Whether you use it as a base or topping, tahini is a flavorful and nutrition-dense ingredient. But it can be expensive and sometimes hard to come by. That’s why you should keep a tahini substitute on hand.
You may know of tahini as a standout ingredient in hummus, but it is more than that. Tahini has a nutty flavor that adds richness to desserts and sauces. A staple in Middle Eastern dishes, it balances the flavors of many recipes.
But if tahini is not for you or you don’t have any on hand, one of the below tahini substitutes may do the trick.
What is Tahini?
Tahini is a paste produced from toasted sesame seeds with added salt. While it’s undoubtedly loved for its taste, tahini also brings a creamy and silky texture to the table.
In fact, because of its texture, it’s a vital addition to salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and dips. Brimming with a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, it offers a palate-pleasing addition to many different dishes.
Tahini is also prized for its high nutritional value. The presence of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc is a big drawcard.
Substitutes for Tahini
A great tahini substitute would be helpful if you’re whipping up a last-minute dish that needs tahini but don’t have it on hand. Should you be in a pinch, you can always reach for any of these fantastic tahini alternatives for your recipe.
1. Peanut Butter
This ingredient is likely the best tahini substitute. It does a fine job at providing a smooth, paste-like texture comparable to tahini. However, peanut butter is not a suitable option if you’re allergic to nuts.
Peanut butter has a slightly different nutty flavor. But you can pair it with sesame oil to achieve a similar taste. We love this substitute as a spread. However, it’s also excellent for desserts, breakfast bowls, and more. Substitute half a cup of peanut butter for a full cup of tahini in your recipe.
2. Cashew Butter
The price is a bit higher when it comes to cashew butter, but its texture works well as a tahini substitute. Cashew butter provides a similar nutty flavor but lacks tahini’s robust and savory taste. Again, you should avoid cashew butter if you have any nut allergies.
That said, cashew butter makes an excellent substitute in dips, salad dressing, oatmeal, and smoothies. Substitute a 1:1 ratio for tahini in baking recipes.
3. Greek Yogurt
This high-protein and nutrient-rich ingredient makes a popular tahini substitute for health-conscious individuals. Greek yogurt’s thick and creamy consistency closely resembles tahini’s texture. And it’s great for dips, dressings, and oven-baked dishes and gives them a slightly acidic taste.
But be careful when preparing a dish at high heat because Greek yogurt curdles easily. In addition, you won’t get the nutty flavor that tahini has when you replace it with Greek yogurt. If the recipe calls for a cup of tahini, use a ¼ cup of Greek yogurt.
4. Sesame Oil
Sesame oil is a good tahini substitute for sauces and salad dressings. It’s made from the same main ingredient as tahini (sesame seeds) and, therefore, has a similar flavor.
However, because it lacks tahini’s smooth, creamy texture, it won’t do the trick for baked recipes. But the taste is a significant plus when adding a deliciously rich flavor to your salads. We advise that you use a little sesame oil to start and adjust as needed.
5. Sunflower Seed Butter
This tahini substitute makes a great alternative in dishes that need that rich tahini flavor to come through. Made from sunflower seeds, it is the closest substitute to tahini flavor-wise.
Keep in mind that it contains more fat and calories than tahini. The additional sugar and sweetness of sunflower seed butter could also alter the flavor of your dish.
It’s excellent for dressings, dips, and some baked dishes. You can replace 1 cup of tahini with 1 cup of sunflower seed butter.
6. Almond Butter
This is a wonderful tahini substitute in terms of texture. It has a creamy, silky tahini consistency made from roasted almonds. This makes it great for cookie, sauce, and dip recipes.
Almond butter has a stronger, more distinct nutty flavor than tahini. So, it might be overpowering in some instances. It also carries a hefty price tag compared to tahini. But the nutritional benefits make it worth a shot. You can substitute almond butter for tahini at a ratio of 1:1.
No matter the substitute you choose, you may need to make some adjustments based on the recipe and your preference. But there are plenty of alternatives available. And tahini substitute listed above will enhance your dish and provide excellent results.