Roasted Vegetables with Lemon Tahini Dressing
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, 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.
Roasted Root Vegetables With Lemon Tahini Dressing
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 roast a variety of root vegetables 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 large carrots
- 1 pound small waxy potatoes, such as red, yukon gold, or yellow finn
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large bulb fennel
- 1 large red or yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup cooked chick peas (optional)
Lemon Tahini Dressing
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons honey
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup tahini
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the vegetables into pieces that are all roughly the same size: 1-inch-wide carrot slices, 1-inch cubes sweet potato, halved or quartered potatoes, large wedges of fennel and onion. Put all of the vegetables in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Transfer the vegetables to the baking sheets and roast until brown on the outside and tender on the inside, about 40 minutes. If serving this as a main dish, stir the chick peas into the vegetables and return to the oven for a few more minutes
In a small bowl, whisk together all of the tahini dressing ingredients until smooth and blended.
When the vegetables are done, transfer to a serving platter with the dressing on the side to drizzle over the top.
Makes about 1 cup of dressing. You will have leftover dressing, which is excellent on salads and cooked or raw vegetables.