This vibrant green tahini sauce is nutty, spicy, citrusy and fresh. I make a large batch every week to use as a dip or a dressing – it goes with pretty much any meal.
The Middle Eastern tahini sauce gets its gorgeous green hue from flat-leaf parsley, but I love the addition of mint, coriander and dill.
It’s also an excellent way to use up any last bits of green herbs lurking in the fridge. But most of all, it is utterly delicious and oh-so-versatile.
What is green tahini sauce?
Baqdunsieh, the traditional Middle Eastern condiment of flat-leaf parsley and tahini, inspires this green tahini sauce. It is nutty and fresh, delicious served with salad or as part of a mezze spread.
In this version, I also add a variety of fresh herbs, lemon juice, garlic and chillies. Olive oil and water determine the final consistency of the condiment.
You can opt for a very thick sauce if you serve it as a vegan tahini dip or a much thinner sauce when you use it as a creamy green salad dressing.
Green tahini ingredients
- Fresh green herbs: The traditional herb in green tahini sauce (baqdunsieh) is flat-leaf parsley. But I love to mix it up a bit. Add freshness with cilantro (coriander) and mint. You can also try basil, dill and tarragon. Or use whatever leftover herbs you have lurking in the fridge. Use the leaves and soft stems.
- Tahini: Tahini is a Middle Eastern paste made from roasted, hulled sesame seeds. It has a delicious nutty taste and creamy texture. Tahini can be a touch bitter – some brands more so than others. So, taste your tahini before you start with the sauce. If it is notably bitter, reduce the amount of tahini you add at the start and add more once you taste the sauce. It is easy to make delicious tahini at home.
- Olive oil: I prefer extra virgin olive oil, but you can use any oil you enjoy.
- Water: Start with a quarter cup of water as outlined in the recipe, but add more water if you want a thinner sauce. The consistency you require will depend on how you plan to serve the green tahini. Thick green tahini works well as a dip, and runnier green tahini is a great salad dressing.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds acidity to balance the nutty bitterness of the tahini.
- Green chillies (optional): To ensure your green tahini is actually green, don’t be tempted to use red chillies or chilli powder. I like to add jalapeños for a mild kick or green finger chillies when I’m craving something spicier. Or add a teaspoon of green shatta.
- Garlic: The pungency of raw garlic is not for everyone. If you are one of those people, feel free to reduce or omit the raw garlic.
- Salt: Start with half a teaspoon of salt and increase it after tasting the sauce. I always add a whole teaspoon of salt.
How to make green tahini sauce
Use a food processor or immersion blender for a quick and easy green tahini sauce. Blitz all the ingredients together until you have a smooth green sauce flecked with dark green herbs. It’s a versatile, convenient sauce – ready in under five minutes!
No food processor? No worries!
You can also make this sauce by hand. Whisk the tahini, olive oil, water and lemon juice until well combined.
Finely chop the herbs, garlic and chillies and stir into the tahini mix. Taste, and add more lemon juice and salt.
The sauce won’t have the same deep green hue, but it will be equally delicious with flecks of green herbs.
Add water, one tablespoon at a time, if you prefer a thinner sauce.
Refrigerate the sauce in an airtight jar for up to four days or freeze for three months.
Stir in a splash of water if the sauce thickened in the fridge.
Add more tahini if it is watery after defrosting.
This vegan green tahini sauce is also gluten-free. It’s great to serve any crowd regardless dietary restrictions.
- Serve thick green tahini as a dip with crunchy crudités or crisps. Try cucumber sticks, bell pepper strips and asparagus spears.
- Or serve it as a sauce alongside falafels or fritters – like these crispy Middle Eastern falafels, baked falafel with canned chickpeas, or Yotam Ottolenghi’s delicious bulgur wheat fritters.
- Avoid the (what feels like hours of) parsley chopping for traditional tabbouleh. Stir the green tahini sauce through cooked bulgur wheat (or other grains). Try this bulgur wheat salad with green tahini sauce.
- Use green tahini sauce as a substitute for vegan green goddess dressing in any salad or bowl that calls for it.
It is such a delicious, versatile sauce. Why not make double?
Try more recipes with tahini
Tahini is a deliciously nutty Middle Eastern condiment of ground sesame seeds. You can make your own tahini paste at home. Or look for a good-quality shop-bought tahini – it should contain only sesame seeds.
- Food processor – or blender, alternatively finely chop the herbs by hand.
- 1 cup packed green herbs (parsley, cilantro, mint, basil, dill or a combination), tender stems and leaves
- ½ cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup of water, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from one juicy lemon
- 2 green chillies, roughly chopped or a teaspoon green shatta (optional)
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor – or use a mixing bowl and an immersion (stick) blender. Blitz until you have a smooth light green sauce flecked with dark green herbs. Stop to scrape down the sides if needed. It should take about three minutes.
- Taste the sauce and adjust by adding more chilli, salt or lemon. I always add more salt.
- The sauce will be very thick. Leave it thick if you plan to use it for a dip or spread. For a thinner salad dressing, add water one tablespoon at a time until you reach the ideal consistency.
- Use straight away or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- You can use any combination of fresh herbs. It’s a great way to use leftover herbs lurking in the fridge. I typically use a majority of flat-leaf parsley with some cilantro and mint for freshness. See the ingredients section for combination ideas if you need more guidance.
- Taste your tahini before you start. If it is a touch bitter, start with ¼ cup of tahini and add more after tasting the sauce.
- I always add one teaspoon of salt, but your preference may differ. So, start with ½ teaspoon of salt and increase according to taste.