Tahini, Tasty In So Many Ways

Tahini Sauce, Baba Ghanoush, Sesame Maple Toasted Tofu
I love hummus. I am however, left alone in my tastes at home. It is difficult to make only a little hummus, so when I do make a batch of hummus I need to distribute it to other hummus lovers.Tahini, a paste made with sesame seeds, is a key ingredient in hummus and is only available in large bottles, and on more than one occasion I have had to throw the bottle out not fully used – only a little is needed to make a batch of hummus.I researched some uses for tahini and found that sesame paste is quite versatile. I was kicking myself for not finding all these recipes earlier. Tahini sauce is made thinner than the paste in the jar, and can be used as a sandwich spread, dip, or marinade. It is a much healthier option than mayonnaise, and it can be even used as an instant dip which you can eat with cut veggies. Store in an airtight container and it will stay well in the fridge for a week. You will see two varieties of tahini — black and white — they are pretty much the same both in taste and nutrition.
Nutrition— Although sesame is rich in fats, only 10 percent of this is saturated fat. The rest of the fats are good fats or essential fatty acids and contain good amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. One tablespoon of the paste contains 85 calories, of which fats represent 65 calories. It contains 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of dietary fiber. Tahini is is also a good source of vitamin B1, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorous and manganese.
Tahini Sauce(use as sandwich spread or as a dip)Ingredients:
1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon parsley, finely choppedMethod:
In a mixer combine garlic and tahini. Add salt.
Remove from food processor and add olive oil and lemon juice. If too thick, add a teaspoon of warm water until desired consistency. Mix in parsely
Baba Ghanoush
For those who may think it that this dish is bhaingan ka bartha in disguise – it is not. My kids eat this, which actually pleasantly surprises me. The bhaigan is diluted with lots of lemon, extra virgin olive oil and the distinct taste and texture of tahini. The recipe is adapted from http://www.simplyrecipes.com/.

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
1 clove garlic
1/4 – 1/2 cup lemon juice (depending on taste)
3 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons olive oil
Garnish
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake eggplant for 30 minutes, or until outside is crisp and inside is soft.
Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
Cut open eggplant and scoop out the flesh into colander and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Removing the excess liquid helps to eliminate a bitter flavor.
Place eggplant flesh in a medium bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mash together. You can also use a food processor instead of by hand. Pulse for about 2 minutes.
Place in serving bowl and top with lemon juice and olive oil. Add other garnishes according to taste.
Serve with warm or toasted pita or flatbread. Enjoy!

Baba ghanoush always has to have olive oil on top for garnish. However you can spice things up a bit by adding crushed red pepper, a dash of cumin, parsley or coriander

Sesame Maple Roasted Tofu (adapted from http://www.recipeland.com/)
Ingredients:
1 package extra firm tofu, rinsed and patted dry and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium red onion, sliced
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 cups snap peas
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Method:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss tofu, onion, canola oil, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast until the tofu is lightly golden on top and the onions are browning in spots, 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk tahini, soy sauce, maple syrup and vinegar in a small dish until combined.

Remove the tofu from the oven, add snap peas and drizzle with the maple sauce; stir to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Return to the oven and continue roasting until the peas are crisp-tender, 8 to 12 minutes more.

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