A tahini recipe — Mushroom shawarma

Tahini is a sesame seed paste, made by grinding sesame seeds until smooth and deliciously creamy.

Tahini’s rich, nutty flavour and creamy texture lends itself to all sorts of recipes. You can blitz it into a dip, dressing or marinade, bake it into sweet cookies and cakes, or simply enjoy spread on toast with a drizzle of honey. 

Like most nut butters and pastes, tahini has a relatively long shelf-life (always check the label for storage instructions). If you find your tahini has separated in the jar, this isn’t a sign it’s gone bad. Add a splash of hot water and mix it until it’s spoonable again.

For more inspiration, check out our delicious tahini recipes to help you use up that open jar.

A dollop of tahini in a wrap can take it to the next level, bringing everything together – think of it like a healthy swap for mayo. Tahini works wonders in this Crispy mushroom shawarma from Jamie’s Veg. Spread tahini over a flatbread, top with pickled veg, dukkah and finish with deliciously gnarly, roasted mushrooms and a punchy chilli salsa to finish. Or try a dollop in these falafel wraps or this meatball wrap.


Scrap the supermarket stuff and make your own houmous – a simple blend of chickpeas, tahini, salt and lemon juice makes for a delicious dip or spread. Jamie adds yoghurt here for extra nutrient points and lovely creaminess. If you run out of tahini, Jamie recommends swapping in peanut butter instead. 

For a quick dip to serve with nibbles, try swirling tahini and harissa (another great fridge staple) through yoghurt. This fragrant, nutty dip is ready in seconds and goes perfectly with these filo-wrapped, crunchy sesame carrots.


Make a versatile tahini sauce that can be drizzled over roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or Jamie’s super-quick falafels. Watch Jamie mix tahini with lemon juice, a little salt and water until it’s super creamy, and take it up a notch with a hit of chilli sauce.

Tahini is a magic addition to homemade barbecue sauce, too. Try it in this recipe from Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich’s cookbook Chasing Smoke. “The sesame paste lends itself so well to roasted meats, adding a rich nutty note,” they say. With anchovies and pomegranate molasses, this sauce really delivers on the flavour front.  

Labneh is simply a strained yoghurt, and it’s so easy to make yourself. Thick, creamy and slightly tangy in flavour, this homemade labneh recipe is flavoured with tahini for a twist on the original. Serve it up with earthy beetroots, pickled shallots and toasted pine nuts, or try it with garlicky roasted tomatoes instead.

Add a spoonful of tahini to this smoky aubergine dip. Simply roast, barbecue or grill aubergines until super soft, then scoop out the flesh into a bowl and add tahini, lemon, garlic and cumin for a creamy, delicious addition to a Middle-Eastern mezze. Don’t forget the houmous, tabbouleh and homemade flatbreads!

Tahini works wonders in cakes and bakes of all kinds. Think, tahini chocolate chip cookies, tahini muffins, and tahini brownies. For something a touch more special, try this bundt cake with tahini and yoghurt sponge, pomegranate and rose water drizzle, and pistachio dust.

For more food waste inspo, check out our top 10 tips for reducing food waste


What is tahini made of?

Tahini is made of just one ingredient: sesame seeds! It’s made by grinding sesame seeds until smooth and creamy. Some shop-bought tahini may contain added ingredients, like oil, water, lemon juice or salt. 

Is tahini good for you? 

Sesame seeds are a source of B vitamins, which we need to keep our metabolism healthy. They are also high in unsaturated fat, which helps to lower cholesterol. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, such as the kinds found in sesame seeds, could therefore help protect against coronary heart disease.

What can I use instead of tahini?

It depends what you’re using your tahini for. If you want to add tahini’s nutty flavour and creaminess, try swapping in peanut or almond butter – these are good alternatives in a houmous, for example. If it’s only the nutty, sesame flavour you’re after, a small amount of sesame oil is a great cheat.