Savory tahini lime dressing with a splash of hot sauce pushes this easy dressing over the edge as a quick flavor boost for your favorite salads and a no-fuss way to dress up roasted veggies or grains.
Just when you think there can’t possibly be another tahini dressing, here comes another! It’s not really surprising considering how versatile tahini is. It’s got a smooth, creamy, subtly nutty flavor. As an ingredient in dressings, it combines well with acids such as citrus juice or vinegar.
What is tahini?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. My preference is making my own tahini because it tastes better, and it has a smoother consistency.
If you toast the sesame seeds before grinding them, you won’t be disappointed. Toasting brings out the flavor because the heat releases the natural oils of the sesame seeds. Toasting also makes the sesame seeds break down easier.
If you don’t have time to make your own, experiment with different brands of tahini until you find one you like. Check the labels – there should only be 1 ingredient. If there is added oil, which is often used in processing, put that jar back. Added oil means added calories we don't need.
I recommend buying tahini without salt. If you are adding salty ingredients, it may throw off the flavor if you start with salted tahini. Be mindful if you are using soy sauce, for example, making sausage crumbles.
This is a 6-ingredient, easy peasy dressing. Here's what you'll need
Tahini – as discussed, my preference is making your own or buying high-quality tahini with no added ingredients, including salt.
Lime juice – Plan on 1 – 2 limes for this recipe or at least ⅓ of a cup of lime juice. You may want more if you allow the dressing to sit as it will thicken up.
Soy sauce or tamari – Adding soy sauce brings forward umami tastes beyond salt. This is the reason why I advise against salted tamari. The depth of flavor of soy sauce is far superior to salt. If you like lower salt, you can use a reduced-sodium soy sauce.
Tamari is a gluten-free alternative. It tends to be stronger than average soy sauce, so start with a tablespoon and add from there.
Garlic – Tamari, and garlic are complimentary flavors. If you like extra garlic, go for it. I limited it to 1 fat clove of pressed garlic, but you may want more depending on what you are using your dressing for.
Date paste – A bit of healthy sweetener mellows out the sour of all that lime juice. I prefer date paste because it is a whole food, healthy sweetener. You can, however, use agave syrup, although it is more highly processed and has a high fructose level.
Hot sauce – A splash of spice, more if you like it spicy. I used friendly Tabasco sauce, but ¼- ½ a teaspoon of Sambal Oelek will also give you tasty heat. In a pinch, ¼ - ½ a teaspoon of chili flakes can be used.
- Mix the tahini and lime juice first. You’ll notice that the tahini will get lighter. That’s the result of the acid being added and is perfectly normal.
- Tahini will often thicken or start solidifying after being stored in the refrigerator. To make it easier to manage, run hot water over the sides of the closed jar. The added heat helps it to soften it. You can also just leave it somewhere warm if you are not in a hurry to use it.
- Sometimes, tahini will develop a layer of oil on the top. This is a natural occurrence as the solids from the sesame seeds separate from their natural oils. The tahini is perfectly fine to eat. You can skim off the excess, which results in fewer calories, or mix it in.
- Mix in soy sauce, starting with 1 tablespoon. Then taste and adjust the consistency before adding the garlic and hot sauce.
Tabasco is a specific brand of sauce made from ground chilies. Definitely use your favorite hot sauce, but be sure to read the label that it is vegan if this is important to you. Also, check the 'heat meter' if it is provided.
Tahini dressing is a delicious accompaniment for lentils, chickpeas, and vegetables such as sweet potatoes. Although tahini is widely recognized as an ingredient in hummus, it is also used in plant-based baking like bread, brownies, and cookies.
The flavor of tahini brands can vary widely. This is due to the quality of the sesame seeds used or processing methods. As a result, some tahini will have a bitter flavor. The best way to reduce bitterness is to add an acid such as citrus juice or vinegar. You can also add a sweetener to help balance the flavor.
Discovering tasty, plant-based salad dressings made without oil is easier than you think. It may take a bit of experimentation before you have a few tried and true with the exact measures of ingredients that suit you.
Once you master the basics, you’ll be whipping up tasty and healthy dressings in minutes. You’ll learn what minor spice adjustments you can make, say a pinch of smoked paprika, Berbere spice blend, or even chili powder.
Amazing flavors await!
Looking for more plant-based dressing ideas? Here are a few of our favorites:
savory tahini lime dressing
Savory tahini lime dressing with a splash of hot sauce is a zesty plant-based, oil-free dressing ready for salads, roasted veggies, or grains.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 0 min
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 10 Tbsp. 1x
- Category: dressings
- Cuisine: plant-based
- Diet: Vegan
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup lime juice (1 -2 limes)
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 tsp. date paste or another liquid sweetener
- ⅛ tsp. (or several dashes) of hot sauce
- In a small bowl or jar, combine the tahini and lime juice until the dressing starts to smooth out.
- Add the soy sauce, garlic, date paste, and a few drops of hot sauce.
- Mix everything until smooth, adding cold water or more lime juice until you reach the desired consistency.
- Be sure to look for tahini that does not contain added oil. If you use tahini with added salt, start by adding just 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Add more if desired.
- We used Tabasco for the hot sauce, but you can use your favorites such as Sambal Oelek or brands that conform to your dietary preferences. Pay attention to added ingredients such as garlic and sweetener as this will impact the overall flavor of the dressing.
Keywords: tahini lime dressing