Creamy tahini dressing has a beautiful, silky texture.
It is a great all-purpose sauce that works just as well on salads as it does grain bowls or vegan wraps. It’s also amazing drizzled on falafel.
When you’re chopping a big salad or making a batch of falafel, you want the dressing or sauce to be the easy part.
You want something that comes together quickly.
Doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.
And doesn’t involve much in the way of gadgetry.
That’s when I make a batch of vegan tahini dressing.
This homemade tahini dressing recipe is almost as quick as a bottled dressing.
It comes together in a minute or two.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
It uses just four ingredients:
- Lemon juice
You really can’t get much simpler than that!
There’s no added oil or sugar.
No blender is involved, which means clean up is a breeze.
In fact, I usually make it right in the storage container. After using it, I can pop on a lid and store it for future salads & bowls.
If you’ve never tried tahini, think of it as peanut butter but with sesame seeds.
I also like using tahini whenever I prepare jackfruit recipes, because of its sticky, nutty quality that makes dishes more cohesive in flavor and texture.
Since tahini is the dominant flavor of this dressing, be sure that you enjoy your specific brand.
They’re nice and runny with a nutty taste that isn’t bitter. It’s also convenient that they don’t require a lot of stirring the way some brands do.
Find tahini in natural grocery stores near other nut & seed butters. Or look for it in the center aisles by Middle Eastern ingredients like boxed falafel mix. You can also find it in Middle Eastern grocery stores or online.
When you first open a jar of tahini, be sure to stir it well. The natural oils often separate & float to the top of the jar. If you don’t stir well, the oil may settle higher, leaving the bottom part of the jar very dry.
Tahini lasts for months in the refrigerator. So you don’t have to worry about using it quickly.
As always, fresh is best when it comes to lemon juice. I always have lemons in the refrigerator for dressings or squeezing into sparkling water.
Bottled just can’t compete with the bright flavor of fresh.
Depending on how you plan to use the dressing, you can increase or decrease the amount of lemon juice.
If you’re using it on a mild flavored green like romaine, you can go lighter on the lemon. If you want it to stand out on something bitter like kale, go a little bolder.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
In a small to medium sized bowl, combine the following with a spoon or whisk:
- Lemon juice
At first, the tahini will seize up and look thick. That’s normal.
Add more water & keep stirring until it has the consistency of a thick ranch dressing. You want it to be creamy but pourable.
Taste and add more lemon juice or salt, if needed.
Make it your own
You can easily personalize this vegan tahini dressing to suit your tastes or mood by tweaking the ingredients.
- Add maple syrup for sweetness
- Add minced garlic or Dijon mustard for bite
- Add tamari or miso for salt and umami
- Add sesame oil for nuttiness
- Add apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar for tang
- Add nutritional yeast flakes for cheesiness
- Add cayenne or chili flakes for heat
- Add chopped fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, or parsley for freshness
- Add seasonings like pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, or garam masala for variety
How to use vegan tahini dressing
How to store
Leftover tahini dressing will keep in an airtight covered container in the refrigerator for 5 days.
It will thicken as it cools. So when you’re ready to use it again, add a splash of water and/or lemon juice and stir until it reaches your preferred viscosity.
If needed, add another pinch of salt.
More salad dressings
Easy tahini dressing
- 3 Tablespoons tahini
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons water plus more as needed
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- In a small or medium sized bowl, combine tahini, 2 Tablespoons of water, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt with a spoon or whisk.
- At first the tahini will seize up and look very thick. That's normal. Stir in another Tablespoon of water until it has the consistency of a thick ranch dressing. (Add more water, if needed, by a small splash at a time.)
- Taste and add the final teaspoon of lemon juice, if you'd prefer it to be more sour, plus more salt, if desired.
Content, recipe, and photos updated February 21, 2022. Originally posted March 15, 2017.