Tahini is the basis for several Eastern Mediterranean dishes. While you may not be hugely familiar with it, it can form part of hummus, a baba ghanoush, as a dipping sauce with falafel, or as a delicious dressing for a refreshing salad. Here you will learn how to make tahini paste with a blender, so you never have to go without.
Tahini paste can be difficult to purchase at times. It’s not commonly found on supermarket shelves or in small produce stores. However, fortunately, the raw ingredients for it are more easily accessible and so it’s possible to create it from home.
Ingredients You Need To Make Tahini Paste With Blender
Tahini is comprised of either two or three basic ingredients. While this is simple enough, the specific type of ingredients and how they’re prepared to make a huge difference to the results you’ll achieve (and the taste too).
The basic ingredients are:
- Sesame seeds
- Salt (as an occasional third ingredient)
Sesame seeds come in two varieties: hulled sesame seeds and unhulled sesame seeds.
The unhulled sesame seeds have their casing/shell intact and enjoy a darker appearance. When toasted, these create a bitter taste though.
Also, when blending, they make it much harder to create a perfectly smooth paste or sauce in the blender too. Therefore, we highly recommend choosing hulled sesame seeds over the alternative.
Beyond this, it’s sometimes possible to purchase pre-roasted, hulled sesame seeds rather than raw ones. We’ll explain later how to roast your seeds before blending them but buying already roasted is another way to go.
With pre-roasted sesame seeds, you lose the ability to know how they were roasted and whether the process would have been something you’d disagree with.
For example, has the commercial oven been previously used to roast animal meat? In most cases, you just don’t know.
Oil is the second ingredient of the two essential ones to make tahini paste with a blender.
You should not skimp here. Use only extra virgin olive oil. Don’t bother with other types of oils unless you prefer them and know how they’ll turn out. Traditionally, only this type of olive oil is used in this type of cuisine.
The oil provides the creaminess of the finished paste. If you particularly don’t like or find olive oil palatable, then it’s possible to substitute it with avocado oil, vegetable oil, or corn oil.
It will alter the taste and the creaminess to some extent, so the results will be changed. But it is possible to modify the recipe in this way should you wish to do so.
Salt is an optional extra to add to the recipe. For some people, it makes the sauce taste better. Table salt or sea salt works fine.
Equipment You Need
To create a tahini paste, the smoother, the better. Also, the method can be used to create a sauce or to use the tahini in other foods. For example, as a sauce, it can go over a salad.
Therefore, there is a strong need for a blender here. Whilst it’s possible to grind the seeds down from coarseness to a finer finish by hand, it’s surely harder work than necessary.
The blender doesn’t need to be commercial grade, but it must be able to create a smooth finish from initially coarse ingredients.
Also, if you are purchasing unroasted sesame seeds, you’ll need access to an oven and a baking sheet with a high rim to avoid losing any of the seeds.
Failing that, it’s possible to toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan instead.
Step By Step Tahini Guide
The sesame seeds will need to be roasted or toasted. If you’re purchasing hulled, unroasted sesame seeds, there are two approaches to roasting or toasting them:
- Roasting in the Oven: Heat the oven to 170°C or 340°F. Use a sheet pan and fill it with the hulled sesame seeds. Create a smooth layer. Roast the seeds for approximately 8-10 minutes. The seeds will turn brown, and their natural aroma will be released. Remove the pan and let it cool for up to half an hour.
- Toasting in the Pan: Fill a dry pan with the sesame seeds. Use moderate heat to avoid burning any seeds. Frequently stir them with a wooden spatula to ensure even toasting without burning them. Wait until their natural fragrance is released and they take on a brown hue. At this point, remove the pan from the heat. The seeds can then be carefully removed.
Wait until the seeds have fully cooled for best results.
Then add them to the blender. Process the seeds until it creates a dry, crumbly consistency. At this point, you’re ready to begin adding the oil.
Gradually blend in the extra virgin olive oil and blend the mixture until it transforms into a smooth paste. Roughly 3-4 tablespoons of the oil are usually enough. Err on the side of caution and use less oil, blend it, and confirm how smooth and creamy the sauce has become. Add more oil as required.
Be sure to scrape around the bottom and sides of the blender, so all whole sesame seeds are properly blended and don’t end up in the sauce. Know that tahini paste isn’t like liquid when it’s ready. It’s thicker and with that lovely creamy consistency. So, don’t overdo it with the oil or the blending.
How Can Homemade Tahini Paste Be Stored?
Many people choose to store homemade tahini paste in a mason jar or something similar. The trick is that it’s completely airtight once sealed.
When sealed in this way, tahini paste is good in the refrigerator for about 3-4 weeks, give or take.
It’s also possible to freeze it. This needs to be done ASAP and in an airtight container again. It should be fine for at least three months this way and once defrosted, will stay fresh for up to a month.
When stored in the refrigerator, the paste can separate due to the use of olive oil. However, just giving the contents of the jar a good stir is enough to reconstitute it. It does not affect the taste.
What To Use Your Tahini Paste For
Tahini paste is used for a few different foods and dishes. Here are three examples:
Falafel Tahini Dressing – Falafel is a Middle Eastern delicacy that’s found its way to other shores. As a dry food, it benefits from a dip or dressing. Tahini is one option to make this food more interesting and to improve its presentation on the plate too.
Hummus – Tahini is a core part of many hummus recipes. Countless cooks refuse to make hummus without it. If you prefer homemade hummus, then it’s great to have some tahini ready for use when needed.
Mediterranean Salad with Tahini – Salads are fabulous when adding a tahini dressing. When using it for this purpose, it’s helpful to make the blended consistency a little thinner than usual. This helps the tahini sauce to spread more evenly over the salad.