This rich and creamy vegan tahini sauce recipe is super versatile and ideal to serve with many recipes. It’s easy to make with only a few simple ingredients and can enhance whatever you pair it with.
I love to serve it as falafel sauce, but you can also use it as salad dressing or sauce for roasted/ steamed vegetables.
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Is Tahini Sauce Vegan?
There’s no standard definition or recipe for tahini sauce, although many options are vegan. If buying something pre-made from a store or at a restaurant, it’s always best to check what ingredients are used.
Tahini is simply made from ground sesame seeds and is vegan, while tahini sauce adds other ingredients to flavor and thin-out the tahini. This recipe brightens tahini flavor with lemon juice, maple syrup and garlic.
Lemon Tahini Dressing Ingredients
This recipe uses a few simple ingredients to create flavorful sauce. They include:
- Tahini: Start off with some tahini, a blended sesame seed paste.
- Water: Since tahini is super thick, you’ll need water to thin out the tahini and create a saucy consistency. You can add more water, or less, depending on the consistency you want. Tahini sauce thickens as it sits (and after it’s been refrigerated) so you may need to add more later.
- Lemon juice: Brighten the rich tahini with some acidity from lemon juice. You could use other acidic ingredients like lime juice or vinegar if you like; these other options will change the flavor of the sauce.
- Maple syrup: Tahini has a rich, nutty flavor that can almost taste bitter. Maple syrup is a tasty way to balance the slightly bitter tahini flavor and compliment tangy acidity from the lemon juice. This is technically optional, but I prefer to add this sweetness to my tahini dressing.
- Garlic: This pungent, unique flavor is a great addition to this sauce. If you aren’t a fan of raw garlic, consider using garlic powder or cooked/ roasted garlic for a sweeter, milder flavor.
- Salt: Enhance all the other flavors with some salt. Adjust the amount to your taste preferences, if needed.
How to Make Easy Vegan Tahini Sauce
This is an incredibly quick and easy recipe! There isn’t much too it, so read the directions below to learn how to make tahini dressing.
Step 1: Mix Ingredients
Press, crush or finely mince a clove of garlic.
Add all your ingredients to a small jar or bowl. This includes the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, crushed garlic, salt and water.
Stir until evenly mixed. It takes a minute or more to blend the tahini with water, so keep stirring until you get a smooth sauce.
Step 2: Serve
That’s all it takes to make a delicious, creamy tahini sauce!
You can serve it right away, but it’s best to let it sit for 10-30 minutes and give time for the flavors to meld together.
The sauce thickens as it sits, especially when refrigerated. You may need additional water to thin the tahini sauce to reach your desired consistency.
How to Serve a Balanced Vegan Meal
Tahini sauce offers lots of healthy fats, a bit of plant-based protein and plenty of flavor! since there’s maple syrup in the recipe, there’s also some carbohydrates.
As this is a sauce, it’s meant to be served with other foods. I love making this to serve with falafel. Add a side of tabbouleh salad and you’ll have a super fresh, flavorful and balanced meal!
This is also a tasty salad dressing. Depending on what’s in the salad, you could create a balanced meal or a side salad. If you’re looking for a balanced meal, add some cooked chickpeas or lentils to your salad, then add tahini sauce for a creamy and satisfying meal.
I also love drizzling this recipe over roasted vegetables. It’s a great side dish for a warm meal, like when you’re enjoying a seitan roast!
Tahini Sauce Variations
There are endless variations for tahini sauce or dressing recipes. This recipe follows a basic formula to create simple but satisfying sauce.
One tasty variation is to blend some fresh herbs into the sauce. Use a food processor or small blender to add ¼ - ½ cup of a leafy herb like cilantro, parsley, basil or dill.
Switch the citrus and try lime or orange, or try a flavored vinegar like apple cider or balsamic. If using vinegar, you’ll likely only want to use 1-2 tablespoons, instead of the 3 tablespoons of lemon juice this recipe uses.
You can also add in small amounts of other flavorings like miso paste, soy sauce or tamari, harissa, Dijon mustard, sundried tomatoes, dry spices (like cumin, curry powder, paprika, turmeric, etc.), dry herbs, grated ginger or minced onion.
How to Store Leftovers
Refrigerate leftover tahini dressing in an airtight container for up to 5 days. The sauce thickens while in the fridge and may need extra water to thin out before using.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Tahini Sauce
- Small bowl (or jar)
Step 1: Mix Ingredients
- Add all the ingredients to a small bowl or jar.½ cup tahini, ¼ cup water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 clove garlic, ½ teaspoon salt
- Stir until everything is evenly combined. It takes a minute or two for the tahini to fully blend with the water.
Step 2: Serve
- That’s it! Your tahini sauce is ready to serve right away. If you have time, let this sit for 10-30 minutes to help the flavors meld together for an even tastier sauce.
- The sauce thickens as it sits, especially when in a fridge. You may want to thin it with extra water until you reach an ideal consistency for whatever other foods you’ll use it with.
More Vegan Sauce and Dressing Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.