Check the international aisle for the smooth tahini of your dreams.
I have a vivid childhood memory of sitting with my family at our kitchen table eating takeout from the one falafel shop in town. My mom handed me the wax paper packet stuffed with white pita, herby falafel balls, tomato and cucumber salad, some lettuce, and that undeniably delicious tahini sauce.
Looking back, this was definitely not the greatest culinary experience of my lifetime. The falafel often came cold and chewy and the pita wasn't particular fluffy or fresh. But it shaped my love for the perfect, creamy tahini that's making its way into mainstream American cuisine.
Before you could walk into any grocery store and find multiple tahini options, I would purchase mine in the international aisle of the supermarket. With its bright green top and signature smooth taste, Yehuda Tahina (spelled tahina to mimic the traditional Arabic and Hebrew word for the ingredient) was—and will always be—my choice of brand for tahini.
I love Yehuda Tahina because it's reminiscent of the sauce I loved to squeeze over my falafel growing up. The ingredient list reads: water, tahini, chickpeas, vegetable oil, corn starch, salt, garlic powder, and spices. It's a much milder tahini, because it's watered down into a thin sauce instead of a paste, but it still maintains the signature nutty flavor.
Here's the thing with Yehuda Tahina—I know it's not the traditional natural stuff. There's more to it than just sesame seeds—and that's totally ok. You can walk into most supermarkets and pick up a bottle of that kind of tahini if you want. It's thick, creamy, grainy like a nut butter—and not at all my style. I was truly amazed at the difference the first time I bought a bottle, and I even questioned if it was the same condiment.
The important thing to note is there's definitely a use for both Yehuda Tahina and other brands that are more traditional sesame seed pastes. For recipes like All-Purpose Tahini Dressing or Tahini Sauce I would go for a thicker consistency, because the recipe helps water it down. But for recipes that don't create a thin sauce with tahini, like my all-time favorite breakfast Avo-Tahini Toast, then Yehuda Tahina is the way to go. It's already a liquidly sauce, with all the flavor you want.
Don't get me wrong, if you're enjoying the grainy, thicker tahini varieties then keep on buying that. But if you're someone who doesn't typically like tahini, or maybe doesn't like the nut butter like texture, this is 100 percent the way to fall in love with the magical ingredient.