Make this simple 6-ingredient, 5-minute lemon tahini sauce for falafels, fritters, and salads! This lemon tahini dressing is creamy, nutty, savory, and super moreish! Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, vegan!
In a small bowl, combine the tahini, seasonings, garlic, and lemon juice. Using either a whisk or fork, mix everything until well combined.
Add ice-cold water, one tablespoon at a time, whisking well in between, until the sauce is a creamy consistency (perfect to drizzle over falafel) or to your desired consistency.Note that, similar to chocolate seizing, adding a small amount of water to tahini can first cause it to thicken up/clump. However, it will eventually smooth out if you continue to add more. I recommend using a fork up until it starts to thin, then you can swap to a whisk.
Allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes to meld and marinate. Then taste and adjust any of the seasonings to taste. Enjoy!
How to Store
Store: store any leftovers in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to a week (more when omitting the fresh garlic).Freeze: I haven't actually tried freezing the tahini sauce, though it should be okay. Leave headspace in the container and freeze for up to 2 months. Upon thawing, you may find you need to boost the flavor with additional lemon/garlic.Note that the lemon tahini sauce may thicken when chilled, so whisk in more water if needed.
Adjust to taste: the simplicity of this garlic tahini sauce allows you to easily adjust the quantity of the ingredients to your personal taste.
Adjust the thickness: simply use less/more water to adapt this into a simple lemon tahini dressing, sauce, or dip.
Don't skip the resting time: not only does this allow all the flavors to marinate, but it also helps to mellow the harsh, raw garlic flavor. The longer it sits in the lemon juice, the more mellow it will become.
If you're making a large batch: you may use a blender or food processor to mix the sauce. This is great for when it initially thickens, but in no time at all, it will be light, fluffy, creamy, and smooth.
Make sure to use ice water: this is the key to achieving the correct light and creamy consistency.
Optional Add-ins and Variations:
Sweetener: a drizzle of honey or maple syrup will balance the flavors.
Spice: add a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for heat. Adjust the amount to taste.
Sesame oil: a drizzle of toasted sesame oil will enhance the deep, nutty flavor of the sauce and make for a silkier tahini dressing.
Smoked paprika: add a pinch for a hint of smokiness.
Herbs: there are several herbs you could add. I prefer parsley, but dill, cilantro, basil, mint, or rosemary would also work.
Ginger: a small amount of ginger paste makes for a zingy, vibrant sauce.
Beetroot: to make a vibrant pink (and mildly earthy) version of this tahini sauce, either blend a steamed/boiled beetroot directly into it OR use beet juice (instead of water) to thin the sauce.
Turmeric: add a pinch of turmeric powder to make a beautiful golden tahini sauce.
Za’atar: a pinch of za’atar is fantastic with the nutty flavor of tahini.