Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tahini Tuna Salad

I love experimenting with ingredients that I am not familiar with. My husband, who does the grocery shopping for us, usually does not want to go to the store with me because it takes me forever. I stroll through the aisles and check out new products and then research how I can use them.

Open face tahini tuna salad
It is in one of those exploration trips where I found tahini. Tahini is sesame seed paste and is used in hummus or baba ganoush. I was intrigued and curious on how to use it.

Unfortunately, I am not a hummus person and I was not in the mood for eggplant. So, I had to look for other options.

I found this Tahini Tuna salad recipe in and it looks like an easy one to start with. It is also appropriate since now that it’s getting warmer, I am making more sandwiches for lunch. I can make a small batch of this Middle Eastern version and see if I like it.

Making tahini tuna salad also involves making tahini sauce. Per the recipe, ‘tahini sauce is thinner and used in pita sandwiches, marinades, and dips.’ Tahini sauce is very easy to make. One can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it will keep for about two weeks.

I can see what other things I can make with tahini sauce. Using my recipe below, you will get left over Tahini Sauce, but that is not really a bad thing. I can give you some tips on what to use it with.

Also, since I found it difficult to find this recipe, I will post it here for your convenience. And of course, in the tradition of Mad Gourmet, I made some minor modifications.

Try it and see what you think.

Mad Gourmet’s Tahini Tuna Salad
Adapted from the Tuna Salad with Tahini and Tahini Sauce recipe in


For the Tahini Sauce (makes about a cup)

  • 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 3 gloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, finely chopped (optional)

For the Tuna Salad

  • 3 to 4 Tbsp of Tahini Sauce depending on taste
  • 1 5 oz. can of tuna, drained
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp yellow onion, chopped (I just eyeballed it)
  • handful of walnuts (optional)
  • cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
  • lemon juice, to taste (optional)


Making the Tahini Sauce

  1. Combine garlic and tahini. Add kosher salt.
  2. Add olive oil and lemon juice. If too thick, add a teaspoon of warm water until desired consistency.
  3. Mix in parsley, if using.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate. 

Making the Salad
  1. Chop onions, rinse and set aside.
  2. Open can of tuna, drain and flake in a medium bowl.
  3. Add onions and walnuts, if using and the desired amount of tahini sauce.
  4. Mix well until all ingredients have combined.


Tahini Pasta Salad with Turkey MeatballsThe original tuna salad recipe called for chopped tomatoes and lettuce, but I opted to serve them with the sandwich – like a deconstructed version. I loved it. It gave a needed freshness and texture. I also added walnuts for the same reason.

I really enjoy this recipe. Once you have the tahini sauce, the tuna salad is super easy to make and delicious. In fact, I used some of the leftover tahini sauce for a second batch of tuna salad.

I also used the tahini sauce as a condiment for a veggie burger (instead of mayo or mustard) and dressing for a (single serve) pasta salad. It was excellent!

This will definitely be part of my sandwich rotation.

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