Fresh herbs abound in this tahini sauce inspired by Vietnamese flavors such as cilantro, lime, mint, scallions, and garlic. The bite of the fresh herbs and tang of the lime balance the richness of the tahini for a bright and slurpable sauce, with many uses.

herby-tahini-sauce-on-spoon-over-bowl-of-noodles.

Many years ago, I fell in love with a Vietnamese Salad because of how it combined crunchy Napa cabbage, watercress, fresh herbs, and a Vietnamese dressing full of tang and funk (not to mention the crunchy peanut topping). It seemed the perfect match of flavors and textures and I’ve returned to making it often. Recently, after hearing tales from my traveling son of how prominent fresh herbs are with every meal in Vietnam, I was inspired again by that perfect combo of tang and bite to make this Herby Tahini Sauce with Vietnamese flavors.

A Vietnamese meal in Vietnam.

Above: A meal in Vietnam that features fresh herbs throughout.

Why Make This Tahini Sauce?

  • Flavor – This sauce is a departure from other tahini sauces that feature lemon and garlic or soy and sesame. It’s also different from most green tahini sauces which feature parsley, lemon, and garlic. The tang of the lime and the fresh bite of all the herbs and scallions create a truly unique and refreshing flavor.
  • Versatility – This sauce can be blitzed up and used throughout the week. It can be a sauce for noodles, a dressing for a salad (thinned out with water), or a marinade or topping for any protein you choose (vegan or animal). Try it as a dip for veggies. That works too!
  • Nutrition – As a whole food (simply ground sesame seeds) tahini is full of protein, fiber, magnesium, and healthy fats. Its a great way to eat more seeds, which form a vital part of the Mediterranean Diet food pyramid.
  • Easy – It is such a simple sauce to blend together (no chopping required) that takes less than 10 minutes to make.
tahini sauce ingredients, laid out on a serving plate.

Above: No chopping required! Just blitz the ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Mediterranean Ingredient Notes:

  • Fresh Herbs – just like vegetable greens, fresh herbs are a treasure trove of vitamins and polyphenols. It’s no wonder those eating a Mediterranean diet full of greens and herbs benefit from longevity.
  • Tahini – also known as sesame seed paste, tahini is simply ground sesame seeds, which along with nuts are a vital part of the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Aromatics – green onions and garlic.
  • Fresh Lime – fresh lime juice is recommended over jarred lime juice, for the freshest, light flavor. Jarred lime juice can be overly acidic.

Blending the herbs, scallions and garlic in a food processor for the tahini sauce.

Above: First blitz the fresh herbs, scallions, and garlic in a food processor or blender, then you will add the liquid ingredients.

Making + Using this Herby Tahini Sauce

As mentioned above, this simple sauce requires no prep work, other than washing the herbs and scallions. All the ingredients are blitzed to a smooth green sauce. You can add a bit of water or more lime, to adjust the thickness of the sauce, depending on how you will use it. Also, as mentioned above, there are multiple ways you can use this sauce, all at once for a noodle dish, or throughout the week, to dip, top, or flavor your meals. Enjoy!

Above: Saucing up a dish of noodles is only one way to use this Herby Tahini Sauce. Try thinning it with more juice or water for a dressing, or using it to dip veggies in or as a topping for your grilled protein of choice.

FAQs

How long will this Herby Tahini Sauce last in the fridge?

You can store this sauce for up to a full week (and I have), but take note that the fresh herbs and lime juice flavors will deteriorate some, and the vivid green will fade to a more yellowing green as the week progresses.

How can fish sauce be vegan?

As mentioned in the info box above, fish sauce is not vegetarian or vegan, but you can sub soy sauce, or purchase a vegan fish sauce (not an affiliate link).

Is this sauce spicy?

No, I have not made this a spicy sauce. If you like spicy sauces you can add pepper flakes or even a Thai chili or other Asian chili to add a real kick

Can I make this sauce if I don’t have a blender or food processor

You absolutely can! Finely chop all the ingredients, and mix them with the tahini. The sauce won’t look uniformly green, but it will still taste the same. 🙂

bright green tahini sauce.

Above: You can use the amount of sauce this recipe yields to dress enough noodles for a meal of four or store it for use throughout the week. See FAQs above.

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herby-tahini-sauce-on-spoon-over-noodles

Herby Tahini Sauce (Vietnamese Flavors)

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time0 minutes
Servings4
Calories194
Fresh herbs abound in this herby tahini sauce inspired by Vietnamese flavors such as cilantro, lime, mint, scallions, and garlic. The bite of the fresh herbs and tang of the lime balance the richness of the tahini for a bright and slurpable sauce, with many uses.
Kitchen Tools
  • 1 food processor, or blender

Ingredients
 

  • 1/2 cup tahini ((a.k.a. sesame seed paste))
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro ((see notes))
  • 1 cup fresh mint ((see notes))
  • 1 bunch green onions ((a.k.a. scallions))
  • 1 large garlic clove ((2 if smaller))
  • 1 lime ((juiced))
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (vegan) ((see notes))

Method:  

  • Thoroughly wash fresh herbs, lay on towel and wrap to dry/remove water. Remove the mint leaves from stems. Keep Cilantro leaves whole with stems.
  • Wash green onions, trim root ends off and dry. Only trim off tops of greens if they are brown or bruised.
  • Add fresh herbs, green onions, and garlic clove to food processor/blender. Run the machine to finely chop all the ingredients, pulsing and scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Add the lime juice, tahini and fish/other sauce. Blend with pulses and scrape down sides. End by blending continually for 10 seconds or so to achieve smooth texture and green color. Taste and adjust with salt to taste. Taste and adjust, making sure you are happy with the level of tang of the lime or funk from the fish/other sauce.

Notes

Fresh Herbs: cilantro stems are full of flavor and should be used, while mint stems are woody and should not be used. You can cut back one of these herbs and add in some basil as well, with stems.
Fish Sauce: This vegan sauce uses vegan fish sauce, or you can use coconut aminos, soy or tamari sauce, or regular fish sauce if you are not vegan/vegetarian. Any of these choices adds that funky flavor/umami. You could also use miso.

Nutrition (an estimate)

Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg | Magnesium: 40mg | Net Carbohydrates: 8g
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