Sesame Seeds, Oil (About)

Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds

by Cat, June 2008 (Photo, right, from World’s Healthiest Foods (3))

See also: Baba GhanoushHummus (Garbanzo Dip)

This article discusses 1. Sesame Seeds; 2. Sesame Oil; and 3. Taratour Sauce Recipe

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are very important in Middle Eastern cuisine, where they are ground to a paste (tahini) similar to peanut butter.  Taratour Sauce (recipe below) is simply seasoned tahini, and is used in several Middle Eastern recipes on this site, including Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.  They add a nutty taste to foods.

Like flax seeds, sesame seeds also contain lignans, a type of fiber that have a cholesterol-lowering effect, and may help with menopausal symptoms.  Sesamin, one of the lignans in sesame seeds has been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage.

Store unhulled seeds in an airtight container; once hulled, they should be stored in refrigerator or freezer to prevent rancidity.

Sesame Oil

Sesame seeds are also important for their oil (look for cold-pressed sesame oil).  It is important in the cuisines of India, Korea and Southeast Asia, as a primary cooking oil. It can tolerate high-temperature cooking, as it is very resistant to rancidity.

Sesame oil can also be used for massage, including hair and scalp massage (but it may leave your hair slightly darker).  Unrefined sesame oil is a rich source of vitamin E, and contains magnesium, copper, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B6.

Refer to World’s Healthiest Foods (3) for more on these seeds and their oil.

Taratour Sauce (Tangy Sesame Tahini)

This recipe is mainly used as an ingredient in the dip recipes like Baba Ghanoush, but it can be served on its own.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 3 -4 Tbsp sesame paste (tahini)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp cold water (or cooking liquid from beans, if making hummus)
  • Deep bowl
  • whisk or hand-held mixer/beater


  1. In deep bowl, mix sesame paste (tahini) and garlic.
  2. Beat in juice, salt and water/cooking liquid.  If  too thick (thicker than mayo), beat in a little more water, 1 tsp at a time.
  3. Adjust seasoning.


  1. A Passion For Vegetables, by Vera Gewanter
  2. The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas
  3. World’s Healthiest Foods on Sesame:


About Cat

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