Is Tahini Keto? Yes – Simple Low Carb Tahini Recipes & Dressing

Keto (Low Carb) | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 20 June 2024

On a wooden surface sits a small, clear bowl filled with creamy tahini sauce, which has an off-white to yellowish color.

Starting a keto diet involves many adjustments and can lead to questions about what foods are allowed, such as whether tahini is keto-friendly.9 Tahini is made from ground sesame seeds and is extremely popular in Middle Eastern foods, with two of the most popular food items found in hummus and baba ganoush.

Tahini is enjoyed in a variety of different ways from starring in popular dishes to being used as a dipping sauce for veggies and crackers. While some people enjoy tahini on its own there is a tasty low-carb tahini dressing that makes for a perfect dipping sauce for someone on a keto diet.

Additionally, there are a couple more delicious and easy-to-make recipes that incorporate tahini which allow someone to reap the many health benefits tahini offers while sticking to a keto-friendly diet. The answer to the question of tahini is keto is yes simple low carb recipes and dressing are found below!

How Many Carbs Are in Tahini?

For 2 tablespoons of organic sesame tahini which is 100% ground organic sesame seeds there are only 3 grams of net carbs. While that does make for a fairly small serving size, a lot goes a long way and a lot of recipes incorporate a small amount of tahini.

A jar of tahini sauce with a spoon resting on the side of the jar, the jar is filled with a creamy, smooth paste made from ground sesame seeds, to the side of the jar, a small pile of sesame seeds is visible, suggesting the natural ingredients used to create the tahini.

Source: estefaniavizcaino via Canva.com10

Tahini is a dipping sauce that can be enjoyed on its own or incorporated into different meals or sauces while on keto. Keep on reading to learn how to make an easy and tasty tahini dressing and 2 other recipes that are quick, easy to follow, and keto-friendly!

Does Tahini Fit into a Keto Diet?

With only 3 net carbs per serving, it’s clear that tahini is keto-friendly. Because tahini is low carb and has a variety of different health benefits not only is it keto-approved it is also a great option for anyone to add to their meals because it is a healthy option.

Furthermore, tahini has a low number of carbs per serving and it is also high in fat, making it a perfect dressing or sauce for someone following a keto meal plan.

Digging deeper into an overview of the keto diet, there are a few different variations of the ketogenic diet. The recommendation to ensure someone can achieve ketosis is to limit carbohydrates to less than 50 grams per day.1

Furthermore, some recommendations suggest limiting carbs to as low as 20 grams per day.

Looking at the specific recommended macro breakdown while following a ketogenic diet it typically will look like 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrates.2 Not following these recommendations could potentially lead to experiencing the frustrating situation of being in ketosis without losing weight.

Given that there are only 3 grams of net carbs in a 2-tablespoon serving of tahini, it is safe to enjoy on a keto diet. While tahini is keto-friendly, its healthiness from a nutritional perspective should also be considered.

Tahini Nutritional Information

The following nutrition information is for organic 100% sesame tahini. Tahini is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking and in Middle Eastern countries.

Typically tahini is a paste or has a puree-like texture and is made from ground white sesame but some varieties may also contain peanuts or chickpeas so it’s always important to check the ingredients label.3

A plate of kale salad topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce, the salad features dark leafy greens, chopped vegetables, and possibly seeds or nuts, the creamy tahini sauce adds a rich, nutty flavor to the salad and complements the fresh ingredients.

Source: Candice Bell via Canva.com11

While there are some different varieties of tahini, this breakdown is looking at tahini which is made from 100% organic hulled sesame seeds. The information is also for 1 serving size which is 2 tablespoons of tahini.

  • Calories: 176
  • Total Fat: 16 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Net Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Total Sugar: 0 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams

Additionally, in 2 tablespoons of tahini, there is also 130 mg of calcium which is 10% of the recommended daily value, 3 mg of iron being 15% of the daily value recommendations, and finally 138 mg of potassium, making up 3% of the recommended daily value.

Is Tahini Healthy?

Tahini is not only keto-friendly but also surprisingly rich in health benefits. Here are the top 5 health benefits that make tahini a healthy option for someone on a keto diet but also would be a great sauce for anyone to add to their meal plan.

  1. Blood Pressure & Heart Health: Research has shown that consuming tahini has the potential to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, and improve blood flow.4
  2. Limit Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Tahini is rich in various antioxidants including sesamin. Sesamin has been linked with improving blood pressure and blood lipids thus also protecting someone against the risk of cardiovascular disease.5
  3. Lower Cholesterol: Diets incorporating tahini have been shown to improve overall health and reduce cholesterol levels.6
  4. Potential to Lower Glucose: Initial research has shown that consumption of tahini has the ability to help lower glucose levels making it potentially a great supplement for diabetic patients.7
  5. Pain Reliever: One very interesting study extracted sesame oil from tahini and found the oil has the ability to help relieve pain and also help prevent skin discoloration from a bruise.8

While more research is necessary for a lot of the above findings, these initial research studies present a lot of powerful and interesting results that showcase how valuable it could be to add tahini into someone’s diet plan.

Keto Tahini Recipes & Dressings

Because tahini is an essential ingredient in hummus, anything that typically pairs well with hummus would most likely complement tahini as well.

When following a keto diet it can sometimes be challenging to find recipes and food ideas that would not throw someone out of ketosis that also tastes good. Tahini does have a strong flavor but can be added to a lot of different savory and sweet recipes that are all keto-friendly.

Here are three easy, tahini recipe ideas that are keto-friendly, including the best low carb tahini dressing, a delicious keto cauliflower hummus, and a sweet treat of chocolate-covered tahini-stuffed dates.

Best Tahini Dressing

This low carb dressing is extremely versatile and can be used on salads, vegetables, or proteins. Some have recommended this dressing being a fantastic marinade for tofu.

This recipe will make 30 servings, with the serving size being 2 tablespoons.

Here are the ingredients required to make the best tahini sauce, keto friendly option.

  • ⅔ cup tahini (A great brand to try out is Kevala Organic Sesame Tahini. It is non-GMO verified, gluten and dairy-free, and made in a peanut-free facility making it suitable for those with peanut allergies)
  • ⅔ cup water (more or less water can be added at the end to adjust the texture of the dressing to personal preference)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (olive oil is also a great keto-friendly oil)
  • The juice of 1 lime (lemon juice can also be used here as a substitute to lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional and can add more if desired)
A wooden bowl filled with creamy tahini sauce, surrounded by slices of lemon, garlic, and fresh cilantro, a stack of sliced bread rests on the side of the bowl, the various ingredients suggest a recipe or serving suggestion, possibly for a savory dip or spread.

Source: Nataly Hanin via Canva.com12

Below shows the step-by-step instructions to make this easy, low-carb tahini dressing. For this recipe, the only kitchen appliance needed is a blender making it quick and easy!

  1. Measure all of the ingredients and add them to a blender.
  2. Blend for about 30-45 seconds or until all of the ingredients are fully mixed and smooth.
  3. Pour the dressing into an airtight jar and store it in the refrigerator. This dressing can be enjoyed immediately but a pro tip would be to let it chill overnight.
    The flavors will be more intense and come together better after sitting overnight.

This recipe makes 30 servings with 1 serving size being 2 tablespoons. See below for a full macro breakdown of 1 serving size of the best homemade tahini dressing.

  • Calories: 69
  • Total Fat: 6.3 grams
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Net Carbohydrates: 1.5 grams
  • Total Sugar: 0.05 grams
  • Protein: 1.8 grams

Keto-Approved Cauliflower Hummus

Traditional hummus is typically not keto-friendly because chickpeas do have a very high number of carbs, although there are some keto-friendly hummus brands. This keto-friendly hummus is made with cauliflower and tahini and would definitely be able to fit into a keto meal plan all while being as tasty and versatile as traditional hummus.

Below are the ingredients needed to make this tasty sauce.

  • 1 large cauliflower (chopped) (For ease someone could also use 1 pound of frozen or pre-chopped cauliflower)
  • ⅔ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Water (water is optional and can be added for a thinner consistency)

Not only is this keto hummus tasty, but it is also very easy to make.

  1. The first step will be to roast the cauliflower. To easily roast the cauliflower, evenly spread the chopped cauliflower on a baking sheet.
    Set the oven to 425°F and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. The cauliflower will also be slightly charred.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 20-45 seconds or until completely blended. For a smoother and thinner hummus add more water.
  3. Enjoy immediately! This cauliflower hummus would be great with veggies or other snacks such as keto rice cakes.

The recipe above makes about 13 servings. Look below to find the nutrition information for 1 serving size of the keto-friendly cauliflower hummus.

  • Calories: 183
  • Total Fat: 16.7 grams
  • Sodium: 104 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 6.7 grams
  • Fiber: 3.06 grams
  • Net Carbohydrates: 3.6 grams
  • Total Sugar: 0.7 grams
  • Protein: 4.5 grams

Chocolate-Covered Tahini-Stuffed Dates

If someone is looking for a decadent and healthy sweet treat these dates make for the perfect keto treat. They are easy to make and delicious! This recipe makes 20 dates and while each one does have a low number of carbs and sugar they should be enjoyed in moderation so the serving size is 1 date.

These tahini-stuffed dates could be made with any keto-friendly chocolate but the recipe includes the instructions and ingredients to make easy, homemade chocolate. Below shows the ingredients needed to make both the chocolate and the dates.

Chocolate Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cocoa butter, grated
  • 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil (Here is the best coconut oil for keto)
  • 1.5 tablespoons monk fruit sweetener (Or another keto-approved sweetener in this list is dextrose keto)
  • ½ cup of cocoa powder

Dates:

  • 20 pitted dates
  • 3 tablespoons of tahini
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut flakes

Check out the breakdown for easy instructions to make this tasty keto treat.

  1. First, start out with making the chocolate. To do this create a double boiler by adding about 2-3 inches of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat to a medium setting and set a glass mixing bowl on top, ensuring the bowl isn’t touching the water.
  2. Add the finely grated cocoa butter and coconut oil to the bowl. Consistently stir until the cocoa butter is fully melted.
    Pro tip: be sure to not overheat the cocoa butter and coconut oil mixture or it could burn to result in a clumpy texture.
  3. Once fully melted, take the bowl off the heat and add the monk fruit sweetener and cocoa powder until fully combined. Taste and add more sweetener or cocoa powder as needed.
  4. The next step is to fill the dates completely with tahini.
  5. Add one date at a time to the chocolate mixture to fully coat each date. After covered in chocolate, put the dates lined up on parchment paper and sprinkle them with sea salt and coconut flakes.
  6. These can be enjoyed immediately and can be stored for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. While these can be stored in the freezer the taste and texture are the best if they are thawed first before enjoying.

These stuffed dates are the perfect treat to satisfy a sweet tooth and are a healthy alternative to help someone stop eating junk food and sugar. It is best to enjoy just 1 while following a keto meal plan because there are almost 5 grams of net carbs in 1 chocolate-covered tahini-stuffed date.

Here is the full nutritional information of the chocolate tahini-filled dates.

  • Calories: 145
  • Total Fat: 13.5 grams
  • Sodium: 2.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 7.4 grams
  • Fiber: 2.04 grams
  • Net Carbohydrates: 4.8 grams
  • Total Sugar: 4.1 grams
  • Protein: 0.8 grams

While tahini may be a product a lot of people are unfamiliar with, it offers a wide range of impressive health benefits and can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways. Tahini has a low number of carbs while also being high in fat making it an excellent option for someone following keto.

In short, the answer to whether tahini is keto is yes!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Carbohydrates Are in Tahini Dressing?

There are 2.6 total carbohydrates in 1 serving of tahini dressing. While this number may vary based on the specific ingredients used, most tahini dressings are low carb and make for an excellent keto-friendly sauce.

What Does Tahini Taste Like?

Tahini has a texture and color comparable to peanut butter but because the ingredients are roasted sesame seeds the taste is more bitter, savory, and nutty. Some people have noted the flavor can be a bit overpowering, especially if you don’t like the taste of sesame seeds, but thinned out in a dressing makes for a delicious sauce.


References

1Masood, W., Annamaraju, P., & Uppaluri, K. R. (2022). Ketogenic Diet. StatPearls [Internet]. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/>

2Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (2022). Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss. The Nutrition Source. <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/>

3Wikipedia. (2023). Tahini. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tahini>

4Sakketou, E.-K., Baxevanis, G. K., Tentolouris, N. K., Konstantonis, G. D., Karathanos, V. T., Fragkiadakis, G. A., & Kanellos, P. T. (2022). Tahini consumption affects blood pressure and endothelial function in healthy males. J Hum Hypertens, 36(12), 1128-1132. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34707227/>

5Sun, Y., Ren, J., Zhu, S., Zhang, Z., Guo, Z., An, J., Yin, B., & Ma, Y. (2022). The Effects of Sesamin Supplementation on Obesity, Blood Pressure, and Lipid Profile: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8931661/>

6Reister, E. J., Belote, L. N., & Leidy, H. J. (2020). The Benefits of Including Hummus and Hummus Ingredients into the American Diet to Promote Diet Quality and Health: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients, 12(12), 3678. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7760696/>

7Haidari, F., Mohammadshahi, M., Zarei, M., & Gorji, Z. (2016). Effects of Sesame Butter (Ardeh) versus Sesame Oil on Metabolic and Oxidative Stress Markers in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats. Iran J Med Sci, 41(2). <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764959/>

8Gholami, M., Davan, S. T., Gholami, M., Bolandparvaz, S., Gholami, M., Chamanpara, P., & Shayan, L. (2020). Effects of Topical Sesame Oil Extracted from Tahini (Ardeh) on Pain Severity in Trauma Patients: A Randomized Double-Blinded Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Bull Emerg Trauma, 8(3), 179-185. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468223/>

9AlexPro9500. “Bowl of tahini.” Canva. Accessed 25 April 2023. <https://www.canva.com/photos/MADB1NzTBf8-bowl-of-tahini/>

10estefaniavizcaino. “Tahini and sesame seeds on wooden table.” Canva. Accessed 25 April 2023. <https://www.canva.com/photos/MADHmmNfsGo-tahini-and-sesame-seeds-on-wooden-table-/>

11Candice Bell. “Kale Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing.” Canva. Accessed 25 April 2023. <https://www.canva.com/photos/MADC4BihfJ8-kale-salad-with-creamy-tahini-dressing/>

12Nataly Hanin. “Tahini sauce.” Canva. Accessed 25 April 2023. <https://www.canva.com/photos/MADmnfYDkMI-tahini-sauce/>

About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.