Tahini used to be one of those misfit ingredients to me. I buy it to make fresh hummus – something that is exponentially superior to the supermarket selection. But afterwards, I used to be left an almost two-thirds full jar which would stare at me from the back of the refrigerator as if challenging me to figure out a use for it. One day, I took up the challenge and in my research, came upon a brilliant solution: tahini noodles! Though it sounds simple on the surface, the bitter flavor and thick, paste-like texture of tahini can complicate matters. Using this recipe from Vegan Yum Yum (which in turn is inspired by one from Coconut and Lime), I made my own version of this recipe.
½ lb (1 box) whole wheat spaghetti
1 head broccoli
½ of a cucumber
8-10 mint large mint leaves (plus extra for garnish)
Black pepper to taste
For the Sauce:
½ cup tahini
3 tbsp tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Chili Garlic sauce
1 inch knob of ginger, grated
1 orange, juiced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp sesame oil
I recommend using whole wheat noodles for this recipe because the nuttiness complements the nuttiness of tahini very well. The noodles should be cooked to al dente. While you wait for the water to boil, prepare the other ingredients. Cut the broccoli into small florets and blanche. Shred the carrots, thinly slice the cucumbers, slice the scallions, and julienne the mint. When the water is ready, toss the pasta in and prepare the sauce. All you need to do is whisk the ingredients for the sauce all together. When the pasta is done, drain and combine with the broccoli, carrots, scallion and mint. Pour half of the tahini sauce over and mix very well. Add more sauce to taste and serve the rest on the side. Add black pepper to taste and garnish with the cucumber slices and mint.
While you might notice many similarities to the Vegan Yum Yum recipe, there are a few deliberate distinctions that take the flavor to a new level – and most of them are in the sauce:
- I’ve omitted the cauliflower since I find it to be a too mealy with such a thick sauce.
- I’ve added fresh orange juice to the sauce. This might be the most important addition to the recipe. In addition to brightening all the flavors, the acid cuts through the heaviness of the tahini and the sweetness counterbalances the bitterness of the tahini and the saltiness of the tamari.
- I’ve added ginger to my recipe, which adds a third level of spiciness on top of the chili sauce and the black pepper. I like my food spicy.
- I recommend using Chili Garlic sauce since it adds the garlic element automatically. You can always use chili oil and add a little bit of garlic paste in. I just like the addition of a little garlic to the sauce because, well, who doesn’t like garlic?
This recipe will take tahini from that dreaded item on your grocery list to being one of your favorite secret ingredients that keep your friends guessing and begging for more!