Lemon herb tahini is packed with flavor and so easy to make. Just 5 minutes and a few pantry ingredients, this lemon herb tahini sauce is a simple way to add so much flavor to any meal! Bright, fresh and creamy, herb lemon tahini sauce is great for dipping veggies, as a sauce for sandwiches or wraps or as a salad dressing.
Why you will love this recipe
- Easy to make – all you need is 5 minutes an a food processor (or blender or immersion blender) to make this delicious lemon herb tahini. Even if you don’ have a food processor, you can finely chop the herbs and make the sauce in 5 minutes or less.
- Simple, healthy ingredients – these simple ingredients are almost always in my fridge/pantry. This recipe is creamy without any milk or cream and is packed with flavor. It’s vegan, gluten free, dairy free, Whole30, paleo and low carb friendly.
- Versatile – use this lemon herb tahini sauce on everything! It’s a great way to add more flavor to any dish and the flavor of this sauce can easily be changed by using different herbs.
- Tahini – tahini is made from sesame seeds and has the consistency of natural peanut butter. It’s nutty and rich in flavor (tastes like sesame seeds). Tahini creates super creamy sauces without any dairy or cream. It’s also a wonderful base for creamy dressings.
- Lemons – lemon helps to bring brightness to this sauce and helps to mellow out some of the strong flavors from the tahini.
- Fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley and cilantro) – use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. I always have flat leaf parsley and cilantro on hand, but you could also use fresh mint, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary. Note that the thyme, oregano and rosemary are very strong flavors so start off with less and add more as you go. Dried herbs can also be used (see ideas below)
- Spices: Salt, garlic powder – salt helps to elevate the flavor of the lemon herb tahini sauce. Garlic powder easily combines into the tahini and gives the sauce umami qualities. I prefer garlic powder over fresh garlic since fresh garlic can sometimes overpower the flavors. If you love fresh garlic, use 1-2 cloves grated (so that it will easily mix in with the other ingredients).
- Water – water helps to thin out the tahini and make this into more of a pourable sauce. The water also helps to dilute the rest of the ingredients, making it less intense.
How to make lemon herb tahini
Add the tahini, lemon juice, fresh herbs, salt, garlic powder and ¼ cup of water to a small food processor, blender or to a high-sided cup using an immersion blender.
Process on high until the fresh herbs are broken down.
Check the consistency of the sauce, if you want it thicker, add a bit more tahini. If you want it thinner, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. Note that the lemon tahini sauce will get thicker as it sits.
- Blend in a small food processor, high speed blender or using an immersion blender. If you don’t have a high-speed blender you can finely chop the herbs and mix everything with a spoon or fork.
- Use any fresh herbs you have on hand for this lemon tahini sauce. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can use dried herbs. You will need about 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence would be best).
- Use the leaves and thin stems of herbs like flat leaf parsley and cilantro. They are packed with flavor, don’t waste them!
- Love lemon? Add some lemon zest to the sauce to increase the lemon flavor without watering down the sauce.
- Tahini based sauces and dressings will thicken when stored in the fridge. When you take it out of the fridge, allow this sauce to sit out for a few minutes before adding in more water.
- If the sauce is too thin, add more tahini (1/2 – 1 tablespoon at a time). If the sauce is too thick, add water, 1 or two tablespoons at a time.
What ways to use lemon herb tahini sauce
- On wraps and sandwiches
- On salads as a dressing
- As a dip for fresh vegetables, roasted vegetables, air fryer veggies, or broccoli tots
- On falafel, sweet potato patties or bean burgers
- As a dressing for Vegan Shawarma or Chicken Rice Shawarma
- As a dressing for broccoli slaw or shredded cabbage
- Use as a sauce over quinoa, rice or cooked cauliflower
- Over salmon or chicken to add some flavor
Optional additions to the lemon herb tahini dressing
- Sweetness: Depending on the brand of tahini you are using; you may find the tahini to be bitter. If that is the case, add about 1 teaspoon of maple syrup or honey.
- Spice: Who doesn’t love a good kick of heat. Add crushed red pepper flakes to the dressing for some spice. Freshly grated garlic can also add a different kind of spice to the sauce. You can add 1-2 cloves of finely grated garlic to the herb tahini sauce to give it more of a garlic flavor.
- Deep, rich flavor: add 1-2 cloves of roasted garlic to give a sweet, deep intense flavor to the sauce. You can also add Dijon mustard (about 1 teaspoon) to give the sauce an umami quality. Any more than that and you will start to taste the mustard.
What is tahini
Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds (just like peanut butter or almond butter). It’s smooth, creamy and has a very nutty flavor. The overarching flavor you get is of course sesame seeds. Tahini can be made from roasted or raw sesame seeds. The flavor of the tahini will be different depending on if the seeds were roasted first.
Tahini can be used in so many ways. It’s great as a base for dressings and sauces but can also be added to baked goods (like cookies or brownies) and is wonderful in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean inspired dishes. In fact, tahini is one of the main ingredients in hummus!
Note: When you first open a jar of tahini, you will notice there is likely a layer of oil on top (just like natural peanut butter or almond butter). Do not discard the oil, use a knife or spoon to stir it in. Stirring the oil back in makes the tahini more pourable and gives it the perfect consistency.
Is tahini nut free?
Yes, tahini is made from ground sesame seeds, not nuts, so it’s nut free. However, some people are also sensitive/allergic to sesame seeds so be sure to let people know you are using it in recipes for allergy awareness.
Where can you buy tahini
Tahini is now available at most grocery stores. Sometimes it can be found with the other nut and seed butters and sometimes it’s in the international food section of the grocery store. You can also find tahini online.
My go-to tahini is from Trader Joe’s. It’s inexpensive and has a great flavor. Whole Foods brand of tahini is also very delicious. If you need to find tahini online, Thrive Market is great and super affordable. Soom Foods tahini is also delicious and is carried in many natural grocery stores.
Can you use dried herbs?
Yes, if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can use dried herbs instead in this lemon herb tahini dressing. To ensure the flavors are balance, you will want to use about 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (up to 3 teaspoons max).
Some great dried herbs would be Italian seasoning, herbs de provence or a combination of dried parsley, basil and thyme.
What other recipes use tahini
Fridge: Store leftover lemon herb tahini dressing in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
Freezer: Store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months. I recommend pouring this into individual 1 tablespoon cubes so you can easily defrost one or two servings at a time.
Tahini – if you don’t have tahini on hand, you can use sunbutter, almond butter, or cashew butter in place of the tahini.
Lemon juice – you could also use white wine vinegar, lime juice or apple cider vinegar (these will change the flavor slightly). You will need about 2 tablespoons.
Fresh herbs (parsley and cilantro) – use whatever herbs you have on hand. Note that herbs like oregano, thyme and rosemary are very pungent, especially fresh and should be used in moderation at first. You can also use dried herbs. You will need about 2 teaspoons of dried herbs (Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence would be best).
Garlic powder – you can also use freshly grated garlic, but it will change the flavor since fresh garlic is a very strong flavor.
If you love this recipe, try these other great sauces
Lemon Herb Tahini
- Add all the ingredients to a small food processor, a blender or to a cup with high sides (to use an immersion blender).
- Blend on high until the tahini is well incorporated and the herbs have been broken up.
- Add more water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time.