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Homemade Tahini

March 3, 2011

Bottom-Up food is, as you may have noticed, about making food from scratch.

Bottom-Up Food is the opposite of the Food Network show where the “chef” makes dinner by combining three processed foods. It’s the opposite of the casserole made with a can of cream of mushroom soup, a bag of dried pasta, and a block of cheddar cheese from the dairy section.

Sometimes even in the most seemingly “from scratch” recipes, though, we discover room for further decomposition. Take, for example, hummus. Most hummus recipes include tahini as an ingredient. In fact, that’s the one “ingredient” that’s the hardest for people to lay their hands on. I suspect lack of tahini stops a fair number of people from making hummus.

But do these same people have sesame seeds and canola oil? They probably do.

Which leads me to this important question: If tahini has only two ingredients — sesame seeds and canola oil — why in the world would you buy it instead of making it yourself? Especially when it comes in big huge jars that contain more than you’re likely to use before mold starts to eat it up for you.

What kind of self-respecting hummus recipe would set you on the task of making hummus yourself but advise you to buy something like tahini, which is just as easy to make as hummus is, from the store? If you don’t feel like making tahini, why in the world do you feel like making hummus?

So make your own tahini.

Here’s how to do it.

What you’ll need:

  • Food processor
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds, raw or toasted in a pan
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Put the sesame seeds in your food processor
  • Run food processor while adding canola oil.
  • Blend, adding additional canola oil until you achieve a creamy, pourable consistency

It’s that easy. Give it a shot. This recipe yields 5 tbsp tahini, but you can easily double, triple, or even quadruple it. You only need to eyeball the tahini to keep the consistency right.

Because I love crucifers, I plan to use my tahini in this cauliflower recipe from the New York Times Recipes for Health, and probably in some homemade hummus, too. The Recipes for Health series includes several other tahini recipes.

I have my eye on either this hummus recipe or this one. You’ll notice they both call for tahini!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 8:28 pm

    If you’re wondering where you can get lots of sesame seeds for reasonable rates, check out Costco ($4.35 for 18oz) or MarketSpice (, $9.95/lb).

  2. jan permalink
    March 30, 2011 5:52 am

    Thanks for the info. I will file this and never buy tahini again.

  3. Natalie permalink
    September 4, 2011 4:00 am

    I have actually made hummus WITHOUT Tahini only because i didn’t want to buy it and have it go bad! Will absolutely do this next time! Thanks 🙂


  1. In Make Vs. Buy, Tahini Is A Make « Bottom-Up Food

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