Creamy Tahini Dressing

My friend Erin requested a tahini dressing recipe, and here it is! This tahini dressing is luxuriously creamy yet plant-based (no mayo!). It’s a fun alternative to your standard vinaigrette.

This tahini dressing is versatile and goes with a wide variety of salad ingredients. I listed a bunch of those ingredients below to help you craft your own salad. The tahini dressing will bring it all together.


I shared my go-to tahini sauce recipe a couple of months ago (have you tried it yet?). This salad dressing is similar but designed specifically for drizzling on salads, rather than using as a dipping sauce or on sandwiches.

For this salad dressing, I omitted the garlic and made up for the lost flavor by adding Dijon mustard. I also incorporated some olive oil in this dressing to make it extra luxurious. It’s easy to whisk together at a moment’s notice, and keeps well for about a week. I think you’re going to love it!

Tahini Dressing Tips & Notes

Buy good tahini! They vary a lot in flavor and consistency. The best tahini comes from Ethiopia, and my favorite brands of Ethiopian tahini are Soom Foods (affiliate link) and Trader Joe’s organic tahini.

Ice-cold water is key. Fill a glass with water and ice before you make this dressing so your water is very cold. The cold water ensures that the mixture emulsifies instead of getting all gloppy and weird. It also turns an already-creamy mixture into a remarkably creamy dressing! You’d almost think there’s mayonnaise in this dressing, but there’s not.

Balance tahini’s bitterness and tang with a little sweetener and some extra salt. A little bit of maple syrup or honey go a long way in making this salad taste well-balanced, complex, and totally delicious. This dressing also calls for a little more salt than most of my other dressings. Salt helps balance bitterness and brings out tahini’s best.

Also read: Megan’s Wild Rice & Kale Salad

Tahini Dressing Salad Suggestions

This tahini dressing would be great on a salad with any of the following ingredients:

  • Greens: kale, arugula, romaine, spring greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Bell pepper
  • Radish
  • Fennel
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Summer squash
  • Red onion or green onion
  • Fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, chives, dill, parsley
  • Beans: chickpeas, lentils
  • Whole grains: quinoa, farro, wheat berries
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
  • Cheese: goat cheese, feta


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons ice-cold water, more as needed


  1. In a liquid measuring cup or jar, combine the olive oil, tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and several twists of black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
  2. Add the cold water, and whisk again. The dressing should become remarkably creamy. Taste, and add more lemon juice (for zing) and pepper, if desired. If your dressing is too thick to drizzle, whisk in more cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve!
  3. This dressing will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 1 week. It may thicken with time; simply thin it with a little more cool water as needed.


MAKE IT VEGAN: Use maple syrup instead of honey.

CHANGE IT UP: You can stir in a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs (dill, basil, mint, cilantro or parsley) for an herbed tahini dressing. For full-blown green goddess flavor, see the herbs and amounts suggested here.