One of the many things I adore about my friends is that we will text each other, apropos of nothing and with zero pleasantries, about what we’re eating at any moment.
“I just made the most delish green tahini,” a girlfriend texted me Sunday evening.
She had whirled together tahini, scallions, spinach, lemon juice, honey, salt, garlic and some water to zhuzh up an odd squash hybrid she had received in a produce delivery box. “Would be so good on a sweet potato,” she said of her sauce. “I don’t have any, but yummy idea.”
And she’s right. A tahini-based sauce complements tubers exceptionally well, as evidenced by this beloved recipe for sweet potatoes with a soy sauce-spiked tahini butter, which Samin Nosrat adapted from Carla Lalli Music. Beloved is not an overstatement: It has racked up more than 4,000 ratings, a five-star average and hundreds of raves in the comments. (“Wow. It’s like discovering a new vegetable. What a great dish!”)
But the nutty flavor and creamy texture of tahini are perhaps best deployed in vegan dressings. The paste, made from ground sesame seeds, provides the body typically achieved with mayonnaise in Ali Slagle’s vegan green goddess dressing, which calls for soy sauce instead of the traditional anchovies.
Tahini also serves as the backbone of the sauce in Hetty Lui McKinnon’s dan dan noodles. Fortified with soy sauce, black vinegar, chile oil, a little sugar and some aromatics, the tahini slicks the wheat noodles and chunks of eggplant for a vegan spin on the Sichuan dish.
Any one of those dishes would make great use of the last quarter cup of tahini you might have in the fridge after making hummus. Consider making all three sauces to have ready to go for easier lunches or dinners.
And while recipes are always useful (I’m in the business of ’em, after all), consider experimenting with the dregs of your tahini jar, as my friend did. Turn it into a vibrant green sauce by playing around with proportions of your favorite fresh herbs and acid, whisk it into warmed cream with honey to drizzle over cake or ice cream, or do little else than blend it with garlic and lemon juice to jazz up roasted vegetables. You might be so delighted by what you come up with, you have no choice but to text a friend.