Lemon Tahini Garlic Dressing

I love making salad dressings at home, and lemon tahini garlic dressing is one of my go to combos. It is really easy to make a bottle or a single serving.

What does tahini taste like?

You might not be familiar with tahini. Tahini is a paste made from roasted and ground sesame seeds, quite similar in texture to peanut butter, with a lighter and more earthy taste than other nut butters. It originated in Persia and from there became a staple ingredient all around the mediterranean and into bordering asian cuisine.

And just like natural ground nut butters, tahini will separate if allowed to sit unstirred too long. This means the sesame oil has floated to the top, leaving the solids at the bottom of your container. If your tahini has separated, you can either stir (or blend) it back together, or take out equal parts solids and oil for your recipe.

I keep mine in the refrigerator after opening to keep it fresh longer (since oils can go rancid in the pantry if you don’t use them up quickly enough). If you put it in the fridge, it also slows the separation process. If it is already separated and cold, let it warm to room temperature first to make your life easier!)

Is tahini good for you?

Tahini contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The oil content is also high (about 50%) in monounsaturated fats, which are anti-inflammatory.

Homemade salad dressings end up being a lot healthier than what you buy at the grocery store. One of the things making fresh avoids from processed commercial dressings is the chemical emulsifiers like xanthan gum, which can upset some people’s stomachs and is implicated in gut microbiome disruption.

Emulsification is making unlike liquids stay together and not separate, generally giving it a silky texture. In this recipe we’re emulsifying oil and lemon juice + vinegar (which are water based). In this case our emulsifier is garlic, you can think of it as a binding agent as well as a flavor profile. We’ll also be using tahini to give it a rich creamy texture, plus adds a savory flavor to balance the acid.

Notably, tahini is safe for people who have tree nut allergies, a fantastic plant-based source of calcium.

What is lemon tahini garlic dressing good with?

Here’s a few suggestions of food pairings that I think lemon tahini flavor profile goes well with

  • lemon tahini brussels sprouts
  • lemon tahini broccoli
  • cauliflower with lemon tahini sauce
  • lemon tahini sauce for falafel
  • lemon tahini kale salad
  • over soba, for a gluten-free asian inspired noodle dish.
  • as a dipping sauce for fresh veggies like baby carrots, cucumbers and bell pepper strips

How to make lemon tahini dressing

If you are making a single serving, stir the tahini and some of the liquid together first to thin it a bit, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients, then use immediately.

If you are making a larger batch, use a blender, which will more fully emulsify the garlic. For what it’s worth… don't ever let a recipe tell you how much garlic to put in. You measure that with your heart. 😊

A batch of lemon tahini garlic dressing stores really well, because the lemon juice acts as a preservative. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Mealtime conversation starters

Smiling dual carrot cartoon, used as an icon for reflective conversation starters

A mentor once told me: "Life is more about the questions you ask than the answers you receive."

I'm still trying to understand it, but I think that's the point. Questions orient our attention and energy. And even if we get an answer, it does not become our refuge; there is always another question. May we learn to love the questions and all the ways they organize our energy in this human life. ~Corey Muscara

Here's a question you can share with your dining companions to spark a reflective conversation, learning more about them and about yourself!

Question: How do you figure out when to listen to other people, and when to listen to yourself?

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lemon tahini garlic dressing is a great dipping sauce for fresh veggies like baby carrots, cucumbers and bell pepper strips
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4.72 from 7 votes

Lemon Tahini Garlic Dressing

Lemony, nice garlic edge, the cumin makes it earthy and complex. So yummy... be careful or you might get addicted😂
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time5 mins
Servings: 14
Calories: 56
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Mediterranean

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Equipment

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (optional; if omitting, replace volume with lemon juice)
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 4 cloves garlic minced finely or grated
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup water use as needed to thin to desired consistancey

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients, except water to blender.
  • Blend until fully incorporated and smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Add water a teaspoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Allow to fully blend then evaluate how thick or thin you want it before adding more.

Notes

To make a Single Serving
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced, or a few shakes of garlic powder,
  • Pinch each of cumin, salt, and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 tsp water to thin to desired consistency
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add all ingredients except water.
Whisk* to combine all ingredients, except water, until smooth and creamy, adding half a teaspoon of water at a time as necessary at the end. Put greens directly into the bowl, and toss to coat. Then add the rest of your salad ingredients and toss again as desired.
* You may choose to start working the tahini and liquid with a fork until it isn't lumpy anymore, then move to a whisk.

Hand Size Portions

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Tahini Garlic Dressing
Serving Size
 
2 tbsp
Amount per Serving
Calories
56
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Sodium
 
4
mg
0
%
Potassium
 
61
mg
2
%
Carbohydrates
 
2.5
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
1.5
g
3
%
Vitamin A
 
8
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
6
mg
7
%
Calcium
 
16
mg
2
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Hand Portions

When you look at the nutritional values of a meal to log what you are eating, that is called tracking macros. A lot of people use this method to reach their health goals.

Looking at hand portion size and using this method to gauge how and what you eat is also a great method to help you reach your health goals. Many people who use this method often think this form of tracking meals is easier and more sustainable for a lifetime.

Want to learn more about hand portion size and how to use it to reach your goals? Check out the article How to Get Started with Hand Portion Sizes.

Heather Lynn Darby helps office and tech professionals disrupt the cycle of chronic stress that undermines their health, and to recover from the negative effects of sitting at a computer all day. Find other articles written by Heather on her coach profile.

If you are largely sedentary at work and rely on your intellectual acumen for success, her take on body-mind interventions will help you find a balance between being "in the zone" and getting the amount of movement that will optimize your mental productivity and prevent health problems.