Tahini is one of those ingredients that's so versatile it tastes good on pretty much anything. And I'm talking ANYTHING. I put it on toast, sweet potatoes, pitas, veggies—basically every food you could think of. I bet you're wondering what makes it so amazing, and while the answer would probably vary depending on who you ask, my favourite part about tahini is that it can be enjoyed in a sweet or savoury dish.

I'm not vegan myself, but some of my friends and family members are, so I'm always thinking about how food is made and if it contains animal products. Because many people don't know what tahini is made of, some people might think it contains butter or some other animal products to make it creamy. For those of you who are wondering, "is tahini vegan?" I'll clear that up right now.

What is Tahini?

First, let's talk about what tahini is. I've been shocked by how many people seem to enjoy tahini regularly and have absolutely no idea what it is. Don't feel bad if you've had tahini before and still wouldn't be able to list the ingredients. But just so you know, there's really only one key ingredient in tahini: sesame seeds.

Yes, tahini is in fact, a nut butter. Does that make you like it better? It's essentially peanut butter or almond butter, but it's made with seeds instead of nuts. The process is just as easy as the ingredient list. Toast off the seeds to bring out the flavour (which is a good method for cooking with any nut). Then throw all the seeds in the food processor and grind them until they're smooth.

Tahini is a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine. It's also an ingredient in most hummus recipes. However, many other countries incorporate it into their food as well. Tahini is also common in Greek cuisine and can be used in Thai food as well.

Tahini can be enjoyed in a variety of consistencies, just like peanut butter and almond butter. If you want it to be a bit runny, like a dressing or a sauce, add more oil. If you want it to be viscous and dip-like, add less oil. 

Is Tahini Vegan?

cream, dairy product, milk, white sauce, soup, bread, pudding
Kristine Mahan

As you can see from the ingredient list, tahini is vegan. You also have a lot of choice about how to prepare this nut butter. You can choose whichever oil you'd prefer and you can also salt to taste. Be careful though because sometimes tahini will contain Greek yogurt. But real, plain tahini is vegan. Just ask or read the label before ordering or buying at the grocery store.

How to Eat Tahini

vegetable, salad, lettuce, tomato
Kristine Mahan

Vegan meal options with tahini are endless, making it the perfect addition to any breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For breakfast, try this tahini and toast recipe. It's so simple you'll be wondering why you've haven't been eating it every day for breakfast. 

For lunch, try using tahini as a salad dressing. Tahini is my all time favourite salad dressing. I mix it with a bit of hot water (just to thin it out), some salt, pepper, and lemon juice and then whisk it all together. For a sweeter twist, I mix in just a bit of maple syrup. I put this dressing on everything.

For dinner, try this vegan Thai Buddha bowl. It's also peanut-free so it's great if you have allergies. For dessert or a snack, you should absolutely be baking up these vegan tahini cookies on the daily. 

That's the magic of sesame. It can be sweet, salty, or both at the same time. It can be a dressing, a dip, an adhesive. It can do anything peanut butter can do and also has all the power of hummus. It truly is the most versatile staple, and what's even better? It's vegan.