A food that you can introduce to your family at your next meal!
Q. What would be one of the most nutritional elements to introduce into my families’ dinner? I have problems getting my children to eat healthy food.
A. Tahini, or sesame butter is a simple and good-tasting food that is very high in nutritional value and can be substituted for peanut butter. It’s simple to make, and easily digestible. Tahini is actually a thick paste made from ground sesame seeds and featured in Middle Eastern foods such as hummus. It can be used in cooking for both sweet and savory dishes. Enjoy it as a dip for veggies, pita or crackers, as a sandwich spread, as a sauce for rice, lentils, fish or chicken and in soups to thicken and add a creamy texture (plus protein) and rich, nutty flavor.
Tahini contains 20% protein, which is higher than most nuts and is high in unsaturated fats, plus B vitamins, copper, magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron.
The calcium content in 35 grams of tahini is 35% of the daily-recommended calcium intake. It’s also a good source of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, beneficial for heart, brain, eyes, hair and skin.
Tahini – basic recipe
8 ounces (1 cup) sesame seeds
1/4 cup olive oil, more if needed
Salt, to taste (garlic can also be added)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread sesame seeds on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet, and bake for 6 minutes. Mix and respread sesame seeds, and return to oven for 6 to 8 minutes more, or until sesame seeds are fragrant and golden brown. Immediately transfer toasted seeds to a separate bowl to prevent further cooking on the hot cookie sheet.
- Add sesame seeds to the bowl of a food processor (or a heavy-duty blender) and grind for 1 minute, or until seeds have broken down. While processor is on, drizzle in olive oil, and continue to grind for 1 or 2 minutes more – until a smooth paste forms. If mixture is too dry, then add more olive oil, 1 teaspoon at a time. Season to taste. Transfer tahini to a mason jar, and store in the fridge for up to one month.
Makes approximately one 10-ounce jar.
 Note; Canada, Japan and Israel have had an increased incidence of sesame seed allergies within the last 10 years. While not fully conclusive, research suggests that individuals with food allergy to peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, or cashews may also experience allergic response to sesame seeds.
 35 grams = 1.2 ounces or 2.4 tablespoons.