Is Tahini Vegan?

In this article, we'll discuss what tahini is, whether it's vegan, its nutritional value, and its potential health benefits.
Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN

Written by Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN. Updated on November 20, 2022.

Toasted and then grounded sesame seeds are the primary ingredients of tahini. The taste of tahini is mild and somewhat nutty.

It is perhaps best recognized for its usage as a component in hummus, but it is also often used in a broad variety of cuisines all over the globe, notably in recipes from the Asian and Mediterranean culinary traditions.

You may wonder if it could be a tasty addition to plant-based diets. In this article, we’ll discuss what tahini is, whether it’s vegan, its nutritional value, and its potential health benefits.

TL;DR: Yes, tahini is vegan friendly! Try to choose 100% sesame tahini paste, and be sure it doesn’t contain any animal-based products or additives, but most of the time, it is a completely plant-based product.

What is Tahini?

Tahini, often known as tahina, is a crushed sesame paste or butter commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes.

It appears in dips like hummus, is drizzled over falafel sandwiches, and is converted into tarator that goes well with many vegetables.

Tahini is also used in the cuisines of East Mediterranean, North Africa, Levantine, and South Caucasus nations.

It complements both savory and sweet meals, notably halva, a sesame-based delicacy with a fudgy texture. Tahini can also be blended with carob molasses to form dibs bi tahini, a treat in Lebanon.

Tahini is commonly gaining popularity as a baking component in the United States, adding a creamy texture with a delicately nutty taste to banana bread, pastries, and pies, and being an emulsifier into sauces and dips.

What Constitutes Tahini?

Tahini consists of three components: hulled sesame seeds, and also sometimes salt and oil.

The kernels and bran of sesame seeds are separated from one another by putting the seeds through a crushing process after they have been soaked in water. When the smashed seeds are immersed in salt water, the bran sinks.

The surface-skimmed floating kernels are roasted, crushed, then toasted to create an oily mixture. It may also be made with uncooked seeds and marketed as “raw tahini”.

It is possible to emulsify it with oil in order to produce a seed butter that is silky creamy, smooth, and has a consistency that may be poured.

Can Vegans Eat Tahini?

Tahini can be considered vegan if the oil used in the mix of sesame seeds would be vegan. However, be sure to carefully read the labels and check ingredients if you stick to whole-foods diet that eliminates oils completely.

Tahini is a good substitute for nut butter for individuals who are allergic to nuts since it is manufactured from sesame seeds.

However, some individuals may have serious allergic reactions to sesame seeds.

Tahini Nutrition and Calories

Tahini is loaded with nutritious ingredients such as vitamins, good fats, and minerals.

According to the USDA Food Data Center, there are the following nutrients included in 15 grams (one tablespoon) of tahini:

Calories: 89.2 kcal
Protein: 2.5 g
Fat: 8 g
Carbs: 3.2 g
Fiber: 1.4 g

In point of fact, only 1 tablespoon (15 grams) offers more than 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for several nutrients such as:

Thiamine: 13%
Vitamin B6: 11%
Phosphorus: 11%
Manganese: 11%

Phosphorus and manganese are two minerals that are essential to maintaining healthy bones, and tahini is an excellent source of both of these minerals.

Additionally, it has a significant amount of thiamine, often known as vitamin B1, as well as vitamin B6, both of which are necessary for the creation of energy.

In addition, nearly half of the fat in tahini is composed of monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and have been associated with a lower chance of developing chronic diseases.

Tahini Health Benefits

We have seen the culinary use of tahini and have an idea of its nutritional value. This rich nutritional value has some potential health effects.

Antimicrobial Properties

Tahini and sesame seeds may have antibacterial qualities owing to the high levels of antioxidants found in them.

In reality, sesame oil is utilized as a home cure for diabetic foot sores in various Central European as well as Middle Eastern nations.

In one research examining the antimicrobial properties of sesame seed extract, researchers discovered that it was successful against 77.7% of the drug-resistant microbial pathogens examined.

Nevertheless, this is an emerging field of study, and additional human research is required.

Anti Inflammatory Properties

Tahini has anti-inflammatory chemicals.

While acute inflammation is a typical and healthy reaction to injuries, chronic inflammation may be harmful to people’s health.

Sesame seed antioxidants such as sesamin have been shown in animal experiments to reduce inflammation and discomfort associated with injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and lung illness.

Sesamin has also been examined in mice as a possible therapy for asthma, a disorder characterized by airway inflammation.

It’s crucial to realize that the majority of this study was done in animals utilizing enriched sesame seed antioxidants rather than tahini itself.

Tahini includes these potent antioxidants albeit in considerably lower concentrations. However, further study is required to completely understand whether sesame seeds cause inflammation in individuals.

Improve The Central Nervous System

Tahini includes chemicals that may benefit brain function and lower your chance of acquiring neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia.

Sesame seed contents have been found in test-tube research to protect nerves and brain cells against damage by free radicals.

Antioxidants in sesame seeds have the ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier, which means they may leave your circulation and directly influence your brain and neurological system.

According to animal research, sesame antioxidants could help reduce the production of harmful plaques within the brain. That beta-amyloid plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, rat research discovered that antioxidants reduce aluminum poisoning in the brain which can cause negative effects.

Nevertheless, this is a preliminary study on extracted sesame seed antioxidants. It may not be the same effect with tahini or sesame seeds as a whole. More people’s study is required before conclusions may be drawn.

Provide Anticancer Properties

Investigations have shown the possible anticancer properties of sesame seeds.

The antioxidants in sesame seeds have been shown to increase the mortality of lung, liver, breast, and colon cancer cells in vitro.

Sesamol and sesamin, are the two most abundant antioxidants within sesame seeds. They have been widely examined for their anticancer properties.

They may both accelerate the mortality of cancer cells as well as inhibit the development of tumors. Furthermore, they are believed to defend the body from damage by free radicals. It may reduce the risk of tumors in this way.

Even if the study that has been done in test tubes and on animals has shown some promise, there has to be more research done on humans.

Protects The Liver and Kidneys

Tahini includes ingredients that might assist safeguard your kidneys and liver from harm. The kidneys and liver are in charge of getting waste and poisons out of your body.

In one research, sesame oil consumption for 90 days resulted in better liver and kidney function compared to the control group among 46 patients with type 2 diabetes.

The sesame seed extract was also shown to shield rat liver cells against the harmful element vanadium in an investigation.

In addition, research on rats revealed that sesame seed-eating improved liver function. It boosted fat metabolism, reduced hepatic fat synthesis, and potentially lowered the risk of fatty liver disease.

Tahini does contain a few of these advantageous chemicals. However, this amount is far lesser quantities than the sesame seed oils and extracts employed in this research.

May Lower Certain Diseases Risk

Sesame seeds can reduce your chance of developing certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes. This may also reduce heart disease risk factors such as excessive triglycerides and cholesterol.

In research involving 50 individuals, those who ingested 40 grams (3 tablespoons) of sesame seeds every day had considerably lower cholesterol levels than those who received a placebo.

6-week research of 41 persons having type 2 diabetes revealed that those who substituted part of their breakfast with 28 grams (2 tablespoons) of tahini had considerably lower triglyceride levels than those who did not.

Moreover, diets high in monounsaturated fats are associated with a reduced risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes.

How To Use Tahini?

It is simple to include tahini in your diet. It is most often recognized as a component in hummus, but it is also delicious when used on a dip for pita bread, and vegetables or used as a spread.

In addition to that, you can include it in things like baked products, and salad dressings.

At home, you can whip up traditional tahini in no time. Additionally, you may either make your own raw tahini or purchase it.

However, a number of studies suggest that toasting sesame seeds may improve the number of health advantages they provide.


Tahini is a sesame paste or butter that is often used in Middle Eastern cooking. It is also widely referred to by its other name, tahina.

Oil, sesame seeds that have been hulled, and occasionally salt are the three components that make up this condiment. Therefore, it is possible to classify tahini as vegan if the oil in question is vegan.

The ingredient list for tahini includes a variety of healthy components, including vitamins, beneficial fats, and minerals. This high nutritional content may have a number of different positive consequences on an individual’s health.

It is not difficult to include tahini into your diet at all. Include it in items like baked goods and salad dressings, or use it on its own as a spread. It is also wonderful when used on dips for pita bread, and veggies.

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