Made from Scratch: Tahini

Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. It is a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. You are probably most familiar with tahini as an ingredient in hummus.

Sesame seeds are little nutritional powerhouses. They are rich in copper, are an excellent source of manganese, and the seeds are also a good source of calcium, iron, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. 

Tahini is an unusual ingredient that can sometimes be hard to find in your grocery store -- and when you do find it, it can be quite expensive. Luckily, making your own tahini is pretty simple and requires only two ingredients -- sesame seeds (buying in bulk is most cost-effective) and a neutral-flavor oil. 

Aside from making use of tahini in a hummus recipe, it also is a key ingredient in baba ganoush, chicken schawarma. Tahini also makes an excellent ingredient in dips, savory salad dressings, and sauces. 

Tahini (printer-friendly version)
makes about 1 cup

1 cup sesame seeds
2-4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil, olive oil, or canola oil
fine sea salt, to taste

1. Toast the sesame seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant. Remove the seeds from the skillet and place on a large plate or baking sheet to cool.
2. Add the cooled sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process the seeds for 2-3 minutes or until crumbly.
3. Add two tablespoons of oil and process for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a smooth paste forms. Add more oil, one tablespoon at a time, for a thinner tahini. Season to taste with salt.
4. Spoon the tahini into a container with an airtight lid. The tahini can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks.