If you've ever eaten hummus chances are you've eaten tahini. It's a sesame seed paste that's similar to a nut butter but thinner in texture and more subtle in flavor. Tahini is a key ingredient in the classic chickpea dip but don't limit it to hummus, that's not the only dish where the rich, nutty flavor of tahini shines...see below!

Staff Picks

Brown-Rice Cakes with Toppings

Puffy brown-rice cakes are just as versatile as toasts for layering on the flavor (and they're gluten-free).

Rice-and-Bean Salad Bowl with Tahini Sauce

Our glorious grain bowl calls for making the brown rice in advance, but even if you start from scratch, you can get the whole dish on the table in under an hour.

Tahini Fruit Dip

Tahini adds a nutty richness to this sweet and creamy dip, suitable for snacking or a light, healthy dessert.

Red-Lentil Hummus

Rating: 2.95 stars
Hummus is traditionally made from chickpeas. This version is just as tasty, and because lentils have more fiber and protein, it's even healthier.

Mushroom-Gruyere Tart

The whole-wheat and olive oil crust for this savory tart is based on a recipe for crackers. The real surprise here is the addition of tahini in the crust; it makes the whole tart taste more complex. This recipe appears in our cookbook, "A New Way to Bake" (Clarkson Potter).

Spicy Tahini Sauce

Used throughout the Middle East as a dressing for salads, a sauce to drizzle over fish, chicken or vegetables, or as a dip in combination with eggplant or chickpeas, tahini is made from untoasted sesame seeds.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Rating: 3.29 stars
Roasting the eggplant in its skin steams the flesh, turning it soft and silky—great for a dip to serve with pita wedges as an appetizer.

Minty Pea Dip

This is a tasty dip you can pair with a few crudites and take it with you for a snack on the go.

Dan Dan Noodles

Making chili oil from scratch is easy and adds a delicious complex flavor to this dish, but you can use regular hot chili oil instead in a pinch.

Baba Ghanoush

If making ahead of time, store baba ghanoush in an airtight container in the refrigerator, up to one week. Garnish with parsley just before serving.

Roasted-Garlic Hummus

Rating: 3.27 stars
Tangy hummus is perfect for parties or as a quick and healthful snack when served with a colorful array of fresh vegetables. Roasted garlic, fruity olive oil, and sesame tahini enliven the flavor.

Whole Grilled Eggplant with Rice Pilaf

Eggplants have a dark side—and it's excellent. Roast them whole until the skin is charred, and the flesh goes soft and creamy. To serve, split the eggplants and top with pomegranate molasses and lemony tahini sauce, then spoon the insides onto herby, pistachio-scented pilaf and dust lightly with fragrant za'atar.

Inspiration and Ideas

Roasted Kabocha Squash with Tahini and Herb Salad
Any tender herbs will brighten this dish -- swap in parsley for cilantro, or tarragon for mint.

Quinoa Bowl With Tahini Dressing

This vegan, gluten-free grain bowl is packed with flavors and textures, thanks to roasted veggies, a creamy tahini dressing, and cool, crisp toppings.