My new ingredient obsession is tahini. From whisking it into salad dressing to drizzling it on roasted vegetables, tahini makes any dish a standout.
Tahini is not only delicious, it’s healthy too! It’s rich in omegas, high in protein, and calcium, and low in carbohydrates. It’s also vegan, gluten and dairy free.
I’m thrilled that now there’s an entire recipe book devoted to tahini— the latest title in the wonderful Short Stack Editions.*
Tahini by Adeena Sussman offers a collection of recipes that will have you look at tahini in a new light, no matter your starting place. Recipes include classics like hummus and halvah, as well as new territory such as sweet potato dinner rolls and chocolate-tahini truffles. There’s also a section on tahini basics by Jackie Zitelman Horvitz, one of three sister-founders of my favorite tahini brand Soom Foods, which sells its Israeli-made tahini to top restaurants, including Michael Solomonov’s Zahav and Alon Shaya’s Shaya.
Adeena grew up in a tahini-eating household often eating this superfood with a spoon straight from the jar like peanut butter. Her mother always had the orange-and-white can of Joyva tahini in the pantry, but little knowledge of what to do with it. In 1993, Adeena moved to the Middle East for five years, became immersed in everything tahini and realized just how versatile tahini could be.
Today, Adeena is a recipe developer, food stylist and the co-author of nine cookbooks (with several more in the works). She is the founder of Crispianity, a column of original recipes and musings on crispy and crunchy food, on Food Republic. Raised in Northern California, she divides her time between New York and Tel Aviv. Adeena is currently working on a cookbook about Israeli cuisine.
As a part-time resident of Israel, Adeena is deeply knowledgable about tahini where this ingredient is essential to just about any dish. As an American food writer, she’s on top of tahini’s current status as a trendy superfood. And as a recipe developer, she’s keen on pushing the ingredient in new, unfamiliar directions.
To learn more about Adeena and the backstory of tahini, check out this terrific interview with The Splendid Table’s Sally Swift.
Cabbage Slaw with Apricot-Tahini Dressing
Courtesy of Adeena Sussman from Tahini, Short Stack Editions
From Adeena: When I was growing up, we ate a lot of slaw in the Sussman household. I can still hear the whir of the Cuisinart that my mother used to shred vast amounts of cabbage and carrots. My update on her mayonnaise coleslaw is one sneaky little recipe, but not in a Jessica Seinfeld-y way—I’m not trying to hide anything. The first bite instantly takes me back to childhood barbecues and ladies’ lunches with its Waldorf-y tendencies. But with another bite, that tahini makes itself known with a layer of nutty complexity. To sweeten the dressing, I plump up dried apricots to coax out their natural sugars, then whir them in the blender with the tahini.
Ingredients for the dressing:
1 cup (about 7 ounces) plump dried apricots, chopped, divided
1¼ cups boiling water
½ cup pure tahini paste
5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ingredients for the slaw:
1/2 small red cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
1/2 small green cabbage, shredded (4 cups)
1 celery root, peeled and shredded (2 cups)
3 carrots, shredded (4 cups)
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 tablespoons mint leaves
¼ cup minced chives
Make the dressing: Place ¾ cup of the apricots in a shallow bowl and cover them with the boiling water; let them rehydrate for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Transfer the apricots with their liquid to a blender, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
Make the slaw: In a large bowl, mix the red and green cabbages, celery root and carrots. Add the dressing and toss until coated. Add the walnuts and the remaining ¼ cup of chopped apricots along with the mint and chives and toss again. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. You can serve immediately, or refrigerate the slaw for 1 hour before serving to let the flavors come together.
*Launched in 2013, Short Stack Editions published its first three volumes through the success of a Kickstarter campaign. Like the best cookbooks, Short Stack consists of original recipes created and rigorously tested by a single author with the home cook in mind. They are beautiful objects meant to be collected, gifted and, most importantly, cooked from. And, like the best food magazines, Short Stack Editions are concise, affordable and built for function. Be sure to check out the other titles in the Short Stack series.
All the beautiful photos in this post are photographed by and courtesy of Lauren V. Allen with the exception of the Soom tahini photo (with the blender) which is photographed by Noah Fecks.