vegan tahini sauce or dressing that's oil free and vegan

Easy tahini salad dressing with lime is a zesty, healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and refined oil-free dressing or sauce that comes together in minutes!

Use this tangy dressing for salads, drizzled over veggies, tofu, tempeh, or enjoy as a dipping sauce!

Think of this dressing recipe as a juice sauce with a little bit of dressing because it is mostly lime juice—with a bit of tahini.

What’s in Tahini?

Tahini is ground sesame seeds reduced into a smooth paste—that’s it! We buy our tahini ready made so that it’s available whenever we get the urge to make a sauce or dressing.

Sometimes the sesame seeds are hulled, and sometimes they’re left unhulled; sometimes the seeds are roasted, and sometimes they’re left raw.

You can use tahini to make dressings, sauces, and to add a layer of flavor to many of gluten-free baked goods. When it comes to ways to use tahini in your cooking, the possibilities are endless! 

And if you’d like to try making tahini from scratch, check out this method by Minimalist Baker.

vegan tahini sauce is a great way to dress this salad

The Origin of Tahini

Tahini is an Arabic name for ground sesame seeds, but its origins are likely in Persia.

Tahini goes as far back as the 13th century, where there is a reference to it as a sesame paste. At one point, tahini was used as a source of oil.

For hundreds of years, only the wealthy could get their hands on the ingredients to make tahini. In some cultures, tahini was a currency.

And the ancient Greeks used sesame as both medicine and food. 

It’s believed that Hippocrates recommended sesame for its nutritional values. And in India, traditional medicine uses the sesame seed to nourish and make the body healthy.

It was in the 1940s, that tahini began to appear in the United States. And now, you can find tahini in nearly every supermarket across the USA.

To dig deeper into the origin of tahini, check out this article.

fresh lime and radish on a cutting board

Is Tahini Dressing Good for You—is Tahini Healthy?

Tahini is a beautiful way to add powerful antioxidants and genuinely healthy fats to your diet. It also provides several vitamins and minerals. This recipe for vegan tahini sauce or dressing is a very healthy dressing recipe.

Tahini also has anti-inflammatory properties. Its benefits may include reducing risk factors for heart disease and protecting brain health—the brain needs healthy fats to function optimally!

bottle of homemade tahini dressing

Do you Need to Refrigerate Opened Tahini?

Ah—the question of refrigerating jarred tahini is subjective.

Since tahini is high in oil, some believe it is best to keep tahini refrigerated once opened to prevent it from going rancid too soon. But since it may get challenging to stir once chilled, be sure to mix thoroughly before putting it in the refrigerator.

As for this recipe for easy tahini salad dressing, once it’s mixed, we suggest you refrigerate for lasting results.

fresh radish with leaves and lime on cutting board

Why Did My Vegan Tahini Sauce or Dressing Curdle?

On its own, tahini may seem hard to work with and often proves challenging to incorporate into a sauce—at first. It’s not so much an instance of curdling but a symptom of oil refusing to mix with water.

But do not despair. Sometimes, just adding a bit more water or another liquid while stirring with vigor does the trick! Blending tahini provides wonderfully, creamy results.

Why do Some Think Tahini is Unhealthy or Bad?

Because tahini has a high-fat content, it has many calories. Since it is higher in calories, as with most great tasting foods, moderation is the best practice. So to experience its health benefits and skip the downside of too much fat, use common sense and practice moderation. 

It’s also important to mention that those with tree nut allergies are often allergic to sesame seeds.

bottle of homemade, oil free, vega, tahini dressing, gluten free

How to Use this Creamy, Dairy-Free, Vegan Tahini Dressing

What goes well with a dark and leafy green salad? This easy tahini lime dressing, that’s what!

And we love this dressing with a bowl full of chopped kale and a sprinkle of our easy cashew parmesan.

This vegan tahini sauce or dressing tastes excellent drizzled across a plate of crunchy baked falafel with a side of oil-free hummus.  Many people think of tahini sauce as falafel sauce. Tahini sauce for falafel has become a sauce on request at our house.

vegan tahini sauce or dressing, refined oil free, gluten-free

Tahini Dressing Ingredients

To make this easy refined oil-free tahini, lime sauce, dressing, you will need the following ingredients:

  • tahini
  • water
  • fresh lime juice
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • black pepper

Tahini Substitutions

The possible substitutions for tahini are numerous and varied. So, if you ever need to find a replacement for tahini, there are many!

The top of our list of possible tahini alternatives is sunflower seed butter. Sunflower seeds behave similarly to sesame seeds, which are the base of tahini. 

Though our first go-to substitution for tahini is sunflower seed butter, most any nut or seed butter can serve as an alternative to tahini.

To learn about other possible substitutions for tahini, read this article.

cork topped bottle of tahini dressing, vegan, gluten free

Where to Buy Tahini

Tahini is somewhat easy to find at most supermarkets, usually on shelves in the international food aisle. But availability does not necessarily secure freshness.

By that, I mean that it is possible to purchase tahini that is challenging to use. Tahini is challenging to use when the oils separate from the solids to a point where the solids become almost dried out and hard to stir.

We link Amazon sources for tahini in the recipe ingredients list below for easy-to-stir, reasonably priced, organic tahini.

And for another place to buy inexpensive, easy-to-use, organic tahini, we like the Thrive Market brand in a squeezable packet.  

By the way, Thrive Market is one of our favorite places to shop for shelf-stable organic plant-based ingredients.  

There is an annual membership fee to shop online via Thrive Market, but shipping is free with orders of $49 or more.  If you use Thrive to order staples even as little as once a month, you’ll quickly realize savings that far surpass the annual membership fee.

And, boy, do we ever love Thrive Market—we currently order most of our vegan pantry staples from Thrive. And we expect to be members for life for their competitive pricing, convenient shipping, and personal customer service practices; we love when our Thrive orders arrive at our doorstep!

The convenient tahini in a squeezable pack, ready to make this tahini lime sauce is reason enough to join Thrive!

vegan tahini sauce or dressing that requires no cooking

More Recipes with Tahini

When it comes to how to use tahini, the uses for this seed butter are nearly limitless!   If stranded on a desert island, I’d wish for tahini!

Here are just a few of our favorite recipes using tahini:

Best Ever Vegan & Gluten-Free Waffles
Creamy Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing
Thai Inspired Peanut Tahini Sauce & Dressing

Easy Fresh Green Beans with Sesame Seeds
Tahini Mango Granola Bars
Heart Healthy 5-Minute Oil-Free Hummus
Sage & Cashew Cream Cheese Spread

Asian Quinoa Salad Bowl with Easy Peanut Dressing
Blackberry Basil Bowl with Balsamic Dressing
Maple Roasted Carrots and Cranberries with Pistachios
Vegan Carrot Hot Dogs with Crazy-Good Slaw
Collard Wrap Salad Bowl

Chewy Almond Lemon Bird’s Nest Cookies
Vegan Oatmeal Date Cookies
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Hazelnuts
Vegan & Gluten-Free Apple Crisp Crumble
Chocolate Crunch Cookie

Thank You for Exploring Tahini Lime Dressing!

It never ceases to amaze me at how exciting it is to share new whole food plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and oil-free recipes with you! I think it’s because I know that by sharing what I know to be true, I’m doing some good—and that’s my most sincere motivation.

By the way, Mike and I keep a bottle of this lime sauce, aka, easy tahini salad dressing ready to go in the door of our fridge. We hope that this tahini dressing recipe becomes your go-to, too!

So I encourage you to share the recipes you like. If a recipe such as this one for easy tahini salad dressing strikes you as a keeper, by all means, share it with the world! (Trust us—if feels terrific to share!)

Happy Eating!

vegan tahini sauce or dressing that is plant based and gluten free
easy tahini salad dressing that is vegan, gluten free, plant based and refined oil free

EasyTahini Salad Dressing with Lime

  • 2
  • 0
    Cook Time:
  • Yield: 2 Servings

You will love this quick and easy, tangy and zesty salad dressing or no-cook sauce for brightening up salads, drizzling over roasted veggies, or as a dipping sauce for everything from fries to garden-fresh raw veggies! Tahini and lime juice are the stars of this dressing, and these star ingredients are ideal for highlighting whatever you toss in your favorite salad!


  • 2 tbsp of tahini
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, to preference
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt, or another salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a small bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients together until the dressing is creamy: tahini, water, lime juice, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
  2. Taste, and add more salt and pepper as you need to fit the salad you're dressing—toss this dressing with your salad ingredients. Taste the salad, and add more salt and pepper according to taste. The same seasoning suggestions apply when using this as a dip or sauce, too.
  3. Serve immediately—or if your salad consists of hearty, sturdy veggies, allow the salad to rest in the fridge for at least thirty minutes for the flavors to combine and intensify.


  • Zestiness:  After sitting together in the fridge for a day or two, the red pepper flakes' heat intensifies. We especially enjoy the slight bit of heat when we use it to top off dark and leafy greens like kale.
  • Storage: This dressing will keep for at least two or three days in the refrigerator.
  • Serving Size:  A standard serving of salad dressing is typically equal to 2 tablespoons, which equals 1 ounce.
  • Tahini Stock Up:  Here's a link for a terrific deal on a pourable, organic tahini bulk buy opportunity.


% DV

Calories Per Serving: 95
  • Total Fat 8.1 g 12 %
  • Saturated Fat 1.1 g 6 %
  • Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
  • Sodium 278.4 mg 12 %
  • Carbohydrates 5.2 g 2 %
  • Fiber 1.5 g 6 %
  • Sugar 0.7 g ---
  • Protein 2.7 g 5 %
  • Vitamin A 1 %
  • Vitamin C 14 %
  • Iron 8 %
  • Calcium 7 %

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