Tahini dressing is one of our all-time favorites for drizzling on everything from salads to bowls to tacos! It's healthy, easy, and the naturally nutty flavor of sesame tahini creates a wonderful base for other flavors and additions.
Today I'm sharing a recipe for lemon tahini dressing plus four other flavor variations, all of which are vegan, oil-free, gluten-free, and ready in minutes!
When you need a quick and easy way to boost the flavor of your salads, veggies, and bowls, you can't go wrong with tahini dressing.
These five different versions pair well with so many foods beyond salad! Try them on tacos, pizza, potatoes, sandwiches, and more.
- Lemon Tahini Dressing - the perfect balance of bright and rich flavors
- Smoky Tahini Dressing - same as above but with a subtle, smoky finish (<---yum!)
- Orange-Ginger Tahini Dressing - for those of you who like your dressings a bit on the fruity/sweeter side
- Green Goddess Tahini Dressing - made with fresh herbs = my personal favorite!
- Mustard Tahini Dressing - lively with zesty dijon
Ways to Use Tahini Dressing
Don't limit these delicious dressings to salads! Think about complementary flavor combinations and use these them as....
- a healthy dip for vegetable platters
- mayo replacement in sandwiches and wraps
- also for chickpea salad
- and in potato salad or as a dip for fries
Hot tip: pair the smoky tahini dressing with oven fries!
- Sauce for roasted, grilled or sautéed vegetables
- Creamy sauce for hot or cold pasta dishes
- And as a sauce for your favorite grain bowls!
Selecting the Best Tahini
Delicious tahini dressing starts with a good quality tahini. Of course, it should also be one that's available to you and affordable.
If you don't already have a favorite brand, check out this review by Minimalist Baker of the best tahini brands.
Or if you prefer to go the DIY route, it's very easy to make tahini at home from raw sesame seeds. Here's how to do it:
Begin by toasting the sesame seeds briefly in a heavy-bottomed pan for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Stir frequently so the seeds don't brown.
Next, spread the sesame seeds on a plate to cool completely, then transfer to a food processor. Process the seeds in intervals, stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. Blend until the tahini as as smooth and creamy as you like.
Tips for Adjusting Flavors
Feel free to experiment with the ingredient amounts listed below. For example, you may find you like a tad more smoked paprika in your smoky tahini dressing or a bit less orange in your orange-ginger dressing.....or vice versa.
We all have different palates, and in recipes that contain so few ingredients, even the smallest tweaks can make a huge difference!
Top tip: you can always add more of something, but it's not always easy to tone down an ingredient after adding too much. It's a good idea to try each recipe as written, and adjust from there.
How long does tahini dressing keep?
This will vary depending on the exact ingredients in the dressing, but in general, I find the basic lemon tahini dressing is best consumed within 4 days.
Versions that contain fresh juice or herbs may not last quite as long, up to 3 days.
Always refrigerate leftover dressing, and be sure to store it in a clean jar or container with a tight-fitting lid.
More Ways to Use Tahini
Tahini also creates delicious, oil-free vegan desserts. Try it in these Rosemary Tahini Cookies, and these Spiced Oatmeal Cookies.
I've also used it in place of the cashews in this Vegan Chocolate Tart with amazing results!
Of course tahini is right at home in any hummus recipe, like this creamy Za'atar Hummus.
More healthy salad dressing recipes:
Avocado Green Goddess Dressing
Creamy Harissa Dressing (tahini-based)
Ginger-Turmeric Dressing (Trader Joe's Copycat)
Nut-Free Vegan Ranch Dressing
Classic Vegan Caesar With Roasted Chickpeas (tahini-based)
Oil-Free Vegan Aquafaba Mayo
Carrot Salad With Tahini-Sriracha Dressing
If you try any of these tahini dressing recipes I would love to hear from you! Comment below to let us know your favorite.
Tahini Salad Dressing 5 Ways
Basic Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, grated or finely minced if not using a blender
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or agave
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Smoky Tahini Dressing - same as Basic and add:
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Orange-Ginger Tahini Dressing - same as Basic but omit lemon juice and add:
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 pinch of of orange zest
- ¾ inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
- black pepper, to taste
Mustard Tahini Dressing - same as Basic and add:
- 2 to 3 tablespoons dijon mustard; start with 2 Tbsp and adjust
Green Goddess Tahini Dressing (written in full for simplicity):
- ⅓ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup unsweetened and unflavored non-dairy yogurt (Forager Cashewgurt is my go-to)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced if making dressing by hand; chopped if using blender
- ⅓ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped if not using a blender
- 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped if not using a blender - (if you can't find chives, sub green onion)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon dulse flakes
- 2 teaspoon maple syrup or agave
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Blender instructions: combine all ingredients, and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt and acidity as desired.By hand: combine all ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until fully incorporated. Taste and adjust salt and acidity as desired.
- Refrigerate tahini dressing in an airtight container. Best consumed within three days.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.
I made the orange-ginger version tonight, and it is SO GOOD. I wanted to eat it all up with a spoon. Having it on an arugula salad with a pan-fried salmon fillet and drizzling some extra dressing over the salmon. I also dipped some baby carrots in the dressing while the salmon cooked and it's a good veggie dip. Super-easy and wonderful. Will try the smoky version next time with roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. Thank you!
Thank you for these recipes, I'm starting my health journey this week and this will help me out big time.
I've been looking for a tahini salad dressing for a while, and this one is perfect! So easy to make, it's the right consistency, and I love the variations in the recipes. Thank you!
Lovely dressing - I was looking for something to use on my salads during the week and this is just the thing! I made the herby dressing and added some fresh oregano as well as I had it handy, delicious!
I just made the smoky version....omg sooo good! I plan to use it on my salads for the week & as a drizzle for some air fryer cauliflower. I want to make them all! Next will be the mustard! Thank you so much for such delicious recipes!!
Thank you for these lovely various tahini sauce options.
Just wondering if I could use garlic infused olive oil or cooked garlic in place of raw garlic (I don't tolerate raw garlic well).
Maybe even caramelised garlic for a sweeter option?
Absolutely. Start with a small amount and adjust to your liking. Garlic powder is also great and easy.
love these ideas, thank you!
Nice selection and variety to keep things interesting. Really enjoying the orange ginger one at the moment. Thank you
Thanks a bunch, Sam! So glad you’re enjoying it.