A simple and authentic Middle Eastern Tahini Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs swimming in a homemade tahini sauce! Serve it with some pita wedges, or use it to dress up your falafels, chicken skewers, fish dishes, and more!
Like hummus, foul mudammas and baba ganoush, this cucumber and tomato tahini salad is another popular dish in restaurants all over the Middle East and Egypt, where I grew up. It is often used to compliment many dishes from kabobs to shawarma sandwiches, grilled fish, and everything in between (I've included some specific ideas below).
Let's be clear about one thing, when we say tahini salad, we don't just mean chopped vegetables dressed with a drizzle of tahini sauce--that's what I do with my grilled lettuce salad, but this is different. An authentic Middle Eastern tahini salad is made of small diced cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped fresh herbs, and, if you like, a hot peppers, all swimming in lime tahini sauce! The tahini here is key, and the sauce is made first, then the veggies and herbs are mixed in.
What you'll need to make this tahini salad recipe
Middle Eastern tahini salad is made using a few specific vegetables and an easy, homemade tahini sauce.
- Tahini sauce - My easy tahini sauce recipe makes the perfect dressing for this salad.
- Cucumber - I recommend an English cucumber as you won't need to peel it.
- Tomatoes - Choose tomatoes at peak ripeness.
- Jalapeno pepper - If you want your tahini salad less spicy, be sure to remove the seeds.
- Aleppo pepper - Optional but I like to add it for just a bit of extra heat.
- Kosher salt
- Lime juice - If needed to thin out the tahini sauce.
What is tahini? And what does it taste like?
Tahini is a paste made of ground sesame seeds. It is rich and creamy and tastes mildly nutty and savory. Tahini has been compared to nut butters, though it's made from seeds instead of nuts. Not all tahini is created equally and if you grab the wrong brand, you could end up with tahini that tastes bitter and chalky. For that reason, I always use and recommend this tahini. I use it in many things from hummus, to salads, dressings, and even desserts like my extra chewy tahini brownies.
In this tahini salad, my lime tahini sauce is used as the dressing. To make it, you simply blend tahini paste, garlic, lime juice, a dash of kosher salt and a little bit of water together. I also add fresh parsley for additional flavor.
How to make tahini salad
Making this cucumber and tomato tahini salad recipe could not be easier!
- Make the tahini dressing. Prepare the dressing according to my tahini sauce recipe. You can do this the night before and save it covered in the fridge if you'd like.
- Dice the vegetables and assemble. Dice the cucumbers, tomatoes and jalapenos into small pieces. Combine with the tahini sauce and all the Aleppo pepper if you choose. Mix well, taste and add salt to your liking. If needed for flavor or to thin the sauce, add more lime juice.
Tips for success
To make authentic Middle Eastern tahini salad, keep these tips and suggestions in mind:
- Use a quality tahini. As I mentioned above, not all tahini is created equal. A lesser quality tahini will affect the flavor of this so I always recommend choosing a quality tahini for the best flavor.
- Use English cucumbers. English cucumbers are best for making tahini salad because they are sweeter and do not need to be peeled.
- Dice the vegetables as small as possible. The cucumbers and tomatoes (and jalapenos if using) should be diced as small as possible. The smaller, the better for this recipe.
- Prepare the tahini dressing in advance. You can prepare the tahini dressing a day in advance, before making this recipe. I think it allows the flavors to infuse and makes this salad taste even better! If it's too thick, just add a little more lime juice or water to thin it before adding it to the vegetables.
Serve it with
There are so many ways to serve this cucumber and tomato tahini salad recipe! Here are a few of my favorites:
- With falafel. I'm not sure there are many better pairings than authentic falafel and authentic tahini salad!
- With kabobs. Lamb, chicken or shrimp, this tahini salad goes with it all!
- With fish. Tahini salad is often served as a side to different fish dishes, like salmon kabobs or fish sticks.
- Stuffed in pita pockets. You can also load up pita pockets with this simple salad and other favorite ingredients.
- With chips. Last but not least, you can also serve this tahini salad up with some freshly baked pita chips.
However you choose the serve it, tahini salad is a light side dish that adds loads of flavor to your meal!
How to store leftovers
You can keep leftover tahini salad in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Be sure to store it in a tight-lid container and just give it a stir before serving.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes. As I mentioned, you can make the tahini dressing itself a day in advance. The salad will also stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days so you can easily prepare it the day before it's needed if necessary.
More easy Middle Eastern salad recipes:
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Cucumber Tomato Tahini Salad
For the dressing
- 1 Lime Tahini Sauce recipe, Use this recipe to make it
For the salad
- ½ large English cucumber (seeded and diced into small cubes)
- 1 to 2 tomatoes (vine-ripe, diced into small cubes)
- 1 small jalapeno pepper (chopped, remove the seeds for less spicy)
- ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper (optional)
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- lime juice (if needed)
- For the dressing, make my lime tahini sauce recipe by blending tahini paste, lime juice, water, kosher salt together, then stir in a good cup of parsley. You can do this one night ahead of time and save it covered in the fridge. (If the tahini sauce becomes thicker as it sits in the fridge, you can stir in more lime juice or water to loosen it).
- To make the salad, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the tahini sauce with the diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and jalapeno. Add the Aleppo-style pepper, if using. Mix well. Taste and add salt to your liking. And if needed, add more lime juice.