Tahini Dip with Tomato

Although I grew up in Israel and was familiar with tahini, I never forgot the first time I ate tahini as a dip and not as the sauce that moistens your falafel in pita (and makes it easier to swallow). It was in 1997 in a party that Tamara, my semi-sister, threw in her apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She made it thick and creamy. It was a revelation to me because I didn’t know that you can make it as liquid or stiff as you like. Now I eat it with almost everything; omelets, frittatas, shakshuka, falafel, sweet potato boats, roasted cabbage, sweet potatoes or cauliflower. I even mix it with vermicelli noodles or drizzle it over ratatouille.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, tahini is a nutritious Middle Eastern condiment made with tahini butter, (ground sesame seeds), lemon juice and water.

The secret to a good tahini is the tahini butter. Therefore you should always buy Middle Eastern or Ethiopian brands. Because they still stone grind the sesame seeds as opposed to processing them in a food processor. The old technique gives the tahini butter a natural salty flavor and runny texture. You should make sure that it says on the packaging stone-ground. In Los Angeles I buy it in the Middle Eastern, Persian or Armenian supermarkets or on roasted veggies or in a falafel sandwich. 

Lemony Tahini

Quick and healthy (rich in calcium) Middle Eastern dip or sauce you can drizzle on everything; salads, rice bowls, casseroles, legume dishes, roasted veggies.  
Prep Time3 mins
Total Time3 mins
Course: Breakfast, Condiment
Cuisine: Middle Eastern, Plant-based
Keyword: Healthy, Plant-Based
Servings: 2
Author: Shelly


  • ¼ cup tahini butter
  • Juice of ½ lemon - about 2 tablespoons
  • ¼ cup water or more
  • !Serve with
  • 1 tomato - peeled and grated, optional
  • Olive oil
  • Sumac - optional
  • Any herb - optional


  • In a medium bowl or measuring cup, vigorously whisk the tahini butter, with the lemon juice and and water until smooth and fluffy. If the tahini is stiff add a little bit of water, if it’s too runny add a little bit of tahini butter.
  • Pour into a deep serving plate. Put the peeled and grated tomato over and a quick drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with herb and sumac. Serve with bread, crackers or vegetable sticks, or store in a container or jar in the fridge up to 5 days or

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