Lemon Tahini Dressing with Vegetables
Even if you’ve never purchased a jar of tahini, I imagine you’ve probably eaten it, although you may not have known it. Tahini is a core ingredient in that most popular of Middle Eastern dips: hummus. The taste, when spooned straight up, hints mildly of peanut butter, though it’s thinner in texture and is notably high in calcium (which is part of what makes it popular among vegans, whose milk-abstaining habits leave room for bone-building foods).
Tahini is made of sesame seeds that have been pulverized into a thin paste and blended with oil. It shows up in cuisines from the Mediterranean to North Africa and throughout the Middle East. And while I’ll eat it drizzled on toast with honey (and, yes, stirred into hummus), whisking it into a dressing to swirl over vegetables is one of the best ways I know to enjoy it.
Much like I’m hard pressed to think of a vegetable that doesn’t brighten under cover of tangy buttermilk dressing, I’m at a loss for what won’t be made just a little bit better with Lemon Tahini Dressing. My favorite is to roast a big pan of root vegetables (sweet potatoes, radishes, fennel, onions, potatoes, carrots), add a cup of cooked chick peas for the last five minutes of roasting, and serve it warm with the dressing spooned over the top. An excellent meatless main.
Once you decide to stock your fridge with tahini, this Chicken Souvlaki with Tahini Sauce or Tahini Roasted Cauliflower from Cooking Light might be the logical next step for experimenting in the kitchen.
This dressing is a flavor bomb -- tangy, nutty, with a whiff of garlic, and hint of Middle Eastern spice -- it will elevate a simple plate of vegetables from plain to plainly delicious. It's excellent over any favorite cooked vegetable, from broccoli to asparagus, and tasty tossed into hearty greens, such as kale, Even better is to gather a variety of root vegetables, cut them into bite-size pieces, roast at 400 degrees until tender, and serve warm under a drizzle of this dressing. Leftover dressing can be stirred into plain Greek yogurt for a tasty dip with raw crunchy vegetables. Feel free to double or triple the volume, if desired.
- 2 tablespoons tahini, stirred well
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Roasted, steamed or sauteed vegetables
- Put all of the ingredients except the vegetables into a medium bowl and whisk vigorously until creamy and smooth.
- Drizzle over vegetables.