Today, as the third part of my tahini series, I’ve got a delicious recipe for herby tahini yogurt sauce, which might just be the most adaptable one of all. Yogurt sauces in general are a wonderful tool for balancing out a dish that’s a little too heavy and rich. For instance, take my za’atar chickpeas and yellow rice with jajik. The rice is flavored with plenty of lovely spices, and you end up with fluffy distinct grains, which is exactly what you’re looking for in a perfect pot of basmati. And the roast chickpeas have a wonderfully crisp za’atar crust. But, as delicious as they are, these two components are quite dense and dry on their own, so I included a yogurt sauce to balance things out.
That doesn’t mean that distinct grains of rice and crispy roast chickpeas are somehow unappetizing, but at the end of the day, they have less moisture, which is something to think about when deciding what else to add to them. In other words, their dryness isn’t a problem to be fixed—in fact, it’s an asset. Without it, there would be no za’atar crust, and the rice would be a mushy blob. The yogurt sauce simply brings out their best qualities.
Plain old yogurt sauce is wonderful in its own right, but tahini yogurt sauce is perfect for when you want to add creaminess and brightness, but with some of the richness of tahini lemon sauce. It’s delicious anywhere you’d use a buttermilk dressing, but it has a lot more depth of flavor. Ladle it over anything that’s too heavy for tahini lemon sauce, but too light for a plain yogurt sauce. It’s particularly phenomenal on all things grilled, like this broiled salmon with sautéed greens.
herby tahini yogurt sauce
1/4 cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons water
Slightly heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons minced herbs (any combination of parsley, mint, dried mint, cilantro, and/or dill)
Optional: 1 clove garlic crushed through a press
Whisk everything together until it smooths out and emulsifies.
salmon with herby tahini yogurt sauce
Season salmon fillets with salt, and then steam, grill, or broil them (they’re pictured here broiled). Top with tahini yogurt sauce, garnish with extra herbs, and serve alongside steamed or sautéed greens and lemon wedges.
more serving inspiration
- Dark leafy greens, e.g. broccoli, kale, collards, etc.
- Roast veggies, especially asparagus, brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, potatoes, and legumes
- Anywhere you’d use a creamy dressing (like ranch, buttermilk, blue cheese, or mayo-based dressings), e.g. cobb salad or cole slaw
- While classic tahini sauce adds richness to a dish, herby tahini yogurt sauce is more on the refreshing side. Serve it with dishes that tend toward rich and/or dry (e.g. biryani, chicken breast, and lean fish).
- It also goes great with the classics, like falafel and shawarma.