Tahini is a type of thick sauce or paste made from oil and ground sesame seeds. The condiment has a natural nutty flavor and comes with various nutritional benefits. It is also called sesame seed butter. This protein-rich paste is extremely versatile in nature and can be used in cooking sweet and savory dishes. It is a condiment often used in Turkey, Israel, North Africa, and various other countries.
Fast facts about tahini:
Tahini contains more protein than milk and most nuts. It’s a rich source of B vitamins that boost energy and brain function, vitamin E, which is protective against heart disease and stroke, and important minerals, such as magnesium, iron and calcium.
Most people prefer the paler type, made from hulled (skinned) seeds. The darker sort, made from unhulled sesame, is stronger-tasting and slightly bitter, but arguably healthier, because many of the nutrients are in the husk. An alternative view is that the fibre in the husk impairs mineral absorption. Either way, tahini is nutrient-dense.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 2-tablespoon (tbsp) serving of tahini made from roasted sesame seeds and weighing 30 grams (g) contains:
That same 2-tbsp serving provides:
Sesame seeds also contain more phytosterols than all other nuts and seeds. These are important for their cholesterol-lowering and cancer-blocking effects.
There are many other nutrients in sesame seeds, but it is difficult for the body to absorb them due to their hard-outer layer, or hull. Consuming sesame seeds in the paste form of tahini allows the body to absorb the nutrients they provide more efficiently.