Is tahini gluten free?
It’s a delicious condiment used in Middle Eastern dishes and is frequently showing up in baked good recipes as well! But is tahini safe for someone on a gluten free diet?
Keep reading to find out.
What is tahini?
Tahini is a butter or paste made from ground sesame seeds. The kernels from the seeds are toasted then ground into a paste. Oil and salt may be added to smooth out the texture and enhance the flavor.
Tahini has an earthy, nutty taste. It’s a savory flavor and is commonly used in hummus and baba ganoush.
Is tahini gluten free?
Tahini only uses sesame seeds (and maybe a bit of oil and salt), so it’s naturally gluten free! Tahini is a healthy addition to a strict gluten free diet.
As always, check the label for any gluten additives or warnings. Although tahini is naturally gluten free, the manufacturing process can introduce gluten through cross contact. Brands may even add gluten ingredients as part of their product formulation. Always check the label, just to be safe!
Is tahini dairy free and vegan?
Fantastic news! Not only is tahini gluten free, but it’s also dairy free and vegan! Most brands of tahini are 100% sesame seeds, but some may also contain oil and salt.
All these ingredients are safe for anyone on a gluten free, dairy free, or vegan diet.
Types of tahini
Did you know that there are a variety of tahini products available? It’s true! Here’s a breakdown of a few of them:
- Unhulled tahini is made by processing the sesame seed with the kernel included. Including the kernel (hull) of the seed gives the tahini a stronger, slightly bitter flavor and boosts the nutrient composition. There’s more fiber and calcium in unhulled tahini paste.
- Hulled tahini is made with sesame seeds that have had the kernel removed. These seeds are lighter and don’t contain as much fiber as their unhulled counterparts. The flavoring of hulled tahini is a bit sweeter and the texture a bit creamier.
- Raw tahini is made with sesame seeds that aren’t roasted. This version is lighter in color and taste.
- Roasted tahini is made with roasted sesame seeds. Roasting brings out a stronger flavor profile, but also cooks off some of the nutrients in the sesame seeds. It’s a good choice if you want to add more flavor to your dish.
- Black sesame tahini is made using black sesame seeds. Popular tahini pastes are made with white sesame seeds; however, black sesame seed paste can be a great way to change up flavor profiles in your foods. Black sesame tahini is black in color (obviously) and has a more toasted flavor than traditional tahini. Give it a try!
Does tahini go bad?
All nuts and seeds contain oils, which can go rancid if not stored properly. Rancid oils can cause unpleasant smell and flavor changes. Light and high heat should be avoided when storing nuts and seeds.
Nut and seed butters, like tahini, are no different. Tahini naturally contains oils (and might even have additional oil added to enhance the texture). It’s best practice to store your tahini in the fridge to prevent the oils from spoiling.
When stored properly, tahini should last 1-2 years without going bad. (The specific brand may include a best before date on the product.)
As a general rule, keep all nuts, seeds and nut/seed products in the fridge to ensure the best flavours possible.
Looking for specific brands of tahini for your next recipe? Try some of these!
- Trader Joe’s Organic Tahini
- Whole Foods 365 Organic Tahini
- Joyva Sesame Tahini
- Soom Premium Tahini
- Thrive Organic Tahini
- Haddar Tahini
- Tazah Pure Sesame Tahini
- Al Kanater Tahini
- Achva Organic Tahini
- Nuts To You Organic Tahini
All of these brands are safe for anyone on a gluten free diet; however, it’s always good to double check labels for any gluten ingredients or warnings.
Make your own tahini
Making your own sesame seed butter is ridiculously easy! Here are the steps:
- Toast sesame seeds (either hulled or unhulled) in a pan over medium-low heat for a few minutes. They burn easily, so be sure to stir them often and don’t leave the pan unattended!
- Grind toasted sesame seeds in a food processor or high speed blender until they start to become a paste.
- Add your favourite oil until the desired consistency is reached. Throw in a pinch of salt, if you’d like!
Easy peasy. Homemade tahini in just 3 simple steps!
How to use tahini
There are so many fantastic ways to use tahini!
Gluten free hummus is the easiest recipe you’ll ever make. Tahini + chickpeas + oil and a bit of salt are all you need.. Use it with fresh veggies or drizzle it over a falafel sandwich.
Speaking of sandwiches, use tahini to make a Vegan Egg Salad Sandwich! Filled with chickpeas and tahini, it definitely gives off a hummus vibe. Capers give it a bit of flavor punch, while fresh veggies make it crunchy and nutritious.