Tonight I went over to my friend Sandy’s house for falafel, and I agreed to bring the fixin’s. Stewart and I love falafel with Jerusalem salad, lettuce, hummus, and extra tahini sauce. We skipped the hummus this time, but I thought you might like the recipe for the sauce and the salad.
First thing’s first: tahini. It’s both a paste and a sauce made from crushed sesame seeds. The paste is similar to peanut butter in consistency, but it’s not as sweet. I quite dislike the paste straight up; I find it kind of bitter. But don’t base your judgment on tahini solely on how it tastes straight from the jar. I much prefer it in hummus, or mixed into creamy sauces for a nutty, almost cheesy flavor boost.
Tahini is also a sauce, but you really only run across this variation when you’re eating middle eastern food, like falafel. It’s simply tahini paste mixed with water, lemon juice, salt and sometimes olive oil and garlic. The simple additions do wonders for the flavor, turning into a great dressing. You’ll need the sauce for the Jerusalem salad, but make extra and keep some in the fridge.
Basic Tahini Sauce
Makes enough for Jerusalem Salad, plus extra for drizzling over falafel
1/4 Cup Tahini (paste)
1/4 Cup Water
2 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
Mix water and tahini until smooth with a whisk. Whisk in remaining ingredients and set aside (or chill).
Makes enough for 4-6 falafels in pitas
1 Medium Cucumber, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 cups total)
3 Firm Plum Tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 1 cup total)
1 Handful Parsley, roughly chopped
3 Tbs Tahini (sauce)
Fresh Black Pepper
Toss cucumbers, tomatoes and parsley in a bowl. Add tahini and toss to coat – salad should not be soupy. Grind fresh pepper over the top. Season with an extra dash of salt or squeeze of lemon if desired.Â Serve as a filling for falafel, or as a refreshing summer side salad.