Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

What is that sauce you get served with Pita sandwiches of all sorts and specifically with Chicken Shawarma? No, not the white one, we all know the cucumber yogurt sauce, Cacik or Tzatziki Sauce, right? The other one? It’s Tahini Sauce, and specifically for the Home Style Chicken Shawarma, I made the other day, a Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce.

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

I just love this vibrant Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce. I swear I could just about drink the stuff. And while I put it on the Flatbread with my Home Style Chicken Shawarma the other day, it can be used in other ways, too.

About Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce:

There’s hardly anything to making a Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce, so it’s an easy thing to whip up at a moment’s notice. And I don’t know about you, but when I make Hummus, I’m always looking for ways to use up the rest of that rather pricey Tahini. This recipe is a perfect one to keep in mind.

Use your Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce in pitas and/or wraps. Use it as a dip for your leftover pita or flatbread. Use it as a dip for veggies, raw, or drizzle it over any oven-roasted vegetables. Can I tell you how good this is drizzled over oven-roasted vegetables? Add a touch of vinegar and this makes a great dressing for a salad or greens, cooked or raw. And it is primarily made from sesame, so think about adding a little soy sauce and vinegar, a touch of a chile paste and tossing with noodles for a kind of easy-peasy Sesame Noodles.

My Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce is creamy, garlicky and absolutely delish. It’s kind of a kicked-up version of the restaurant sauces. Because it’s really no effort to add in a bit more lemon, a bit more garlic, and because I can, lol! Seriously, I like it a little on the bold side and there’s nothing shy about this sauce. I even stirred in a bit of my Zhoug in some of mine, which is a hot hot hot spicy green sauce.

If you’re not one for raw garlicky flavor, I get it, so if that’s the case sub in a little garlic powder. Or go a little sideways and try some roasted garlic. And if you’re not a cilantro fan, try a few coriander seeds and some parsley.

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

Making Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce:

To make your Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce, just toss everything in the food processor except for the water. Then use the water to thin to the desired consistency. You’ll need to scrape down several times because you won’t be able to see the right consistency until it’s all one mixed together. You don’t want to go overboard with the thinning – Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce should flow slowly, like honey.

Lemon Garlic Tahini is another recipe adapted from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi to go with the fantabulous Home Style Chicken Shawarma I made the other day. I just upped the volume on the flavor a bit. The recipe is a classic one, and many use olive oil in all or in part to thin the sauce. I like the way the water makes it a little bit lighter in taste (and calories) but both the oil in the tahini sauce and the olive oil have the good fats with lots of Omega 3.

This recipe is so quick, you’ll have it done in minutes. I think it took me longer to put on my shoes and go cut my parsley and bring it in than it did to make the whole recipe. I like using my food processor because I can see the consistency a little better, but any blender will work fine, too.

Home Style Chicken Shawarma

Home Style Chicken Shawarma

Saving Money on Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce:

Always a bit pricey, look for Tahini in any Greek, Turkish, Mediterranean market or the “ethnic” sections of the grocery store. Look for it, too, in any sale bins or carts. Specialty items are often found there for a great price. My jar ran around $8.00 bucks, so this sauce isn’t dirt cheap to make. I used about a third of it. Don’t let an open jar of tahini languish too long, keep it in the fridge and be prepared to spend a bit of time stirring it back together. I store the jars upside down which keeps it fresher a bit longer.

In season in the winter months here – lemons are often on sale throughout the year 2 to 3 for a dollar. The rind holds as much or more flavor than the juice, so I often grate it off before using and store in a Ziploc in my freezer – the little bit dries up but still holds more flavor than the store-bought. If I’m in a pinch and don’t have a lemon, I’ll use it instead. Microwave your lemon for a bit if it’s hard and/or roll it on the counter before you juice it and it will break down easier and give more juice. If you just need a small amount, pierce your lemon with a fork and squeeze out, then remember to use it – later. I bag it and put it in the door of the fridge where I’ll see it and remember it. Toss the rinds into a jug of water and put them in the fridge for your own lemony “Spa Water” or toss them in your morning Green Smoothie. They won’t improve the taste of that smoothie any but you can’t beat the vitamins and fiber!

It’s so worthwhile to grow a few fresh herbs in a pot (or in your yard) and I don’t think I could get along without mine. Most plants don’t cost any more than a bunch of herbs at the store (and many far less) so there’s little risk, even if you kill them off. Then you just have dried herbs. I bring mine in during the winter where they tend to languish a bit but generally last until spring when I put them back out.

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

  • Servings: about 1/2 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2½ tablespoons lemon juice plus the zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped, plus extra (or parsley) to garnish
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • about 1/3 cup of water, maybe a little more
  • a few extra herbs for garnish

Using a food processor, mix all ingredients together except for the water. While the food processor is running, add water and process until mixture is the consistency of honey. Stop to scrape down as needed. Garnish with a few more herbs. Store in a tightly covered jar, upside down. Mixture will separate. Stir back together if needed.


The original recipe called for fresh dill, several tablespoons. Many similar recipes call for parsley or cilantro. Add if you wish.

I found about a tablespoon of Zough spiced this up just a bit. A bit of Za’atar would be excellent in this

Don’t discount what the pinch of salt does for this recipe! It really brightens it up,

Slightly adapted from Chef Yotam Ottolenghi 


I’ll be sharing my Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce at Fiesta Friday #240. The co-hosts this week are Deb @ The Pantry Portfolio and Laurena @ Life Diet Health. Stop by and check out Fiesta Friday – it’s where so many great bloggers share their recipes weekly and you’re bound to find a lot of inspiration and something to cook! So funny, Deb’s latest post is for a Garlicky Hummus and Laurena’s for a Warming Spicy Lentil Dal. No, it’s not a conspiracy! We just all picked Middle Eastern Recipes this week! Perfect for fall days!

I’m sharing, also, at Fern’s site, The Lazy Gastronome on her weekly Link Up, What’s for Dinner?

That tahini sauce that's served with wraps and pitas in the Middle Eastern restaurants? That's a Lemon Garlic Tahini sauce & it can be made in minutes. #TahiniSauce #LemonGarlicTahiniSauce

29 thoughts on “Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Kathy. That does sound wonderful! Now me personally I would probably like a little spice on those shrimp. 🙂

  1. Ron

    Tahini Sauce With Garlic and Lemon is addictive. We have a small Middle Eastern bakery down the road that sells great flatbread and this sauce. But, it’s bloody expensive, so now I can make it myself. I put my sauce in the split of the flatbread…

    • FrugalHausfrau

      I’ve been working on flatbread, too, like they have at the restaurants here, and I’ve made pita a few time, but neither recipe is anything to write home about! So maybe I’ll perfect those during our long winter when I love baking bread. But this sauce is just so darned good! And all the sauces together for the Chicken Shawarrma were like magic.

  2. wow – Garlic Tahini Sauce – is from Middle East and specially Israel and Jordan, Amman. there is another recipe as well:

    2 tomatoes, cut into small or medium cubes
    2 cucumbers, cut into small or medium cubes
    2 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup tahini
    Juice of 1 lemon
    1/2 cup water
    1 tablespoon dried mint
    Olive oil (to garnish)
    1 hot chili pepper, chopped

    *May need to adjust tahini and water levels to desired consistency*. Consistency should be creamy.

    This is so delicious!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      That sounds delish! i love that it has a hot pepper in it. I haven’t seen a variation like this so it is new to me! Thanks!! Do you want to email me more about what you think your project would be like? Frugal.hausfrau@gmail.com I’d like to hear more about how you might envision this!

  3. Great minds think alike! I’ve never made a tahini sauce like this. You nail it every time! I often have extra tahini and I love the idea of adding flavors to make the perfect pita spread. Thanks for sharing at FiestaFriday!

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Deb, thanks so much! And thanks for hosting Fiesta Friday this week! I wish I would have had some of your garlicky hummus as an appetizer for my Home Style Chicken Shawarma!!

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