Last week, when I made my Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, I made an interesting discovery. Tahini (sesame paste) is difficult to find in my area and extremely expensive! A small six-ounce jar was over $11. I’m not sure what kind of gold the manufacturer thought they had in that jar, but I assure you, it wasn’t worth $11.
Tahini is very easy to make and the excess will last a month or more in the refrigerator. A cup of tahini is enough for about six batches of hummus and costs a lot less than $11 to make.
Tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 cup sesame seeds
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread sesame seed out in a single layer on a cookie sheet with sides or a jelly roll pan. Toast sesame seeds for 5-10 minutes, tossing the seeds frequently with a spatula. Seeds can also be toasted in a skillet on the stove, tossing frequently over medium-high heat. Do not brown or burn. Let cool completely.
Pour sesame seeds into a blender of food processor. Add oil. Process on high speed until smooth. Add more oil if necessary. The goal is to make a pourable paste. I didn’t add more oil and left it pretty thick. The thick tahini worked great in the hummus.
Depending on your appliance, your tahini may come out very smooth or with some texture. A nice, high-powered Vita-mix will make a really smooth tahini. My cheap little two-cup blender made a more textured tahini. If you are using the tahini as a salad dressing, you will want it nice and smooth. I’m adding it to hummus and processing it even more. Not-so-smooth is just fine.
By the way, I have had much better blenders over the years. However, this sad little one-speed contraption had out-lived them all!! One of these days, I will break down and buy another one even though I know it won’t make it past Christmas! There are some appliances I’m just hard on…like blenders and coffee/spice grinders.