Open Sesame Tahini Dressing

Not the Sesame on the left; the sesame on the right.
Sesame the cat on the left, Sesame Tahini Dressing on the right

This story has nothing to do with a recipe and everything to do with being who you want to be.

Once upon a time, we adopted a cat named Sesame. She was a regal calico, and when she was young, we often referred to her as Supermodel. Later, when her true character began to show, we called her Punk Rock Kitty. Social niceties weren’t her style, but when she did relent and show some affection, we knew she meant it. She was loud, opinionated, and relentless in her pursuit of what she wanted, including her food, which she ate with gusto for 19 fierce years.

I share this recipe in her honor. Eat it with gusto!

Tahini Dressing |

Magical Tahini Dressing

Makes 1 cup | Prep 10 min | Whole30 compliant

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.


Allow the flavors to meld about 10 minutes before eating. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tasty Ideas

  • Dice cucumbers, green peppers, red onion, and tomatoes, mix with dressing. Top with chopped parsley.

  • Make a pile of a cooked vegetables: chopped cauliflower and spinach are nice. Top the pile with some cooked protein: ground beef, grilled chicken, broiled lamb. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle the top with a little finely-diced raw tomato.

  • Slice eggplant and zucchini and grill, then top with tahini dressing and chopped parsley.

  • Make shish-kebabs with your favorite meat and vegetables, then use the tahini dressing as a dipping sauce.

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  • AustinGirl says:

    This recipe rocks my socks. I like to saute garlic, cherry tomatoes and spinach together, then add some cooked chicken and this dressing to the pan. Warm everything up, and inhale every last bit of it. YUM.

  • Heidi says:

    I’ve been so afraid of sauces and dips for so long that I was hesitant to try this recipe. It was super easy and fast and what a pleasant surprise! I liked it. Hey Mikey, I liked it! (ok, that is a super old reference). I dipped my steamed chicken and broccoli in it for a tasty dinner “treat”.

    PS: yah, you read that right. I steam chicken and it is by far better than I have ever cooked with my fair weather friend, The Oven. BBQ is my new 2nd bestie. My steam oven rules

    • Mel says:

      Hi, Heidi! So glad that you liked the tahini dressing. And I TOTALLY got that reference… I thought Mikey was really cute!

      I’m now envious of your steam oven.

  • Jed says:

    I wonder how this would be on salmon? Have to try to find out!

  • Jessica says:

    I made this tonight. Just took my first bites. It is good- but should it be sorta bitter tasting? Just ordered your cookbook as well!!

  • robin says:

    I fixed this for Salmon tonight and it was really good. Dh says it passed the lick your plate test. lol. I fixed it as written then put the baked salmon on a bead of greens, then topped w/ the dressing/veggies. I adore dill so added a bunch to mine. 🙂 Thanks!

  • Daelynn says:

    Love the blog! I’m in day 7 of my first Whole 30. Originally planned to “do” this as a 30 day detox, now I feel so great I don’t want to go back to my old way of eating! I’ll be making this sauce this week, and am wondering how long it keeps in the fridge. Any info would be so appreciated!


    • Congrats on 7 days of Whole30-ing! I hear you: I pretty much eat Whole30 style all the time, except for dining out or special occasions.

      Because none of the ingredients in the tahini dressing are perishable, it doesn’t go “bad,” but after a while it does start to lose it’s awesome, fresh taste. I’d say 5-6 days is the longest you’d want to rely on a batch.

  • Meghan says:

    My sauce looks a lot thinner than yours and it also isn’t really white. I used the same Tahini that you show and mine is brown. Insight?

  • michele b. says:

    Oh yum. Just made this and I basically want to drink it, it’s so good. BUT…I will be trying out your stuffed grape leaves tonight and I must save some for those. Can’t wait!

  • bakum says:

    hi…just found this site…new to paleo…what does “2 tablespoons = approx. 6 blocks of F” mean?


    • Mel says:

      Good question! That designation doesn’t have anything to do with paleo… it’s a leftover note from when I was following the Zone diet. I decided to leave the info for other people following the Zone, but you can just ignore that.

      A reasonable serving size of the dressing is about 2 tablespoons.

  • Tanya says:

    A quick question – is tahini allowed on AIP? Three weeks to go till I can start reintroducing food. Can’t wait to try your recipe. And your book should be arriving on my doorstep in 2 days. Yeay!! I have to say big thanks for all your work on this website, your books and recipes. I looked at lots of paleo and AIP sites before I started on my road to recovery through AIP, but always come back to you. Truly amazing resource site for everything paleo and so much more. Btw, last week a radiologist found nodules on my thyroid on the neck MRI. Incidental find but I’m just glad they found it.

    • Mel says:

      Tahini is made from sesame seeds, so it’s out for AIP. Hang in there — three weeks isn’t so bad, right?! (I’m trying to be upbeat. I now how challenging elimination diets can be. Yeesh.)

      I”m really glad you’re finding my recipes helpful. Well Fed 2 includes AIP modifications, so that should be really useful to you, too.

      Sorry to hear about your nodules! Best wishes that they’re benign and that dealing with them is as smooth as possible.

      Keep me posted on how you’re doing!

  • Tanya says:

    You are absolutely right – 3 weeks is nothing in comparison to a lifetime (especially of pain; it’s been a year of one long flare).

    It’s just that you have so many amazing recipes and I want to try them all !! Now I can’t wait for WellFed 2. This has turned out to be an exercise in patience 🙂

    Thanks about the good wishes for the nodules. I’m positive they will be fine since they are causing no problems, so far.

    As a side note, I can’t wait to try you Cevapcici. I’m originally from Croatia and very familiar with them. My mom uses seltzer instead of warm water. Elimination time cannot come soon enough. 😉

    • Mel says:

      Oh, Croatia! We really enjoyed out time there.

      And I did see a few recipes with fizzy water in them. I might try that, just for fun!

      Hang in there!

  • Melissa says:

    Hi! Tahini sauce is actually a regular staple in our diet. I live in Cyprus. We use the same ingredients with the addition of olive oil! I am new to paleo and started my whole30 4 days ago!! I love your recipes, they have been great!!

  • Mahina says:

    !!!!!!!! My husband, myself and our house mate are all on Day 12 of Whole30, and we are in LOVE with this dressing! Made a huge lot of roast veggies a few days ago, and have been eating them in salads with this dressing quite happily for a few days in a row. My sister, who isn’t doing Whole30, came round for dinner last night and raved about the dressing, even begging me to pack her some leftovers for her lunch!

    Your Sunshine sauce is next on my list. Cant wait to try that!

  • Kellie says:

    Thanks for all the info! It’s very helpful. Just wondering if hulled vs unhulled tahini makes any difference to the taste of this dressing?

  • Alyce says:

    I just made this for the first time today, and it’s now my favorite dressing ever. It was extremely easy to make and absolutely delicious!

    Thank you!