Creamy Tahini Milk
November 20, 2011

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Note: this post is not for the many of you who have expressed to me a major distaste for tahini. Tahini seems to be a polarizing ingredient: some of us (like me) simply can’t get enough of it, while others seem to cringe at the sight of it. This nut “milk” is tahini based, and it most definitely tastes that way, which is bad news for the tahini-sensitive. For those of us who love the stuff, though, it’s an ideal alternative to almond, soy, or rice milk. And as an added bonus, it takes about three minutes to prepare, and there’s no straining involved.

This is a great nut milk to put in smoothies and puddings, and it’s lovely warmed up gently in a pan, too. Again, the taste is distinctive, so it’s not the right choice for delicate recipes with sensitive flavor balances. On it’s own, though, or in a brilliant morning smoothie, this stuff is delicious. Here’s how to make it.

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Creamy Tahini Milk (can be raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Makes about 3 1/2 cups

1/2 cup tahini (roasted or raw)
3 cups filtered water
3-4 pitted dates, soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes
Dash salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender till very smooth.

Recipe notes:

1) I like this homemade milk to be less sweet than others. If the 3-4 dates aren’t sweet enough, feel free to add some more dates or to add some stevia!

2) After years of trying to stick to raw tahini, I’ve given up and started getting the roasted stuff. I *love* the taste of raw tahini, and would always get it if I could, but frankly, I use a lot of tahini in my kitchen, and I just can’t afford to spend $13 or $15 every time the jar is empty.

Note that, whether roasted or raw, I try to get organic!

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Here’s the best thing about this recipe: you’re blending a seed butter, which means you can use a lower-speed blender and get the same results you would in a fancy blender, like a Vitamix. As a general rule, this is a fabulous “trick” to start making homemade nut milk: if you don’t have a high speed blender, you don’t want to strain through cheesecloth, and you’re finding that your homemade milks aren’t smooth enough, try almond, cashew, or pecan butter in place of nuts themselves.

The next best thing? The creaminess:

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Absolute heaven. In a glass.

Tahini hater? Try my creamy hemp milk as a protein-rich alternative!!

On that note, I’m back to cramming for yet another Orgo exam. Speaking of which, a little holiday week announcement: because of tomorrow night’s test, I really haven’t been able to whip up a fancy Thanksgiving compilation of recipes for you guys. Sigh. I’m sorry. Believe me when I say that I’d have liked nothing more than to spend the weekend in my kitchen, recipe testing, but these are the moments where I have to remind myself that my job right now is to focus on being a science student and getting into med school, and not on being a full time food blogger.

I will, however, compensate for the lack of a recipe guide with at least a couple of holiday themed recipes, links to old posts, AND a raw, vegan pumpkin pie (which is amazing) in a couple of days. So stay tuned!

xo

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    48 Comments
  1. Blessings… just a reminder… Sesame is a seed. Not a nut so folks that can’t eat nuts can eat Sesame Milk. Use Raw organic sesame soaked for several hours … alternative to tahini … xoxo

  2. Raising the pH of the mixer seems to stop any bitter after taste that tahini might have. The dinkiest tad of soda seems to do the trick. Too much only adds its taste. Time can help it interact…

  3. Loving tahini at the moment. Just started making it myself, sooo easy. Sesame seeds and a little olive oil. Would be interested to try it as a milk too….

  4. This sounds so yummy! I’ve been having trouble with the store-bought alternative milks, so I’ve recently been making my own and looking for fun variations. I will definitely have to try this! Is there a certain brand of tahini you like? I’ve noticed there’s quite a range in price, but don’t know if that coincides with taste? Thanks for any help!

  5. I’m so glad to see this – I’ve been contemplating making tahini milk for weeks, since I only have a baby blender that would die if I made a normal nut milk. Am very excited to give this a try!

  6. Gena – Of course, we understand your priorities lie in academia. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are astounding to have the energy to blog so frequently and meaningfully, while engaged in such a rigorous pre-med program. We are all rooting for your success (and thankful not to be taking all of those advanced science courses ourselves!) so there’s no need to apologize.

    Lots of luck on your exam!

  7. I am definitely going to have to try this recipe! I am not a vegan but I do enjoy tahini and it sounds like the dates probably make this a wonderful and mildly sweet drink. Thanks for the recipe!!

  8. Yum! I’m making this tonight:) I’ve always wondered why raw is more expensive then roasted since roasted takes more work. I guess I’m missing something.

  9. Tahini-blackberry-frozen banana smoothie = best ever! Tahini somehow combines really really well with blackberries, in my opinion.

    And yes, get into med school! We’ll find food! 😉 I’m hoping to try some of your recipes from previous years since we’re staying local and cooking this year!

  10. Ooh I’m with you on tahini, I love the stuff although too much is hard for me to digest well. I still eat it plenty, though.
    Alicia Simpson has a tahini “coffee” recipe, in which she mixes essentially this – tahini mylk – with blackstrap molasses! I haven’t had it, but it sounds amazing and think of all the nutrients! Alternately, I’m wondering how this would be in actual coffee, which I know you also quite enjoy 😉

  11. I love tahini, but I have never made nutmylk out of it, sounds interesting but I will try for sure. I knew you were going to school but until your last post I didnt know it was to be a doctor. I think that is awesome, this world definitely needs more medical doctors who have a nutrition background. Im so elated and think thats great, good luck!!

  12. You know, I’m not Tahini-sensitive but I’m actually not a fan of creamy milks. I think the reason why I love rice milk so much is because it’s, well, waterier. Is there a way to make this less thick?

  13. This milk simply looks amazing! i hate how many nut milks lack of creaminess.., i always ask for extra froth or DRY cappuccinos at coffee stores- just to have more creamy froth!

  14. Whoa, totally just noticed that Nada offered up the same tip about buying cheap tahini. Note to self: read comments first, not after. 🙂

  15. Can’t say I’ve ever considered making milk out of tahini. I mean…I love the stuff. But milk? I think I’m going to have to try it now, just because I need to know if I’ll love it or hate it. Crossing my fingers for love.

    I can’t afford raw tahini either, though I’ve found that I can get huge jugs of the stuff from a local Middle Eastern store for cheap, and organic too! The health food store stuff is at least double the price, and I love me a big vat of tahini.

    We’ll see about the milk though. 🙂

  16. I love the blending nut butter into mylk trick! I first learned about it from Raw Food Real World. Awesome if you don’t have time to make the real nut kind, and also if you don’t have a good blender! I think we are all ok with you not having an extravagant Thanks Giving post this year! You are working so hard. You have kept up this blog so beautifully whilst being so swamped with school. I am in awe of you every time you post! I am sending you all my love for the holidays.

  17. Good for you, Gena, for figuring out what your biggest priorities are in these stressful moments! I am so looking forward to the pumpkin pie recipe-my mom is counting on me and my friends to provide some tasty raw vegan desserts!

    Good luck on your exam tomorrow-you will be fine 🙂

  18. I heart tahini and am always trying to look for more ways to use it…. I’m sure I’d love this milk and can’t wait to try it soon. Just discovered how iron and calcium rich, not to mention protein rich, tahini is! Would love more tahini recipes… 🙂

    Good luck on the exam!

  19. I’ve actually only had tahini in hummus but I would love to try tahini milk. The hemp milk looks delicious too- can it also be made in a lower-speed blender? Thanks! 🙂

  20. Gena,

    Thanks for the recipe! This looks delicious.

    If you want to stick to the raw tahini, it’s relatively easy (and cheap) to make your own. Just put raw sesame seeds in your food processor, and grind like you would for any nut butter. It will take a while–at a certain point you may think that it’s not going to come together. But have patience, and eventually it will smooth out. I find that it tends to work better when I make a fairly large amount.

  21. Yum Yum Gena, I love nut milks. As much as I love hemp milk, I find it gives me stomach aches? Does anyone know why this happens? Normally my digestion is very robust but something about hemp makes my tummy turn. Same for raw hemp (hulled/shelled) on salads.

  22. This is such a great idea! Can’t wait to try it! Good luck on your exam and don’t worry about the lack of a Thanksgiving guide; I can’t believe how well you tend to your blog in spite of school. 🙂 By the way, where do you tend to purchase your dates?

  23. The new recipe sounds amazing but this is so true “my job right now is to focus on being a science student and getting into med school, and not on being a full time food blogger.” This is a time in your life when your priorities are just that and there are so many Thanksgiving compilation posts out there AND all the amazing ones you’ve done in years past. No need to apologize!

    And the nut milk/tahini + water trick…learned that from Ani and Sarma’s books years ago. Always works for me! Big time saver.

  24. For JL–you can totally make sesame seed milk–it’s fantastic. But the nice shortcut with tahini, like Gena said, is that it’s super-creamy and super-quick with no need for a vitamix–it’s very hard to make sesame seed milk well in a cheap blender (believe me, I’ve done it).

    Gena–I love that you’re sharing this tip. I’m in Israel right now, where (at least in families like mine that originate from the Middle East) tahini is ubiquitous, usually combined with date syrup. There are two big shelves of various kinds of tahini at the supermarket.

    I love it as much as I love any nuts and seeds (which isn’t a ton, I guess) but I don’t eat much of it because I’m afraid of the omega 6’s. My mom points out that I don’t get nearly the omega-6 load that the general grain-and-meat-eating population gets, but the huge omega 6 to 3 ratio still puts me off. Do you think I’m right to be so concerned, I wonder? I go back and forth, seeing the general healthiness of my family who eat so much of it…

    • Ela,

      I think Fiona’s advice, below, is sound. Yes, most of us are eating a lot more Omega-6’s than 3’s, but you are indeed eating probably far less than a standard American eater is. Beyond that, I think the main issue in shifting that ratio is to actually increase the Omega-3s and not DECREASE the Omega-6’s (if they are coming from healthy and well loved foods). I’d focus on supplementing Omega-3’s either through careful eating or through one of the good vegan algae-derived supplements. But I wouldn’t worry about tahini.

      G

      • According to AnnLouise Gittleman, we are not getting enough of the good Omega6’s. She recommends hemp
        – need to research this?

    • Hi Ela,

      I know I’m not Gena, but I thought I’d add my two cents. According to the book I have, Becoming Vegan, written by registered dietitians, many vegetarians and vegans do eat too many omega-6 fatty acids because most plant foods have a ratio where there is more omega-6 than omega-3. We are supposed to eat more omega-6 than omega-3, the problem is when we eat way more omega-6 than omega-3. According to them the ideal ratio is somewhere around 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 and many people – vegans and omnivores alike – don’t have this ideal ratio. Since tahini is really high in omega-6’s, it’s not a food I eat tons of. There are vegan supplements now for DHA and EPA (forms of omega-3 preferred by the body) and many RD’s recommend taking a supplement because there is evidence that our bodies may not convert the ALA omega-3 (the type found in plant foods) very efficiently into DHA and EPA. If you made sure to include a lot of omega-3 rich foods in your diet and perhaps took a DHA/EPA supplement, eating lots of tahini would probably be OK because it would balance out. But if you aren’t specifically adding lots of omega-3 rich foods to your diet then eating less tahini is probably better, ideally. But having the “perfectly ideal” diet is impossible anyway so if you love tahini, enjoy it, and you will most likely still be healthier than someone eating a standard diet. Like I said, I got this info from a book written by RD’s, but I myself am not an RD so take what I say with a grain of salt! 🙂

  25. I am absolutely obsessed with tahini! I go through a jar every couple of weeks and like you there’s no way I could manage to afford the raw all the time but the roasted is delicious as well. I love your sesame seed milk so will have to try this very soon, thanks for the recipe!

  26. I love tahini! One of my favorite ways to use it is spread on toast. Yum. It never, ever, occurred to me to make a milk with it.

    Silly question. Since tahini is essentially sesame seed paste (I think?) I wonder what would happen if you tried to make sesame seed milk (just thinking it might be cheaper?) I could be way off of this! LOL

    • i have made tahini dressing with just sesame seeds. it’s less oily even. i i suspect it would work for this.

  27. I just love tahini, and I recently started making my own nut milk! I find that my blender does alright if I’ve soaked nuts, but it’s probably not a bad idea to give it a break once in awhile. Creamy and delicious? I’m in!

  28. I struggle to understand how anyone could NOT like tahini – I go through jars of it like it’s going out of style! Will definitely be trying this – sounds and looks so decadently creamy.

    Also just a tip – try getting your tahini from Arabic/ethnic food stores, it may not be organic but most tahini is made unroasted and you can get it for a fraction of the price!