Vegans, vegetarians, and people who follow a plant-based diet should regularly eat tahini, as it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods. You can enjoy it in various recipes.
Above all, vegans should benefit by the regular consumption of tahini because it’s an excellent dietary source of many compounds that aren’t found in abundant in common plant-based foods, such as:
Above all, tahini is one of the richest vegan foods in iron. Just a tablespoon provides almost 8% of the Daily Value.
Vegans and vegetarians could benefit the most by eating tahini.
Vegans in particular have a much higher risk of being deficient in iron than meat eaters!
That’s because nonheme iron in plant-based sources isn’t as bioavailable as heme iron from animal-derived foods.
In fact, it’s estimated that vegans and vegetarians should consume at least 1.8 times more iron than people who consume meat.
Vegan women of reproductive age, female athletes, as well as pregnant and lactating women have the highest risk of iron deficiency. They have extremely high daily needs for iron.
In certain cases, they require more than 30 mg of iron per day!
We should regularly check our iron levels and consult our healthcare provider before changing our eating habits.
Besides tahini, some of the best vegan sources of iron are beans, tofu, spinach, cereals, and dark chocolate!
Vegans can also skyrocket their iron intake by consuming plant-based fortified foods. Iron in fortified foods is highly absorbable.
Moreover, tahini is an excellent vegan source of calcium. Just a tablespoon provides 6% of the Daily Value!
Vegans have a higher risk of inadequate calcium intake than people who consume dairy products.
Plant-based sources of calcium, like cabbage, kale, and broccoli, have a similar bioavailability of calcium as cow’s milk. It’s about 27%. However, vegans can’t depend on these foods for calcium because they have much lower calcium concentrations than cow’s milk per serving.
In addition, other plant-based calcium-packed foods like spinach, collard greens, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and beans, have a pretty low absorption rate of calcium. It’s only 5% because these foods contain oxalic or phytic acids. These compounds bind to calcium, forming indigestible salts with calcium.
Eating fortified foods could also help vegans meet their daily needs for calcium.
Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is also important for increased absorption rates of calcium. But, vitamin D deficiency is pretty common. Many people should benefit by getting extra vitamin D from supplements. Vegans in particular, as there aren’t common plant-based foods with vitamin D.
A tablespoon of tahini provides 16% of the Daily Value of phosphorus!
Tahini helps maintain strong and healthy teeth and bones because phosphorus, as calcium, is their key structural component. About 85% of phosphorus in the body is stored in bones and teeth.
A healthy, well-balanced plant-based diet provides more than enough phosphorus. Vegans aren’t at a higher risk of phosphorus deficiency, even if phosphorus from animal sources has a higher absorption rate than that from plants.
Bakery products are the main dietary sources of phosphorus for vegans. Beans and vegetables are also good sources.
Furthermore, just a small serving of 1 tbsp of tahini provides 15% of the Daily Value of thiamine.
This B vitamin is essential for energy metabolism. So, it’s good for you to eat tahini at breakfast for increased energy levels during the day,
As thiamine is a water-soluble B vitamin, we have to get adequate amounts from food every day.
Vegans can get high dosages from grains. Also, in the United States, many foods like cereals are fortified with thiamine.
Thiamine deficiency is rather uncommon among healthy vegans who follow a balanced diet. There are plenty of plant-based sources.
Only older people, people with diabetes or other diseases, may experience lower thiamine concentrations.
Heating reduces the thiamine status of food by up to 30%. It dissolves in water while cooking.
Processing also severely affects thiamine levels in food.
Additionally, tahini is an excellent vegan source of protein. Just a tablespoon has 2.6 grams of protein!
Actually, tahini is one of the richest vegan foods in protein. Most noteworthy, tahini has an excellent amino acid profile as compared with other plant-based foods.
Tahini is a plant-based source of various minerals & vitamins!
Tahini is a superfood. It’s packed with compounds that support weight loss and good health. For instance, a tablespoon of tahini contains:
- copper, 27% DV
- manganese, 10% DV
- zinc, 6% DV
- riboflavin, 6% DV
- niacin, 5% DV
- fiber, 5% DV
Tahini is also rich in compounds with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, called lignans!
How much tahini can I eat a day?
A tablespoon of tahini has about 90 calories. So, most people can eat 1–2 tablespoons a day.
Athletes could consume higher amounts, as they have increased energy needs than the general population. Also, tahini has many benefits for athletic performance!
People on keto and individuals with diabetes can regularly eat tahini as well.
How should vegans eat tahini for good health?
Tahini is rich in healthy fats. A tbsp has about 3 grams of monounsaturated fats and about 3.5 grams of omega-6 fatty acids. These types of fat are good for health when consumed in moderation.
For good health
However, tahini contains negligible amounts of omega-3s. So, it’s a good idea to eat tahini with foods containing omega-3s.
Ideally, we should consume the same amount of omega-6s and omega-3s. Modern Western diets are poor in omega-3s, though. Overconsumption of omega-6s may cause inflammation.
Certain seeds and nuts are the richest plant-based foods in omega-3s.
For weight loss
Moreover, we should eat tahini with whole-grain bread and good vegan sources of protein in order to lose weight. Meals high in both fiber and protein are the most filling ones.
How to incorporate tahini into my diet?
Here are 12 plant-based healthy, tahini recipes that vegans can regularly eat.
- Tahini Overnight Oats: Mix rolled oats, chia seeds, almond milk, a tablespoon of tahini, and a handful of berries. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Eating berries, like cranberries, strawberries, or blueberries, at breakfast has many benefits for health and weight loss!
- Tahini Quinoa Salad: Combine cooked quinoa with chopped vegetables like cucumber, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Add chickpeas, a drizzle of tahini, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of flaxseeds.
- Tahini Hemp Seed Salad: Combine mixed greens, hemp seeds, diced cucumbers, and grated carrots. Drizzle with a tahini-based dressing made with lemon juice and Dijon mustard.
- Tahini Chia Pudding: Mix chia seeds with almond milk, a tablespoon of tahini, and a touch of maple syrup. Let it thicken in the fridge and top with chopped nuts and fruits.
- Tahini Chia Energy Bites: Mix tahini, chia seeds, rolled oats, chopped dates, and a touch of vanilla extract. Form into small balls and refrigerate until firm.
- Tahini Flax Crackers: Make your own crackers by mixing ground flaxseeds, water, tahini, and seasonings. Dehydrate or bake until crispy.
Chia, hemp, and flax seeds are among the richest vegan foods in omega-3s!
- Tahini Veggie Wrap: Spread tahini on a whole grain wrap, then add roasted vegetables, spinach, and avocado slices. Roll it up and enjoy.
- Tahini Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill halved bell peppers with a mixture of cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, and diced onions. Top with tahini and bake until peppers are tender.
- Tahini Lentil Soup: Make a hearty lentil soup by cooking lentils with vegetable broth, carrots, celery, and onions. Stir in tahini before serving for a creamy texture.
- Tahini Edamame Dip: Blend cooked edamame, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt for a protein-packed dip. Serve with veggie sticks.
- Tahini Protein Smoothie: Blend together a banana, a tablespoon of tahini, a handful of spinach, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a cup of almond milk, and a scoop of plant-based protein powder.
Hummus is a delicious and highly nutritious vegan Middle Eastern dip.
It’s made primarily from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), tahini (sesame paste), lemon juice, and garlic. Here’s a quick and easy hummus recipe for you to try:
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2–3 tablespoons water (for adjusting consistency)
- In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, ground cumin, and a pinch of salt.
- Blend the mixture until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, you can add 2–3 tablespoons of water to achieve your desired consistency.
- Taste the hummus and adjust the seasoning by adding more salt, lemon juice, or cumin if desired.
- Once the hummus is smooth and well-seasoned, transfer it to a serving dish.
- Drizzle some olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of paprika and chopped fresh parsley on top for added flavor.
- Serve the hummus with pita bread, fresh vegetables, or use it as a super health spread on sandwiches or wraps.