If You Don't Know Tahini You Should

Tahini is basically ground sesame paste or sesame seed butter. If one has a peanut allergy, tahini may provide a welcome addition to that favorite jelly sandwich. Make it a "T and J" instead of a "PB and J" provided that the Tahini you purchase is truly from a nut free factory.

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Ziyad is one popular brand found in neighborhood grocers like Harvest Time in Lincoln Square.

While tahini is high in calories, it's also loaded with healthy essential fatty acids. Tahini is also gluten-free and a great source of non-dairy calcium. I love tahini spooned straight out of the jar or in smoothies. Tahini is mostly used in Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, falafel, baba ganoush or halva

You can find jars of Tahini among all the other nut and seed butters in health food stores, Whole Foods and ethnic food marts such as Roger's Park's Devon Market, or Lincoln Square's Harvest Time. 
Prices vary in regards to quality. Raw tahini ("raw" meaning heated less than 115 degrees) is going to be the most expensive. Artisana makes a raw black sesame tahini. It has a very earthy, robust and smoky taste and I'm being kind here. Personally, I'm not fond of the taste but if you like really earthy, smoky foods, this might be for you. 
Years ago I made a sweet potato falafel with soy yogurt-tahini (dairy free) for a Greek vegan dinner party and it was a huge hit. The Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog has a goldmine of great recipes. She (Susan V) will also occasionally provide gluten-free options. Click here for the recipe.

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