Creamy tahini pesto is the perfect healthy sauce. This pesto uses tahini instead of pine nuts and is creamy, delicious and so easy to make.
Ready In 5 minutes, this recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, Whole30 and low carb friendly!
Why this recipe works
- A brand new take on pesto sauce! You are not going to believe how delicious!
- Thick and creamy this tahini pesto is perfect for pasta, pizza, zucchini noodles, dipping veggies in or as a dressing for salads!
- Great use for basil plants in the summer time.
- Made with just 5 ingredients and a food processor (or high speed blender), this healthy, flavorful sauce is ready in under 5 minutes.
- I made this pesto without pine nuts and instead used tahini which is made from toasted sesame seeds so this recipe is nut free!
- Basil – fresh basil is needed to make the best pesto. This recipe is great in the summer with fresh basil from the garden!
- Tahini – nutty and so creamy, tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and has a very distinct flavor!
- Lemon Juice – helps to balance out the intense flavor from the basil. Gives a brightness to the pesto.
- Garlic Powder – I find that fresh garlic can quickly overwhelm pesto, but if you love it you could use 2-3 cloves finely chopped. I like garlic powder because it adds a savory note without overpowering.
- Salt – intensifies all the flavors.
- Water – use water to thin out the pesto, as tahini can get really thick on it’s own.
Check out the step by step story on how to make creamy tahini pesto.
Step 1: Tear basil leaves from the stems. Add the basil leaves to the food processor and process on high speed until fully broken down.
Step 2: Add everything but the water to the food processor and process on high until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally.
Step 3: Add water 1-2 tablespoons at a time depending on how thick you want the pesto.
Step 4: Store in the fridge in a well-sealed container for up to 5 days.
What is tahini?
Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds, just like almond butter or peanut butter. It is usually made with roasted sesame seeds and has a nutty, distinct flavor.
Tahini is great as the base of salad dressings and sauces as well! Some of my favorite salad dressings that include it are:
- Sesame Ginger Dressing
- Lemon Tahini Dressing
- Balsamic Tahini Dressing
How to use pesto
- Serve over pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash
- As a sauce for pizza
- As a spread on sandwiches or wraps
- Drizzled over roasted veggies
- Over baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes
- Drizzled over shredded chicken, air fryer salmon or used in tuna salad instead of mayo.
- As a dip for raw veggies
Make this into Creamy Pesto Dressing
Create a delicious creamy pesto dressing simply by adding
- 1/4 cup of water
- 1/2 lemon juiced
How long does homemade pesto last in the fridge?
Tahini pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days. Basil tends to lose it’s color and can start to turn black with exposure to air. Keeping it in an air-tight container will help with this.
Best practices for freezing pesto sauce
Yes! You can freeze tahini pesto for later use.
One of the best ways to freeze pesto is to pour it into ice cube molds. Freeze until solid and then store the cubes in an freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
Basil: Basil is really the star of the show when it comes to pesto. However you can also use fresh Italian parsley or fresh mint in place of basil.
Tahini: Adds a nutty flavor (without the nuts) but allows this recipe to be nut free. However, if you cannot use tahini, you could also try this same recipe with almond butter, cashew butter or even sunflower seed butter.
Lemon Juice: Lemon juice really helps bring a pop of fresh flavor to pesto. If you cannot find fresh lemon juice, you could also use white wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar.
Garlic powder: This recipe uses garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. Fresh garlic can often overpower a recipe.
If you love this recipe, you should try
- Pea Pesto
- Artichoke Pesto
- Lemon Tahini Pasta Sauce
- Sunflower Seed Pesto
- Pesto Crusted Salmon
- Pesto Tuna Pasta
What you will need to make this recipe
Tahini Pesto$4.59 recipe/$1.15
Guided Recipe Video
- 1/3 cup tahini - $1.13
- 2 large lemons, juiced - $0.84
- 2.5 oz basil - $2.49
- 1 tsp garlic powder - $0.10
- 1/2 tsp salt - $0.03
- 1/3 cup water - $0.00
- Remove the basil leaves from the stems. Add the basil to the food processor.
- Process on high for 30 seconds to break down the basil leaves.
- Add the rest of the ingredients (except the water) to the food processor and process on high for 1 minute, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of water to the pesto depending on how thick you want the end product.
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- food processor