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Creamy Pine Nut & Tahini Sauce (Tarator Sauce)

Steve Hunter

Yield: Yields 1-1/2 cups.

Use this all-purpose Middle Eastern sauce as a dip for pita or raw vegetables or thin it with olive oil or water and spread over fish before baking.


  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 Tbs. tahini (sesame seed paste), well stirred
  • 4 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil; more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 1 Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 60
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 50
  • Fat (g): 6
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 50
  • Carbohydrates (g): 2
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 2


  • In a food processor, purée the nuts and garlic until they form a paste. Add the tahini and 4 Tbs. lemon juice and purée. With the machine running, mix in cold water 1 Tbs. at a time until the sauce is thinned to the consistency of sour cream (you’ll need 1/3 to 1/2 cup water). Add 1 Tbs. olive oil (or more) for a slightly more spreadable consistency. Season with salt and pepper and another 1 to 2 Tbs. lemon juice if you like. If you’d like some heat, add cayenne to taste. This sauce thickens as it sits; add cold water as needed to thin it. Garnish with parsley or cilantro and serve at room temperature.


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