Tahini is a staple ingredient in hummus, but truth be told, there are so many other ways to use this healthy ingredient beyond a dip or spread.
Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds and contains healthy minerals such as copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and selenium, D.J. Blatner, RDN and author of The Superfood Swap: The 4-Week Plan to Eat What You Crave Without the C.R.A.P, says.
Just two tablespoons of tahini pack about 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, according to the USDA. And since it has a savory, nutty taste, it can be easily added to various recipes without changing the flavor profile.
So step out of your tahini-is-only-for-hummus box and try these high-protein tahini recipes for every meal of the day — including dessert.
1. Tahini Cacao Cups
Since life is all about balance, we don't mind indulging in a sweet treat, especially if it's full of protein and fiber. These chocolate cups can be made as is or customized with a sweetener of your choice. If you're short on time, Blatner suggests buying a jar of tahini instead of making your own as this recipe calls for.
Get the Tahini Cacao Cups recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Turkey, Kale and Tahini Dinner Bowl
Whether you're low-carb or not, this dinner bowl is perfect for evenings when you want a simple but healthy meal without a lot of fuss. Blatner loves the addition of lean protein and loads of veggies, but if you'd like to add a whole grain she suggests serving this bowl with brown rice or quinoa. You can also substitute the turkey for tofu or eggs if you're looking for a meatless option.
Get the Turkey, Kale and Tahini Dinner Bowls recipe and nutrition info from Rachael's Good Eats.
3. Cinnamon Tahini Protein Smoothie
There's so much to love about this protein smoothie: Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and tahini adds protein, fats and carbs, making this a satiating sippable snack or meal. Blatner suggests sneaking in some added veggies like cauliflower rice to get in more vitamins and minerals without altering the flavor.
Get the Cinnamon Tahini Protein Smoothie recipe and nutrition info from Nutrition Stripped.
4. Cauliflower Salad and Roasted Chickpeas and Quinoa
If you're looking for a meal that balances whole grains, protein, veggies and healthy fats, Blatner says this is a good pick. With quinoa, avocado, chickpeas and a tahini dressing, you'll be surprised how satisfying this bowl of superfoods can be. The best part is, you can save any leftover tahini dressing and pour it atop your favorite meals and side dishes throughout the week.
Get the Cauliflower Salad With Roasted Chickpeas and Quinoa recipe and nutrition info from Platings + Pairings.
5. Chocolate Espresso Tahini Energy Balls
If you find yourself on the go and always craving snacks, whip up these energy balls. For starters, they taste like dessert, but they're full of protein and fiber. You'll get 5 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber in just one ball. "The addition of oats is a great way to get whole-grain nutrition and fiber," Blatner says. If you want even more fiber, Blatner recommends swapping the honey and maple syrup for pureed dates.
Get the Chocolate Espresso Tahini Energy Balls recipe and nutrition info from Fit Mitten Kitchen.
6. Healthy Quinoa Bars
All the nutrition in this recipe comes from whole foods and you won't find any processed added sugars here. If you're looking to bump up the protein to make these bars more satiating, try adding a nut butter like almond butter or hemp seeds, which add about 9 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons, according to the USDA.
Get the Healthy Quinoa Bars recipe and nutrition info here.