This creamy lemon herb tahini sauce is packed with flavor and comes together in about 10 minutes. It's easy to make and tastes great on roasted vegetables, in Buddha bowls, or as a dip.
The tahini creates a creamy sauce that’s vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Add fresh lemon juice to brighten up the dressing and fresh cilantro to add loads more flavor. If you like tahini-based dressings you also might like my smoky tahini dressing or dijon tahini dressing.
- It's dairy-free, vegan, and oil-free!
- The lemon sauce is easy to whip up in minutes!
- The recipe uses fresh ingredients for a flavorful sauce!
- It's versatile, use it on a variety of dishes for added flavor!
Ingredient notes and substitutions
The recipe uses simple ingredients to whip up this tasty sauce.
Tahini - This is made from ground sesame seeds and can vary in consistency with different brands. Your brand will most likely have a layer of oil on top that has separated. It will need to get stirred back into the tahini, then measure the needed amount for the recipe.
The contents at the bottom of the jar tend to be drier than what’s at the top, so each time I use tahini for a recipe I give it a good stir to redistribute. So depending on your brand and if the tahini came from the bottom of the jar, you may need to add more water. Since it's a major contributor to the flavor of the herbed tahini sauce, use a high-quality tahini that's pourable.
Fresh Lemon juice - A fresh lemon is best to give the lemon herb tahini dressing a tangy citrusy flavor.
Fresh garlic - I love the flavor of fresh garlic in the sauce, but you can also try ¼ teaspoon garlic powder instead of fresh. It will still flavor the sauce without being as intense.
Maple syrup - This cuts through the bitterness of tahini but can be left out if you don’t want the added sweetness. This can also be substituted with agave syrup.
Dijon mustard - The recipe calls for just a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, so it adds a hint of the sharp tangy flavor. It can be substituted with stone ground mustard, but I wouldn't substitute it with regular yellow mustard. The sauce will still be delicious without it.
Cumin and allspice - The spices add a more complex flavor to the tahini sauce recipe. It calls for just a pinch of allspice because a little goes a long way. If you're not a fan of it, leave it out.
Ice cold water - The water helps to thin out the tahini to make it more creamy and pourable.
Fresh Cilantro - The cilantro can be substituted with different herbs, try it with fresh flat-leaf parsley or a mix between the two fresh herbs. Or instead, use fresh chopped dill and add to taste. You can use any leftover cilantro in cilantro lime brown rice or cilantro cashew dressing.
How to make the sauce in a bowl
There are a couple of different ways to make the tahini sauce, to mix this dressing together in a bowl instead of blending, you’ll need ice-cold water. Mince the garlic and chop the cilantro. Whisk everything together except the cilantro and water.
Once the lemon juice hits the tahini, the tahini will probably seize up. Then whisk in cold water. The cold water loosens up the sauce and creates a thinner consistency. Then stir in the chopped cilantro. If you prefer it thinner add more water, and taste and adjust.
How to make the sauce in a blender
I prefer to use a small blender for dressings and small amounts of sauce. It’s easier to puree small amounts without having to keep stopping and pushing the ingredients down the side of the blender.
To make this lemon herb tahini sauce in a blender, add everything except the cilantro, then puree until smooth. Then pulse in the cilantro until is chopped up. It can also be made in a food processor. You won’t need ice-cold water to blend in a blender.
- Use quality tahini, it should be creamy and pourable.
- How much water you’ll need depends on how thick or thin your tahini is and your desired consistency. If you want to use it as a dip and be thicker, use less water.
- I don't have a problem with my blender pureeing garlic cloves in a dressing, but if your blender or food processor does then you might want to crush the garlic before adding it in with the rest of the ingredients (if using the blender method).
- Use the leaves and thin parts of the stems of fresh parsley and cilantro. Finely chop the stems so there are no large pieces.
- If you want to increase the lemon flavor add a little lemon zest.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to add a little heat.
Frequently asked question
Where can I find tahini?
Look for tahini near the nut and seed butter or the international section at the grocery store. If it's not available at your local shop it can be purchased through Amazon.
The lemon tahini dressing can be used for a variety of dishes but here are a few suggestions.
- Use it as a dressing for noodles, like in this tahini soba noodle recipe
- A dipping sauce for fresh vegetables or pita bread
- Serve it over roasted vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, or broccoli
- Sweet potato fries
- A salad dressing
- As a sauce for a grain bowl or Buddha bowl
- With falafels
- It's the perfect accompaniment to cubed sweet potatoes roasted with salt and smoked paprika. Then toss the cooked sweet potatoes with fresh kale and cooked chickpeas and a drizzle of lemon herb tahini sauce.
Store any leftover lemon herb tahini in an airtight container for about 5-7 days. It may thicken once chilled in the fridge, add a tablespoon of water at a time to thin it out (if needed).
- Oil-free hummus
- Smoked paprika hummus
- Dijon tahini dressing
- Smoky tahini dressing
- Creamy tahini soba noodles with sundried tomatoes
- Tahini pasta
- No garlic hummus (includes ideas on how to flavor hummus without garlic)
As always, I hope you enjoy this lemon herb tahini recipe! If you like it, feel free to rate it and leave a comment.Print
This creamy lemon herb tahini sauce is packed with flavor and comes together in about 10 minutes.
- In a small or medium bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, garlic, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt, cumin, pepper, and allspice.
- Then whisk in cold water to thin, start with 4 tablespoons then add more if needed.
- Then stir in chopped cilantro, taste, and adjust for seasoning.
To make this in a blender, blend together the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic clove, maple syrup, salt, cumin, pepper, and allspice until smooth. Small blenders work well for dressings and small amounts of sauces. Then pulse in the cilantro (no need to pre-chop it), just until it’s chopped up and not pureed.
How much water you’ll need depends on how thick or thin your tahini is and your desired consistency.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: sauces, dips
- Method: no bake
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: lemon herb tahini, lemon herb tahini dressing.