Monday, December 15, 2014

wholefood step-by-step: # 21 tahini

Continuing on from last week with some of the Pureharvest wholefood items I recently received, today we're looking at tahini.

Tahini is a wonderful wholefood for its versatility and nutrient density.

What is tahini?
Tahini is sesame seed paste, made simply from grinding hulled or unhulled sesame seeds. Unhulled tahini means that the whole sesame seeds are intact, hulled tahini is where the hull has been removed.

Tahini has a nutty flavour and is mostly commonly used in Middle Eastern, North African, Greek and Turkish cuisine in a range of dips, dressings, sauces and desserts.

Nutritionally, unhulled tahini has a lot to offer. Who knew tiny little sesame seeds are packed with calcium, magnesium, B1 and zinc? You can read more here.

How can I use tahini?
There are so many ways to use tahini!

The most common of course being in humus, that delicious garlicky, lemony, chickpea dip synonymous with Middle Eastern food.

I make a carrot version of hummus with tahini, you can find the recipe in this post.

Another beautiful dip that calls for tahini is babaganoush (eggplant dip).

Carrot sticks dipped into straight tahini are a delicious combination and can be a great way of enticing kids to eat raw carrot.

I sometimes use tahini in a salad dressing, mixing 1 tablespoon of tahini with enough lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to create a smooth, runny dressing. You could add some crushed garlic or chilli and a pinch of sea salt if you wish.

On its own it makes a delicious spread on toast, rice crackers or corn thins. For a sweet version, spread tahini then honey on top.

Honey and tahini are a match made in wholefood heaven, mix a tablespoon of each with enough filtered water to create a 'dressing' to serve with fruit salad.

The other popular sweet use of tahini is in halva, I remember my mum buying halva from our local deli when I was child. It was a very exotic sweet in my suburban upbringing!

Where can I buy it?
Tahini is sold in the health food aisle of most supermarkets and in health food shops, in many health food shops you can buy it in bulk.

You can of course make your own, something I haven't done yet. Here's a recipe if you want to give it a go.

Do you use tahini in your wholefood kitchen? What are your favorite uses? Have you made it?

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