This Easy Lebanese Tahini Sauce recipe is smooth, lemony, and unapologetically garlicky. Oh, and it’s very healthy, too! I pour this on everything, and I'm sure you will too. Made in just 10 minutes with pantry staples, this Lebanese Tahini sauce adds an element of dairy-free creaminess to any Mediterranean meal (& it doubles as a garlicky & creamy dipping sauce for veggies, fish, & so much more!).
The Best Pour-On-Everything Sauce
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with sauces. They’re easy to throw together, stores like a dream, & they’re the best way to add an instant elevation of flavour to any meal in seconds!
This Lebanese Tahini Sauce is a true labour of my love for the perfect sauce, I couldn't wait to share this creamy love-of-my-life sauce. It's sooo garlicky, tangy, and takes 5 minutes to make⏤in other words, it's the perfect sauce. Pour this sauce on falafels, roasted veggies, salads, kofta, and even fish! This sauce makes everything taste a little better.
What Is Tarator Sauce?
One of the names of this recipe is "Tarator." However, this popular sauce can be found all throughout the Levant, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, & the Middle East.
Tarator is the name of any tahini-based sauce that is made with a mixture of tahini, lemon, and garlic. Although these three ingredients are the foundational ingredient it's common to find recipes that also include parsley, tomatoes, and or chilli paste-like harissa or chatta.
The main ingredient in this tahini sauce is, of course, tahini! (hehe 😋) With all sarcasm aside. What exactly is tahini? Tahini simply is a smooth paste made from ground, toasted sesame seeds.
Fun fact about Arab food names: They name their recipes after the main ingredient or the method used to prepare the dish. Tahini comes from the verb Tahana, "to grin" the word for flour also comes from this verb. So basically, when you say I'm eating tahini, it's like saying I'm something that's ground up. 😄
What Is Tahini Sauce Made Of?
All tahini sauce recipes have the same base ingredients—any variation in the recipes usually centers around this base method. I've opted for my first tahini sauce recipe to be the simplest possible recipe, and that's why this tahini sauce focused on the classic ingredients. Rich and savoury with just the right amount of lemon and garlic-y goodness. It’s a sauce that you’ll be tempted to pour on just about everything. Here’s what’s in our pour-on-everything tahini sauce recipe:
- Fresh lemon juice
- fresh garlic
- Citric acid (optional)
Where to find Tahini?
Thanks to the plant-based movement, tahini is pretty easy to find. You can find it in all major stores, but unfortunately, there’s quite a bit of variance in quality and taste from brand to brand, so it can be a little tricky to shop for.
High-quality tahini tastes deliciously nutty and buttery and should have a smooth texture. When you have high-quality tahini, it's so delicious you can eat it off the spoon.
If you wind up with a jar that tastes bitter or has an off flavour, take it back and try a different brand. I prefer to use a Lebanese brand called Al Kanater. I've been using it for years, and I don't think I'm going to change anytime soon.
When shopping for tahini, I've found it's best practice to check the production date before purchasing. When tahini ages it tends to settle on the bottom of the jar and becomes very bitter no matter how good quality it is.
What Do You Use Tahini Sauce For?
Tahini sauce uses are many and varied! One of our favourite, easy side dishes (or snacks) is simply roasted veggies (whatever is in season) served with a bowl of tahini sauce for dipping. You can use it as a salad dressing or try it with one of these Mediterranean-inspired recipes:
Lebanese tahini (tarator) sauce
- 1 cup tahini
- juice of one lemon
- 1-2 large garlic
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon citric acid optional
- Mash your garlic into a paste. This step is important to have a smooth creamy tahini sauce. Finely dice your garlic. Add a pinch of salt and mash the garlic with the side of a chief knife or the back of a tsp, until a smooth paste is formed.
- In a small bowl. Add the mashed garlic, tahini and lemon into a bowl and mix. You'll notice the sauce starts to get really thick. Now slowly add water a little at a time until you've achieved you desired consistency. I like my sauce to be the same thickness of most creamy dressings like ranch, when you pour it, it keeps some shape.
- Adjust season. I add the salt at the end and taste as I go. I start with ½ teaspoon stir and taste. if I need more lemon I will add more. If the sauce is too thin just add about a teaspoon more of tahini, stir and see if it's the thickness your want for your recipe.