Tarator sauce is a delicious tahini-based sauce that goes with EVERYTHING. My family always served it as a sauce with fish and sandwiches, as a dip with fried cauliflower, falafel, and appetizers, and even as a salad dressing.
This tahini sauce recipe is so versatile and just adds that extra something to any dish, especially when you know how to make it just right. It's garlicky, lemony, and has that perfectly unique tahini nuttiness.
What I Love About This Recipe
This tahini dressing recipe is my dad's FAVORITE. We don't really have any exact measurements since we usually just eyeball it and adjust it to our liking. So what I did was have him taste test it a couple of times while writing down exactly how much of which ingredient I used.
And now I'm here to share this family favorite with you! You won't even believe how quick and easy tarator is to make; trust me you'll be drizzling it on everything.
- Tahini: I use store-bought tahini or sesame paste for this recipe. You can also make your own tahini. If you're using store-bought sesame paste, be sure to stir it well because just like other pure nut butters, the oil tends to stay on top, leaving the thick sesame pasta at the bottom.
- Lemon Juice: Always always use freshly-squeezed lemon juice. I can't stress this enough because I honestly think that prepackaged lemon juice has a weird aftertaste. And you won't get the same flavor you'd get from fresh lemons. You're also using around ¼ cup of lemon juice, so it really does make a difference.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves: The more, the better. The reason why this tarator dressing is so good is the freshly smashed garlic that's in it. Just make sure you smash it into almost a paste because you want the garlic flavor but without ending up with chunks of garlic. (I sometimes do this in my food processor, but it's a small amount I'll just use my mortar and pestle)
- Ground Cumin: Cumin goes so well with tahini!! This tahini dressing wouldn't be the same without it.
- Parsley Leaves: You're going to want to finely chop fresh parsley. This part is optional, but I always make mine with just a little bit of parsley because it adds that extra kick of herby flavor.
- Salt: My favorite to use is pink Himalayan sea salt. Taste your dressing as you go and adjust the salt to your liking.
- Water: Use room temperature water. Add more or less depending on how runny you like your dressing. I don't like to thin it out too much, so this recipe will give you a slightly thicker dressing. Feel free to add a little more water if you like it runnier.
How To Make Tarator Sauce
Peel and mash the fresh garlic cloves using a mortar and pestle.
Wash and finely chop the parsley leaves. Squeeze the lemons for fresh lemon juice.
Add the tahini, lemon juice, mashed garlic, salt, and ground cumin to a large bowl.
Mix everything together until well combined.
Gradually add water until desired consistency.
Add the chopped parsley.
Tips and Tricks
- Add the water gradually. I always mix the tahini, lemon juice, and other ingredients first, then gradually add the water while mixing. This gives me more control over how thick or thin the dressing is. If I'm making this tarator as a dip, I'd go for a thicker consistency. If I were making it as a salad dressing, I'd go for a runnier consistency. It's really up to you and how you prefer it.
- Add parsley before serving. If you want the parsley to stay fresh and flavorful, add it right before serving. These little things make a world of difference.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you make extra sauce, it'll keep in the fridge for 3-5 days (since it does have some fresh ingredients that will go bad if stored for longer). If it gets thick after you refrigerate it, just add in a splash of water, give it a mix, and you're good to go.
- Taste your tarator and adjust. This is just the way my family likes it. I suggest you taste the tahini sauce as you mix and adjust the ingredients to your liking.
What is Tahini Sesame Paste?
The main ingredient in tarator is tahini paste, a smooth paste made with toasted sesame seeds. It's a super common ingredient in Middle East countries.
Tahini is made purely of sesame seeds and is used in dishes like hummus, baba ghanouj, as well as numerous other appetizers and dishes. It's definitely a staple in my kitchen. If you're a fan of tahini, try this red pepper hummus tahini dip.
Is Tahini Dressing Healthy?
Even though this tahini garlic sauce recipe comes out super rich and creamy, all the ingredients used are fresh and all-natural. Also, tahini has several health benefits. Tahini is an excellent source of healthy fats and is packed with vitamins and minerals. It's also low-carb, vegan, and super nutritious.
Uses for Tarator
This tahini dressing is SO versatile. It goes well with a falafel sandwich, fresh vegetables and salads, fish, chicken, grilled meat, and even just as a dip for pita bread.
Recipes With Tahini
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Tarator Tahini Sauce
- ½ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ cup parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- Mix the tahini, lemon juice, smashed garlic, salt, and cumin.
- Gradually add the water while mixing until you get your desired consistency.
- Add in chopped parsley before serving.
- When you mix the lemon and tahini, the sauce will be super thick. Don't worry, just keep mixing while adding water and it'll get creamy.
- Adjust cumin and salt to your liking.
I made this for shawarma and it’s perfect .
I plan to use it with fried tofu next, but it would be great with almost anything!
Thank you 🙂
Thank you so much for the comment! It’s delicious with fried cauliflower too. I’ll need to try it on fried tofu- sounds delicious 😋
I think this is the sauce my grandmother used to make for fish. It turned out nearly spot on the same as I remember. Thanks for the recipe
Glad it turned out like how you remembered