Tahini is another staple of Middle Eastern food that reinforces its reputation as a healthy cuisine. Like olive oil, tahini is a very versatile ingredient that is found in many Middle Eastern dishes, most notably hummus, and is growing in popularity in the United States (Walters, 2009).
Tahini’s health benefits come from it’s high nutritional content, including important nutrients as omega-3 fatty acids, thiamin (vitamin B-1), calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and copper (Wolf, 2011). It has been found to improve digestion, reduce cholesterol, and produce some anti-aging effects (Salloum, 2006). It is also easily and quickly digested, so some of these positive effects can be felt within half an hour of consumption (Tahini, 2008).
So what exactly is this mystery ingredient? It’s basically a paste made from ground sesame seeds, kind of like peanut butter. In fact, the word tahini comes from the Arabic root “Tahana”, which means “to grind” (Salloum, 2006). The flexibility of tahini as an ingredient can be seen in the huge variety of dishes it is found in. It’s most commonly used as the base for a delicious dip, along with lemon juice, salt, and garlic. It can also be found in falafel sandwiches, soups and stews, and salad dressings. Tahini works as a healthier substitute for butter or peanut butter on bread, and is even used in some sweets (Health Benefits of Tahini, 2010).
Tahini can be found in most Mediterranean markets. One important thing to note regarding the use of Tahini is that although it has a long shelf life, it quickly separates and should be stirred before use (Salloum, 2006).
Walters, S. (2009). Find nutritional benefits in tahini. Retrieved from
Wolf, N. (2011). The health benefits of tahini. Retrieved from
Salloum, H. (2006). Tahini - A health food. Retrieved from
Tahini (2008). Retreived from
Health benefits of tahini (2010). Retrieved from