Tahini is hot. This cousin to peanut butter has a similar consistency, but because it’s made from seeds and not nuts, it's a perfect alternative for folks with allergies. Most common use is in hummus, but try spreading it on bread with jelly, adding to a smoothie, or substituting it for anything you would use nut butter for. Not all tahini is equal however; the taste varies greatly. So I encourage you to shop around, try new brands, and even host a tahini-tasting party to discover your favorite. You can even make it yourself with fresh toasted seeds and a food processor.
At Vega, the macrobiotic school I trained at in the 2000’s, head teacher and chef Corneilla Aihara used to combine tahini with another ingredient new to many, the umeboshi plum, or “macrobiotic antibiotic,” to make a delicious salad dressing with a very unique, fruity, salty taste.
Corneilia’s Tahini Umeboshi Plum Dressing
Makes about 1 cup
3 umeboshi plums, minced (remove pit and soak in 2/3’rds cup water below for 5 minutes to remove paste from pit)
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
2/3 cup water
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
Whisk to combine all ingredients.
If you’d prefer a warm option for these cold February days, try one of my new, favorite ways to use tahini - roasted into a crispy crust for cauliflower. This dish is kid-approved and a real treat.
Roasted Tahini-Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower
½ cup tahini
½ cup water
salt, soy sauce to taste
Add mustard and Worcestershire
Add cumin and fish sauce
Add Sriacha or sambal oelek
Add fresh dill
Preheat over to 375F- 400F.
Cut the cauliflower into 2” pieces.
Mix the tahini and water – you want the consistency of a medium-thick salad dressing.
Add in additional seasonings, like the ones listed above. Start with ½ teaspoon each, seasoning to your taste.
Add in the cauliflower and toss, coating well all sides. For best results, use your hands to mix together. Lightly oil a baking sheet and roast, 35 – 45 minutes, until lightly browned, crispy, and fork-tender. Finish under the broiler for extra toasting.