This Orange Thyme Tahini Dressing is a creamy, nutty, and oil-free dressing with a delicious fruity flavour. Healthy, lower calorie than oil-based dressings and more nutritious. Its sesame flavour goes fantastic with my Sweet Potato Grape Salad, but it’ll happily grace any salad that would go with these flavours and is the perfect finish for Falafel wraps.
Why You Want to Make This
Great for Weight Loss and Gut health
During my weight loss journey, I read many books about nutrition, different approaches to weight loss. Two of the best ones in my opinion were “Fibre Fuelled” and “Eat To Live” (This is the cookbook following the original book, which doesn’t seem to be available anymore). While I’m not vegan and don’t subscribe to the restriction of the Nutritarian way, I do enjoy the nut and seed-based dressings it offers, as they are often lower calorie than oil-based dressings, while offering more nutrition and fibre to the body. This is based on their philosophy, but I do add salt, contrary to the Nutritarian approach.
This dressing takes 5 minutes to whip up and needs no special equipment. The only “effort” is zesting the orange and mincing the garlic. From there you just whisk everything together until smooth and have an incredibly flavourful dressing for all kinds of delicious dishes.
You can of course use this on all sorts of salads, from some quick rocket on the side, elevated to deliciousness by the nutty sesame flavour and gentle sweetness to rather elaborate creations like the Sweet Potato Grape Salad I used this for in a previous post, all the way to Falafel Wraps (recipe coming up soon).
Let’s start with the main actor, Tahini. Since this is the flavour base of the whole dressing and with that will influence your dish rather dramatically: Whatever you do, please don’t use the classic supermarket version of Tahini here, which you will recognise by the firm and hard to scoop paste in a jar topped with a thick layer of oil. I found they are at best just hard to work with, worst case add a horrible, bitter note to your dressing.
What we are after is creamy, liquid and lovely sesame flavoured. Israeli, Lebanese and Palestinian version like “Al Nakhil”, which is the one I’m using.
Admittedly I have to order it online and often it is sold out in Ireland. So when I spot it, I tend to order several containers, for fear of running out.
I often get it at the Asia Market or Fallon & Byrne in Ireland. But if you live elsewhere in the world, check for the above countries of origin and you should be fine.
Orange and Lemon
Use unwaxed orange ideally, if you can find it. If you can’t, wash with hot water a a little dish soap, to get as much of the stuff off as possible before zesting. Dry thoroughly.
The lemon, just being juiced, can be waxed or unwaxed.
Even though we are just using a little bit here, the quality will have an impact. I’m using a fairly thick and sirupy one from Tesco, as I have no good Italian shop close by. If you can get your hands on the better ones, use that. Try to avoid the watery, sour ones some supermarkets sell rather cheap. They are great for, say roasting beets in them, as you’d need a lot, but not ideal for dressing, where you want the sweetness and complexity to shine through.
Fresh Thyme or Za’atar
I love using fresh herbs in my dressings and am lucky enough to have a garden with a few large pots of them. Though with Wookie, my huge Caucasian Shepherd running around in there, they tend to have some fluff on them I remove rather painstakingly.
So if I want a quicker option, I add Za’atar, which is a middle eastern spice mix made from dried, soft thyme (as opposed to the rather woody stuff you get as dried thyme in many other countries), sesame seeds and often some sumac (a power made from ground sour berries which is rather delicious). It’s one of my most used spices, as it goes so well with a lot of recipes that need thyme and can be mixed with a little olive oil, for a really addictive flatbread dip. I used it on my Sourdough Flatbread with Feta while frying, which was utterly delicious!
Garlic makes everything better! Ok well, nearly everything. Maybe not chocolate. Though Black Garlic….is a whole different story with chocolate. But, I digress.
One clove is enough for me, but of course you can add more if you enjoy it. I feel Garlic is a bit like vanilla extract: You read the recipe, nod understandingly, say “to hell with it” and add double.
Use good quality fresh garlic and if yours has a green sprout coming out of it (we’ve all had those, didn’t we?), slice in half lengthwise and remove the sprout, as it has a rather strong and unplesant taste and smell to it.
This feels hardly like a recipe, but rather a super quick whisking of a few ingredients.
Add all your ingredients to a jar or small bowl and thoroughly mix them with a whisk. Tahini can take a moment to dissolve into liquids, so be patient.
It also tends to thicken whatever it touches, so depending on the consistency of yours, you might have to add a little water or more lemon/orange juice.
Have a taste. It should be utterly delicious and moreish. Adjust the seasoning to your liking.
And you are ready to serve your Orange Thyme Tahini Dressing over any salad or wrap you can think of.
You can vary Tahini dressings endlessly, so you don’t get bored with your salads. For this Orange Thyme Tahini Dressing, you could add some herbs for a slightly more savoury approach, a little more honey for sweetness, mustard or chili for spice. Replace the orange with all lemon or lime, for a more acidic version.
This makes about 4 portions, though I often make double, to have dressing in the fridge for the week.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share and comment. It helps me a lot.
Orange Thyme Tahini Dressing
- 1/3 cup Tahini
- 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Fresh chopped Thyme or Za'atar
- 1 Orange, Juice and zest
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a bowl, combine the Tahini, Balsamic vinegar, orange and lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, Thyme or Za’atar, honey, and about ¼ tsp of salt. Whisk together until smooth and creamy. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning. Adjust the consistency by adding more water or lemon juice if desired.
- Calories: Approximately 143
- Total Fat: Approximately 11.5g
- Saturated Fat: Approximately 1.6g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: Approximately 65mg
- Total Carbohydrates: Approximately 10.5g
- Dietary Fiber: Approximately 1.5g
- Sugars: Approximately 7g
- Protein: Approximately 2.5g