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Tahini salad is a simple and delicious dish packed with Middle Eastern flavors and made with a base of fresh vegetables such as cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. This salad has a deliciously tangy and creamy tahini dressing, adding a satisfyingly nutty flavor to the dish. I love this tahini salad by itself, but it is traditionally served as a topping for rice, but it can be enjoyed in many different ways.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this Lebanese-style Tahini Salad
- Ingredients to make a chunky tahini cucumber salad
- How to make this Lebanese tahini salad recipe in one bowl
- Tips for making the best tahini salad
- Popular substitutions & additions
- What to serve with tahini salad
- How to store chopped vegetables in tahini dressing
- Frequently asked questions
- More Middle eastern salad recipes:
- Tahini Salad Recipe
Growing up, my family and I used to call this Lebanese tahini salad “tarator,” which sounds like tartar sauce. Let’s just say I had to double-check the label a few times before dousing my salad with the wrong sauce!
While you might think this doesn’t look like a salad because the vegetables are pretty much soaked in the dressing, that’s the beauty of it! It’s meant to be served with other Mediterranean dishes, especially rice, to soak up the salad’s flavor.
Why you’ll love this Lebanese-style Tahini Salad
- Easy to customize. You can use any vegetables you want, so it’s a great way to clean out your fridge. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley are the most common, but you can also radishes, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, red onions, cabbage, or other crunchy fresh vegetables.
- Enhances your meal. Think of this salad similar to a salsa you’d add on top of fish or rice pilaf. The flavor of the garlic with the nutty tahini and fresh vegetables can really take any standard weeknight meal to the next level.
- Versatile use. You can pretty much add this as a condiment to many different meals, from chicken shawarma bowls to grilled kafta, to falafel, to turmeric rice and fish. You can add it on top of romaine lettuce as a complete salad or dip it with Pita Chips, like my kids love to do!
Ingredients to make a chunky tahini cucumber salad
- For the dressing: Tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. When choosing your tahini, opt for a brand that uses just one ingredient-sesame seed!
- Vegetables: I use a combination of refreshing vegetables like Persian cucumbers and tomatoes with some veggies that have a little more bite, such as bell pepper and red onion.
- Fresh herbs: Parsley is a common herb added to Middle Eastern cuisine, and mint adds a cool contrast to the tahini’s nutty and slightly bitter taste.
How to make this Lebanese tahini salad recipe in one bowl
- Place the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a bowl.
- Whisk until it forms a paste-like consistency, and all the ingredients are fully incorporated while slowly pouring in water. It should be a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Pour the dressing over the chopped veggies in a bowl (or add the vegetables on top of the tahini mixture) and toss to combine.
- You can now serve it right away or store it in the fridge. Note that the salad will continue to thin out as the juices from the tomatoes and cucumbers leech. This is completely normal, and will continue to flavor the sauce.
Tips for making the best tahini salad
- Dice everything small. Just like you would prepare salsa by finely chopping the vegetables, the same goes for this tahini salad. This helps all the flavors incorporate well and creates a better presentation.
- Use fresh garlic and lemon juice. The tahini dressing is made with only a few ingredients, so using fresh garlic and lemon juice will really enhance the flavor.
- Serve with another entree. Because this can be considered salsa or a topping and has all that extra saucy tahini dressing, it is great to serve over rice or quinoa as it will soak in all the nutty, lemony flavor.
- Toss before serving. As it sits, this tahini salad will continue producing more liquid, so it’s best to stir it to ensure everything is blended well.
Popular substitutions & additions
- Add more vegetables. I chose 4 vegetables for this salad, but you can add even more veggies. Just cut them into small and even sizes. It’s a great way to use any leftover veggies from other meals.
- Add a touch of sweetness. Tahini and lemon can be tart and bitter, so adding a little honey or maple syrup balances the flavors.
- Switch up the herbs. You can try this salad with oregano, cilantro, dill, or basil, to name a few.
- Use different citrus. The combination of lemon and tahini is a traditional Lebanese pairing, but you can’t go wrong with a good pop of zesty, citrusy flavor. Try lime juice and cilantro or orange juice with basil or mint.
What to serve with tahini salad
How to store chopped vegetables in tahini dressing
If you have leftovers of this saucy tahini salad, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If possible, keep the veggies and dressing separately, as this will keep them crisp and fresher.
How long will tahini cucumber salad last in the fridge?
You can store the tahini salad in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure to mix it up well before serving to redistribute the dressing and vegetables.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, tahini salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days. However, it’s best to wait until just before serving to add fresh herbs or the dressing to prevent the salad from becoming too soggy.
While tahini is the traditional ingredient in tahini salad, you could substitute it with nut butter such as almond or cashew.
To prevent the dressing from separating, whisk it together thoroughly before adding it to the salad. You could also try adding a tablespoon of water to the sauce to help emulsify it.
With its combination of crunchy textures, nutritious ingredients, and exciting flavors, tahini salad is the perfect addition to any meal, whether you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine or simply looking for a new way to incorporate fresh veggies into your diet.
More Middle eastern salad recipes:
- Lebanese Fattoush Salad
- Kale Tabbouleh Salad
- Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Chicken Shawarma Salad
- Bulgur Chickpea Salad
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For the dressing
- ⅓ cup tahini paste
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves pressed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons water
For the salad
- 2 Persian cucumbers diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes diced
- ½ red onion diced
- ¼ green pepper diced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint chopped
- Place the tahini paste in a large serving bowl. Add the lemon juice, garlic and salt. Use a whisk or fork to combine the mixture until it forms a paste-like consistency.
- Slowly add water to the mixture and continue whisking until it’s smooth and well blended.
- Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, green pepper, parsley and mint on top and toss to combine.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.