Tahini is a Middle-Eastern ingredient, but it works wonders as a dressing in this hearty and nutritious Asian-inspired salad. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian
Your recipes prove this versatile sesame paste is for so much more than dipping, as a zesty dressing or marinade, in flatbread dough and even in banana pancakes.
You’re probably used to seeing tahini pop up in dips and dressings, but this week’s submissions brought vastly varied recipes from sweet treats to meaty marinades. Wendy Ely’s quick tahini spread on toast – brightened with orange zest and studded with dried fruit – made an interesting change from my usual nut butters at breakfast. Cookeathope’s tahini and banana pancakes followed – virtuous and filling.
On the savoury side, Recipe-swap regular MarmadukeScarlet created an umami tahini-miso marinade for steak that sat well along side stir-fried greens, while Garden Deli’s flatbread with honey and thyme was the perfect weekend bake – the sesame paste adding extra flavour to the dough, which crisped up beautifully. But this week’s winner, ElleZumbido, has reinvented my midday meal. If you can’t source one or two of the ingredients simply add some extra lime juice and soy.
The winning recipe: Asian rice salad
Tahini is a Middle-Eastern ingredient, but it works wonders as a dressing in this hearty and nutritious Asian-inspired salad. If you want to make a meal of it, top with some fried tofu. ElleZumbido, via GuardianWitness
Serves 4 100g short-grain brown rice A handful of arame (dried Japanese sea vegetable, optional) 2 carrots, coarsely grated 2cm piece of ginger, finely grated 20g cavolo nero or savoy cabbage, finely shredded 4 spring onions, chopped (reserve the greens as a garnish) ¼ cucumber, cubed 1 tsp each of black and white sesame seeds, toasted 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted
For the dressing 2 tbsp tahini Juice of ½ a lime A dash of tamari or soy sauce A dash of ume plum seasoning (if you can’t get this, just add extra lime and tamari) ½ tsp Chinese five spice mix 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Rinse the rice in cold water then bring to the boil in around 400ml of water. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
2 Soak the arame in cold water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3 Combine the cool rice with all the salad ingredients, reserving the spring onion greens and a small handful each of cucumber, arame and seeds.
4 To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini and the lime juice. Add a few drops of water if it curdles. Add the tamari and plum seasoning and five spice. Gradually whisk in the sesame oil. The texture should be like single cream. Dress the salad. Serve in bowls with a garnish of cucumber, spring onion, arame and a sprinkle of seeds.
Tahini flatbread with honey and thyme
Adding tahini to the dough gives this bread a chewy but soft texture and a gentle sesame flavour. Garden Deli, via GuardianWitness
Serves 2-4 300g strong white bread flour 190ml water 1 tsp fast action dried yeast 1 tsp fine salt 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp tahini
For the topping 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp set honey 3 or 4 sprigs thyme, leaves picked A pinch of sea salt flakes (optional)
1 Mix the flour and water until there’s no dry flour left. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
2 Add the yeast, salt, olive oil and tahini. Bring the mix together into a soft dough. Knead on a clean surface then cover for a few minutes. Repeat the kneading twice more with a rest inbetween. You should end up with a smooth, elastic dough. Shape it into a ball, put it in a bowl, cover and leave to rise at room temperature for about 5 hours – until roughly doubled in size.
3 About 30 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 with a baking sheet or pizza stone placed on the middle shelf. Shape the dough into a ball, then leave on the work surface. Put all the topping ingredients except the salt into a small saucepan and heat gently until the honey has melted. Set aside.
4 Gently flatten the dough until it is about 1cm thick and roughly oval in shape. Transfer to a piece of lightly oiled baking parchment. Press your fingertips into the dough’s surface, then spread the oil and honey mix evenly over the top. Add a sprinkling of sea salt flakes if you like.
5 Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack.
A quick and easy way to add a bit of oomph to a salad or roasted vegetables. I particularly like it drizzled over roasted cauliflower. I also use it as a marinade for steak: half to marinade the meat and half to drizzle over the cooked steak. MarmadukeScarlet, via GuardianWitness
Serves 2-4 1 garlic clove, very finely sliced 3-4 tbsp tahini 2-3 tbsp red miso paste 1 tbsp mirin 1 tbsp rice vinegar Water (optional) Salt and black pepper
1 Combine the garlic, tahini, miso, mirin and rice vinegar. Add a little water for a runnier consistency. Season to taste.
Spicy chickpea and avocado salad with tahini dressing
Serves 4-6 2 tsp ground cayenne pepper 2 tsp ground paprika 2 tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp salt and black pepper 240g chickpeas 1 medium potato, peeled, cut into small dice 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 large avocado, peeled and finely sliced 50g dried mung beans, boiled drained, or 100g cooked green lentils A large handful of coriander leaves A large handful of mint, finely chopped 2 apricots or half a ripe mango, sliced
For the dressing 60g tahini 30g chickpeas 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Juice of 2 lemons 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tbsp chopped parsley 2 tbsp grape molasses or honey 1 tbsp ground sumac 3-4 tbsp water Salt and black pepper
1 Blitz all the dressing ingredients into a smooth and runny paste.
2 Combine the paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric, salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas and potato, then toss until well coated in the spice mix.
3 Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan and fry the chickpeas and potato for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer them to a paper towel.
4 Assemble the salad by layering the avocado, followed by the mung beans, chickpeas, fresh herbs and fruit, then pour over the dressing and serve.
Tahini and banana pancakes
These little pancakes are light, fluffy and delicious. They are also baked, so no flipping and no waiting! They will keep for a few days and also reheat well, just pop in the oven for a few minutes to warm through.
Serves 4 125g tahini 1 ripe banana 2 medjool dates 6-8 tbsp almond milk or other milk 1 large egg, beaten 2 tbsp wholemeal spelt flour 1½ tsp baking powder Honey, to serve Sesame seeds, to serve
1 Set the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Blitz the tahini, banana, dates and milk until combined. Transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the egg, flour and baking powder. The batter should be quite thick, but, depending on the ripeness of the banana, you might need to add 1-2 tbsp extra milk.
2 Spoon the batter on to lined baking trays to form 10-12 pancakes. Bake for 12 minutes until golden. Top with honey and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, then serve.
Sweet tahini spread
This is gorgeous on toast or oatcakes, and is easy to transport to work for breakfast or snack times. Wendy Ely, Kendal
Makes around 150g 150g tahini (unhulled is lighter in colour and milder in taste than the hulled variety) 1-2 tbsp of honey or vegan alternative Juice and zest of 1 orange A handful of sultanas or raisins (optional)
1 Mix together the tahini, honey, orange juice and zest, then stir well and add more sweetener or juice if needed, for spreading consistency. Add the sultanas or raisins, if using.