Good for You, Healthy, Israeli food, Parve, Sephardi

RECIPE: The Best Tehina

Hummus bi tehini Tehina is in the center of a well of hummus

For some people, hummus is da bomb. But in our home, Shabbos is not Shabbos without my special tehina sauce. Which is funny, because I’m Ashkenazi, and tehina is most definitely a Sephardic treat. Somehow, I’ve hit on the perfect rendition that even Sephardi Shabbos guests pronounce the best tehina they’ve ever tasted. It makes a great dip for Challoh and can even be used as salad dressing!


Yield: 5 cups approximately (freezes well)*


  • 1 container sesame butter (tehina, unseasoned)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (plus more to taste)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups water


  1. Place garlic cloves in bowl of food processor with salt, pepper, and cumin and run until cloves stop bouncing.
  2. Pour lemon juice into food processor bowl. Add sesame butter. Blend. Mixture will be very thick.
  3. Slowly add water as food processor runs, stopping to scrape down bowl once or twice.
  4. Check for seasoning and consistency. The tehina should be slightly less thick than mayonnaise. If too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time until the consistency is the way you like it. You can add lemon juice instead of some of the water, if the tehina seems bland.
  5. Allow tehina to rest five minutes, covered. It will thicken just a bit. If you like it thinner, add a small amount of water.

Serving instructions:

Pour tehina into soup bowl. Make a well in the tehina and fill it with best quality olive oil. You can also sprinkle a bit of paprika or chopped parsley on the surface of the tehina to dress it up for the table.

*Tehina freezes well, but may separate a bit as it thaws. Mixing it vigorously with just a few turns of a fork is a stress-free solution.