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Sweet & Tangy Orange Tahini Dressing


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This orange tahini dressing is equal parts tangy and sweet! It adds wonderful brightness to salads, bowls, slaws, and roasted vegetables.

An orange tahini dressing is in a glass, weck mason jar. It rests on a white surface with a tiled backdrop.

Here’s the plan: I’ll keep posting tahini dressing recipes in spite of the fact that a good many live on this blog already.

You’ll tell me if get tired of seeing them. Deal?

Seriously, though: I know that I create a lot of these. But each time I take a new approach to making tahini dressing, I have renewed appreciation for this versatile, wholesome condiment.

It’s hard not to keep sharing.

A month (or so) ago, we were in that late March/early April period of vacillation between springtime warmth and drizzly days in the upper forties that were bone-chilling in their dampness.

It was like a good time for soup. And pasta. And foods that could somehow evoke sunshine.

Such as a vibrantly citrusy dressing for salads and bowls.

Orange tahini dressing ingredients

This dressing is what it says it is, and the ingredients are exactly what you’d expect them to be.

An orange has been sliced in half. It rests on a round white plate, with its zest.

Orange juice & zest

Orange juice and zest are the star of this otherwise straightforward dressing.

You’ll need about one large navel orange for the recipe, which calls for 1/4 cup of juice and a teaspoon of zest.

Zest the orange first, then cut it in half and squeeze the juice out. I like to do this into a small, liquid measuring cup with a small, fine-mesh sieve positioned over it.

Tahini

Use your favorite tahini for the orange tahini dressing. I tend to prefer brands of tahini that have a more pourable texture; my favorite is from Seed & Mill.

Vinegar

I use a mix of apple cider and white wine vinegar to make the dressing. You could use all one or all the other, but I like how the two work together.

Dijon mustard

Dijon mustard adds just a hint of acid and spice to the dressing.

Maple syrup

I like to add a little maple syrup or blend pitted dates into dressings in order to balance sweetness with acidity and saltiness.

This dressing is no exception, in spite of the fact that orange juice adds a touch of sweetness on its own. I recommend 1-2 teaspoons maple or agave syrup; adjust this to fit your taste.

In place of the maple syrup, you can also use 1 pitted date for sweetness. If you do this, you’ll need to prepare the dressing in a blender, rather than by whisking.

Salt

No dressing is complete without salt, this one included!

Seasonings (choose your own adventure!)

I’ve made the dressing a few times with only the ingredients listed above.

I’ve also made it with the addition of a half teaspoon curry powder or ground ginger. You can also use a teaspoon of minced, fresh ginger.

Other seasonings or aromatics that would work here:

  • A clove of minced, fresh garlic
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Half a teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • A few tablespoons of chopped, fresh chives (stir these in after you whisk together the dressing)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced, fresh shallot (stir this in after you whisk together the dressing)

So far, adding curry is my favorite addition, but you’ll figure out what you love.

Do I need to use fresh orange juice?

Fresh orange juice isn’t entirely necessary to make the orange tahini dressing, but I think that it makes the flavor more vibrant.

I also think that freshly squeezed orange juice has more depth of sweetness.

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a fresh orange on hand, but you do have store-bought orange juice, don’t worry about it. Use that juice and simply omit the zest.

Tahini is in a glass mason jar, along with a small, metal whisk. The jar rests on a white surface.

How to make orange tahini dressing

This is a simple dressing to prepare: no blender or food processor necessary!

First, you’ll whisk together the tahini, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and orange zest till smooth. 

This mixture will be very thick. Now it’s time to thin it out with orange juice. Add the juice in a thin stream, whisking as you go.

Freshly squeezed orange juice and thick, creamy tahini are being mixed with a small metal whisk.

If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of extra orange juice or water, remembering that it’ll thicken up in the fridge as you store it.

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Meal prep & storage

Speaking of storage, the orange tahini dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

It can also be frozen for up to 6 weeks.

How to use orange tahini dressing

I can imagine adding this dressing to so many fresh salads and vegetable dishes. Here’s a list of the ones that come immediately to mind:

  • Teriyaki tofu noodle bowls
  • Roasted butternut squash salad with quinoa, grapes, and Brussels sprouts
  • Farro breakfast salad with sweet potatoes & apples
  • Lentil tahini sweet potato salad
  • Vegan harvest bowls with tempeh & roasted root vegetables
  • Carrot chickpea couscous salad
  • Breakfast macro bowls
  • Vegan farro bowl
  • Citrusy sweet potato bulgur salad
  • Perfect winter chopped salad

It doesn’t stop there: you can use the dressing to dress up sautéed or fresh greens, to drizzle over roasted vegetables, or as a dip.

I can also vouch for how good it is as a sauce for warm, freshly baked sweet potato halves.

Without further ado, the recipe.

An overhead image of a creamy, off-white orange tahini dressing, which has been poured into a glass mason jar.

Ingredients

  • 1 large navel orange
  • 4 tablespoons tahini (60g)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons maple or agave syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mushard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder or ground ginger (optional)

Instructions

  • First, zest 1 tablespoon of orange zest from the orange. Then, place a small, fine-mesh sieve over a liquid measuring cup. Squeeze the orange, allowing the juice to be strained through the sieve. You’ll need 1/4-1/3 cup orange juice for this recipe, but it doesn’t hurt to reserve a little extra. Any additional juice can be drunk or stored for another use.
  • Whisk together the tahini, apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, mustard, syrup, salt, and orange zest till smooth. If using any additional seasoning, add it now.
  • Add the orange juice, whisking as you go. If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of extra orange juice (up to 1/3 cup/80ml total), until it has your desired consistency. Store the dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

Dressing makes 2/3-3/4 cup (160-180ml).

In a week or two, I’ll share a wonderful, make-ahead bowl that I’ve been enjoying the orange tahini dressing in and on.

For now, hope you enjoy this zippy, sunny sauce!

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