Creamy, tangy, and herbaceous, this healthy dressing makes a big impact with simple ingredients. Perfect for fresh salads, hearty grain bowls, or earthy veggie bowls, this creamy tahini lime dressing with cilantro is a versatile favorite for all types of healthy recipes!
You Will Love This Recipe
- It's easy to make. No need for store-bought dressing when it's this easy to make your own!
- It's full of healthy fats. Olive oil and tahini pack this creamy dressing with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with several health benefits.
- It is super flavorful. This tahini dressing recipe balances the nutty flavor of tahini with the acidity of fresh lime juice for a truly unique flavor profile.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Fresh cilantro: Bright and herbaceous, cilantro adds to the citrus flavors in this easy dressing. However, your dressing will still be tasty without it if you're out.
- Tahini: Also known as sesame seed paste, tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and adds a mild nutty flavor and creamy texture to this dressing. If you are out of tahini, you can try cashew or almond butter for a similar (but not quite the same) flavor.
- Fresh lime juice: The juice of 2-3 limes adds just the pop of acidity this dressing needs. Substitute with lemon juice if you're out of limes.
- Olive oil: I've used garlic-infused olive oil, but easily use your preferred oil and a clove of fresh minced garlic or ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Water: Use cold water to thin the dressing out to your desired consistency
- Seasonings: I kept it simple with just salt and pepper but feel free to customize the seasonings to your taste.
To start, finely chop the leaves and tender stems of your cilantro. From here, combine all of your ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Mix them thoroughly with a long-stem fork. The mixture should thicken up. Stop here if you want to use this as a dipping sauce or thicker dressing. For tahini salad dressing consistency, mix in additional water, one tablespoon at a time, until it is drizzle-able.
Use this dressing on your favorite salads, grain bowls, or burrito bowls. It also makes an elevated veggie dip from your typical ranch dressing!
Spicy Tahini Dressing: Add ¼-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or ground cayenne! You could even try to add some hot sauce (I think green pepper hot sauce would taste best).
Ginger lime tahini dressing: In place of the cilantro, add a teaspoon of finely grated or minced fresh ginger. To add more East Asian flavors, you could switch out some of the water and salt for soy sauce or coconut aminos.
Oil-free dressing: Omit the olive oil and add more water to reach your desired consistency.
This is a great dressing to make ahead since it lasts for days in the fridge. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Give it another quick mix before serving.
- Taste your dressing before serving. If it tastes bland, chances are it could use another pinch of salt or squeeze of lime.
- Two of my favorite ways to have this dressing are on a root veggie bowl (with sweet potatoes, parsnips, and rutabaga) and on burrito bowls.
- Eco tip: Make use of the rest of your cilantro by blending it with onions, tomatoes, and lime juice for a simple salsa. Or, you can blend them into a pesto or green juice.
Tahini dressings are often made with tahini, oil, an acid (such as lemon juice or vinegar), water, and seasoning. Tahini is a sesame paste with a texture similar to thin nut butter.
Tahini has a nutty, slightly earthy flavor. The nutty flavor will be more robust in tahini where the sesame seeds have been toasted, whereas raw tahini will have a milder flavor.
People who are vegan may enjoy tahini because it adds creaminess to recipes that may otherwise have come from an animal product. That being said, tahini is a part of many cultural cuisines across the Middle East, Northern Africa, and the Mediterranean, so it is not as if only people who are vegan enjoy tahini.
Creamy Tahini Lime Dressing with Cilantro
- ½ cup tahini
- ⅓ cup finely chopped leaves and tender stems of fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (juice of about 2-3 limes)
- ¼ cup cold water (add more 1 Tablespoon at a time if needed)
- 2 Tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil (or olive oil + 1 minced/grated garlic clove)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Mix them thoroughly with a long-stem fork. The mixture should thicken up.
- If the mixture is too thick, add cold water 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Taste the dressing and add more lime juice, salt, or pepper as desired.
- Store this dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.