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, a pumpkin couscous salad, or homemade pita, this recipe makes a 10-minute, Middle Eastern-inspired dressing to serve alongside.

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

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

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!

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Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Quick and easy in just 10 minutes!
  • Smooth and creamy
  • Adaptable, with lots of variations for texture and different herbs


ingredients for lemon herb tahini sauce on a cutting board.

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.

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.

Recipe tips and tricks

This is a simple recipe that’s quick and easy to make with a food processor. You can also make it by hand with a mortar and pestle.

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 tahini dressing for salads, you’ll want to thin it further.


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 tahini sauce

a bowl of creamy herb tahini dressing with pita.

Recipe FAQs

Is this lemon tahini sauce spicy?

No, tahini isn’t spicy at all, but you can add heat to the sauce if you’d like. Or the sauce adds a cooling element if you serve it with spicy food.

Can I freeze this lemon tahini sauce?

Yes. To freeze, make this recipe 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.

Can I make a vegan version of this lemon herb tahini sauce?

No problem! Leave out the dairy and use water or a plant-based milk to get the tahini sauce to your desired consistency.

If you love this recipe, check out other sauces and toppings:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Creamy Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce

5 from 1 vote
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


  • 1 Food processor


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


  • 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, ¼ cup 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.


This recipe makes about 1 cup of lemon herb tahini sauce. Nutritional information is included for a serving of 2 tablespoons of lemon tahini dressing made with Greek yogurt.
Be sure to stir your tahini jar well before adding the tahini to your food processor.
You can thin the lemon herb tahini sauce with more lemon juice or any kind of yogurt, sour cream, or water to your desired consistency.
Taste the lemon herb tahini sauce and adjust. If the tahini taste is too strong, add a tablespoon more lemon juice and yogurt.


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
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

This creamy lemon herb tahini sauce recipe was first posted November 27, 2022. It was last updated April 8, 2023.

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