Creamy and tangy, Lemon Basil Tahini Dressing can elevate any salad to the next level. This recipe is a perfect combination of fresh herbs, nutty tahini, zesty lemon, piquant Dijon mustard, olive oil, and white balsamic. And, it’s quick and easy to prepare, taking only a few minutes to blend all the ingredients together. With its unique flavor and texture, this tahini dressing is a healthy and delicious addition to any meal.

Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Basil Dressing: What Inspired my Tahini Dressing Recipe
  2. Lemon Basil Dressing Ingredients
  3. How to Make this Tahini Salad Dressing Recipe
  4. What to Serve with Basil Lemon Salad Dressing
  5. Tahini Lemon Basil Salad Dressing

Lemon Basil Dressing: What Inspired my Tahini Dressing Recipe

Inspired by the vibrant flavors of Greek cuisine, I developed this boldly flavored dressing to complement my fresh Greek Orzo Salad, which features the traditional Greek ingredients artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Starting with my favorite Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing recipe as the base, I made these changes and additions:

  • To infuse a Mediterranean flair, I added tahini (see definition under “quick tip” below).
  • To balance out the slight bitterness of the tahini, I swapped out the white wine vinegar for white balsamic vinegar, which has a slightly sweeter flavor, and added a touch of honey.
  • To further enhance the dressing’s citrus notes, I incorporated fresh lemon juice and basil.

After several rounds of testing, with multiple trips up and down the stairs to Robert’s office for his opinion, we found the perfect balance between the nutty, slightly bitter taste of tahini and the fresh citrusy lemon, tartness of vinegar, and sweetness of honey and basil. The resulting Lemon-Basil Tahini Dressing is bright and zesty, with a subtle nutty undertone that adds a delicious complexity to any dish!

Quick Tip

Tahini is a sesame seed-based paste that resembles peanut or almond butter in texture. In addition to tasting nutty, it’s a bit earthy, and slightly bitter.

Lemon Basil Dressing Ingredients

Here’s a summary of the resulting ingredients in this vibrant dressing:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon-infused or white balsamic vinegar
  • Dijon mustard
  • Garlic cloves
  • Tahini
  • Fresh lemons
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

How to Make this Tahini Salad Dressing Recipe

Here’s all you have to do to create this amazing dressing, with only 5 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of refrigeration:

  1. Blend tahini and lemon juice.
    Place the tahini and lemon juice in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients; blend.
    Add the olive oil, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon honey, mustard, vinegar, zest and salt; process until smooth.
  3. Thin dressing with water.
    Slowly add water, a tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin the dressing.
  4. Adjust seasonings as needed.
    Season to taste with ground pepper, and additional honey and/or salt.
  5. Refrigerate.
    Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving.

What to Serve with Basil Lemon Salad Dressing

This Lemon-Basil Tahini Dressing is delicious on most salads, not just my Greek Orzo Salad. Toss it with mixed greens, cooked grains (like couscous), cucumber, tomato, cooked chicken – it works well with almost all salad ingredients! I also like it drizzled on roasted vegetables, especially broccoli and asparagus.

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Tahini Lemon Basil Salad Dressing

Creamy and tangy, Lemon Basil Tahini Dressing can elevate any salad to the next level. This recipe is a perfect combination of fresh herbs, nutty tahini, zesty lemon, piquant Dijon mustard, olive oil, and white balsamic. And, it’s quick and easy to prepare, taking only a few minutes to blend all the ingredients together. With its unique flavor and texture, this tahini dressing is a healthy and delicious addition to any meal.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Refrigeration Tme: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Around 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon balsamic vinegar – or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup water – add as needed to thin (see directions)

Instructions

  1. Place the tahini and lemon juice in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until smooth.
  2. Add the olive oil, basil, garlic, 1 tablespoon honey, mustard, vinegar, zest and salt; process until smooth.
  3. Slowly add water, a tablespoon at a time, as needed to thin the dressing.
  4. Season to taste with ground pepper, and additional honey and/or salt.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

Note on honey: I have found that the bitterness of tahini varies significantly by brand – from not bitter at all, to very bitter. As a result, when preparing the dressing you really need to taste and add more as needed. Adding more salt also reduces the bitterness.

Make ahead: Can be prepared up to 1 week ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using. It will thicken as it sits, so you’ll want to thin it by whisking in a tablespoon of water.

  • Author: Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: sauces, salad dressing, gluten free
  • Method: No bake
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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