I’m glad Sabrina posted on how to make your own tahini — buying it in the jars can be an expensive proposition, and it’s easy to make at home. Fats are altered when exposed to heat, so processing tahini at home enables you to be sure it never gets hot enough to denature. If the nut or seed butter does start to heat up during processing, you can always turn it off, tidy up the kitchen, wash some dishes, etc, and turn it back on again when things have had a chance to cool down.
I don’t often use oil when I make tahini, but if I do, I tend to use sesame oil. I pour the seeds into the Vita-Mix and put the plunger in the lid. As it starts to process, the paste starts to climb the sides of the blender carafe. I use the plunger to push them back down toward the blade and repeat the process for several minutes, until the oils start to release and the paste becomes smooth.
I just made some the other day, and used it to make one of my favorite kale recipes. This kale-tahini recipe can be used as a fresh salad, with red peppers or in-season cherry tomatoes for a splash of color. Alternatively, it works well when dehydrated as kale chips. This dressing clings to the kale and adds a cheesy note to the dried chips. The recipe below makes a big enough batch to dress 2 heads of curly kale (which takes more dressing than lacinato) as well as leave almost a pint left as dip for crudite (another lovely way to enjoy this dressing).
Kale Tahini Salad
- 1 1/2 cups tahini
- 1/4 cup tamari
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 4 scallions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- salt to taste
- dollop of honey
- 2 heads of kale
- Prepare the kale. I pull the kale off the ribs (you can save the ribs for soup stock — I keep a ziplock bag in the freezer and keep adding carrot tops, broccoli stems, etc until I have enough to make stock) and rinse it in the salad spinner. I then gather it into a tight clump on the cutting board, chop it into bite-size pieces and toss it into a big bowl.
- You can massage some salt at this step and allow it time to wilt down, but I don’t often have the patience for this so I pour on the dressing once the kale is washed and chopped.
- I make the tahini in the Vita-Mix, measure out half a cup and put the rest in a jar in the fridge for other purposes.
- Without rinsing the carafe, I put all the other ingredients in except the salt and kale. After processing to a smooth consistency, I taste it and add salt accordingly. I also like to add something sweet to cut the acid, so I add a spoonful of honey with the salt. Not enough to taste it, just enough to cut the bite.
- After mixing the dressing thoroughly into the kale, I toss in whatever veggies we’ve got that will add some color — usually cherry tomatoes or red peppers and red onion. Sometimes I add hemp or pumpkin seeds, sometimes carrot shreds. I’m looking for a splash of color, and a touch of sweetness and a bit of a crunch.
I was going to take a lovely photo of the salad all mixed and plated, but alas, Luke came home from work and snarfled what I”d left after my lunch all down in one sitting. Needless to say, we LOVE this salad, and find it to be very filling as well. What more can you ask from a salad? YUM!
What do you like to do with tahini?