juice, salt, or pepper, as desired.
  • Serve immediately or store in a air-tight container or wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to one week, longer if your tahini dressing was diluted only with water.

Notes

Makes about 1 cup of lemon herb tahini sauce.
Be sure to stir your tahini jar well before adding the tahini.
You can thin the sauce with any kind of yogurt, sour cream, or water to your desired consistency. Nutritional information is included for a serving of 2 tablespoons of tahini dressing made with Greek yogurt.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 0.3mg | Sodium: 154mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 203IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
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What’s next

If you make this lemon herb tahini sauce, please please please leave a comment and rating. Thanks!

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