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A Perfect Tahini Recipe From a Pita Pop-Up Chef

Chef Zoë Komarin’s quick and easy tahini recipe for salads, sandwiches, and marinades

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Tahini — that slick, beige, vaguely nutty liquid gold — often pops up in sandwiches or pitas, in salad dressings or in a marinade, adding the perfect depth of flavor to transform any dish. And it goes without saying that a giant dollop of tahini should top (or be whipped into) every bowl of hummus.

But spooned out on its own, raw tahini can taste rather bitter, so chef Zoë Komarin of Zoë Food Party — a sold-out pita party in Los Angeles — has suggestions for upping the tahini in your pantry. Below is Komarin’s basic tahini recipe, demonstrated on Instagram Live as part of the Eater @ Home virtual event series. She notes that the proportions can be eyeballed, since each tahini behaves a little differently; but the recipe is a great starting point to get comfortable, before you start switching it up with ponzu or adding loads of minced herbs and crushed garlic.

Watch Komarin whip up tahini (and some fun salad and sandwich options as well) and check out her recipe for the perfect tahini below.


1 cup of raw tahini
Juice from one lemon
12 to 1 cup ice water (as needed)
Pinch of salt

Dump your raw tahini into a bowl. (Tip from Komarin: Look for tahini that doesn’t have a noticeable layer of oil on top, as this often signifies old tahini. Har Bracha is a favorite.)

Squeeze lemon juice and mix thoroughly and with gusto; the mixture will darken and seize up and resemble wet sand.

Slowly add ice water while you mix. As you reconstitute the tahini will lighten, thin out, and begin to look shiny.

Add salt to taste. (This is also the part where you would add other mix-ins like garlic, cumin, and herbs.)

Tahini can stay in fridge for several days.