Greenest Tahini Sauce from Bon Appetit (Vegan, GF)

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I’ve been following the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse this year, and while all the recipes I’ve tested so far have been delicious, I don’t think I’ll ever be a person who follows an exact eating plan. As a fellow cook and I were discussing yesterday, taking away my freedom to improvise in cooking is basically like denying my creative expression.

That’s why, with a fridge absolutely bursting with lush, leafy, crispy vegetables and a pantry full of every grain, seed, and nut I can imagine, it’s hard to follow the plan. I keep finding myself halfway through a stir-fry before I realize I’m using the bok choy that was supposed to be for that soup…

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Boy am I glad I made this tahini sauce, though. I’m not normally one of those people who licks all the batter off the spatula, but I found myself trying to get every last drop of this stuff out of the food processor.

Tahini, in case you’re not familiar, is sesame seed paste, a common ingredient in hummus. Alone, the flavor is a bit strong, but as a base for sauce, it has a subtle, nutty taste and a creamy texture. This dipping sauce layers fresh herbs and greens over the starchy tahini, and the result is something I can hardly describe. It’s light and refreshing at the same time as it feels as indulgent as Ranch dressing.

I’ve used this sauce as a dip for cut vegetables and as a salad dressing. If you use it as a dressing, you may want to thin it with a bit of water.

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Greenest Tahini Sauce
Makes about 2 cups
Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse 2014. I reduced the amount of garlic , as I find I’m quite sensitive to it, and I had to sub kale for the watercress, which I couldn’t find in Waco. I think adding cilantro made up for some of the peppery watercress I missed out on. In future, I might try subbing arugula (rocket) for the watercress instead, and omitting the kale and cilantro. I also added lime juice to the recipe because I ran out of lemon partway through, but also because lime juice is green, and this tahini sauce is supposed to be the greenest.

1 clove garlic, peeled
½ cup fresh mint leaves, stems removed
1 cup kale, chopped small
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup tahini paste
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt, to taste

1. In medium pot of boiling water, cook whole garlic clove for 30 seconds, just to soften. Remove with slotted spoon.

2. Return water to boil. Add kale, cook 20 seconds. Add parsley, cilantro, and mint, and cook another 10 seconds. Strain and submerge in a bowl of ice water.

3. Once cool, strain and squeeze out excess water with a paper towel.

4. Purée greens and garlic until finely minced, then add tahini, lemon and lime juices, and a pinch of salt along with ¾ cup of filtered water. Process until greens are finely chopped and tahini is evenly incorporated throughout. Add water slowly to reach desired consistency, adding more water, lemon/lime juice, and salt according to your tastes.

5. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for 3 days. Stir/shake before using.

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