Serious Eats: Recipes

Seriously Meatless: Tahina

Note: Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe to expand our vegetarian repertoire.

[Photograph: Michael Natkin]

If you just looked at the picture and didn't read the title, you probably just thought this was hummus, right? Wrong! While they look superficially similar, hummus is made primarily of chickpeas, while tahina is a puree of sesame seeds seasoned with lemon juice and garlic.

Hummus is well-known in the west, inspiring frightful variations with textures comparable to drywall cement, while tahina's praises go unsung. Which is a shame, because it is easy to throw together, delicious, and very nutritious.

To make matters more confusing, tahina can also be spelled tehineh or tehina, and its main ingredient is tahini. All you have to keep in mind is that tahini is just the pureed raw sesame seeds, while tahina is the prepared sauce.

Once you've made it, which takes all of five minutes, serve your tahina as a simple appetizer with toasted pita and olives, as a sauce with mujadara or falafel, or as one component of a larger meze.

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