Finding a good and balanced tahini sauce is trickier than you may think. I’ve made a lot variations of this sauce/dressing, particularly a few years ago, and just stopped after a while because I was never fully satisfied with any of the recipes I made. Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is a strong flavor that pairs well with lemon and garlic, but it’s easy for any of these three ingredients to be overpowering.
This recipe brings out the tahini flavor in a subtle way. It’s a bit of a mild sauce, but perfect with these char-grilled green beans. I served this side with a Chilean Sea Bass (a white buttery fish) and some brown rice. Additionally, this sauce could be used on a LOT of different foods. It’d go great with any roasted vegetable. I even used it for my breakfast the following morning as a dressing on my sautéed cauliflower and broccoli, with some fried eggs! (see below)
Grilled Green Beans with Lemon Tahini Sauce
Adapted from Ottolenghi
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- heaping teaspoon honey
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2-3 tablespoons water (see below)
- 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
Set a large pot of water to boil (to blanch green beans). Meanwhile, make the tahini sauce.
In a small bowl, add olive oil, tahini, honey, lemon juice, and garlic. Whisk until well incorporated. Slowly add in water, one tablespoon at a time. The texture should be smooth and a bit thin (it will thicken overtime, particularly in the fridge if you have extra), but not too watery.
To blanch green beans, place beans in boiling water until they turn bright green, about 2 1/2 minutes. Immediately remove green beans and place in an ice bath. If you’re lazy or have limited space like me, you can also just immediately run the beans under cold water and add in three gigantic handfuls of ice to the colander. Toss the ice and beans with your hands until all the beans are cold. The point here is to immediately stop the cooking process. The beans should be bright green and crunchy.
Preheat grill. If you’re preparing fish or another protein, now’s the time to get that ready to grill as well (see directions below for fish recommendations). Toss beans in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Carefully place them horizontally on the grill. Mostly likely a few will fall into the grill, but as long as you’re careful, you’ll be able to make it work. I focused on just getting one side browned and didn’t move them much on the grill. This will take about 5 minutes. Remove from grill, top with tahini sauce and sesame seeds, and serve.
Fish Pairing Recommendations: I served these green beans and tahini sauce with a Chilean sea bass and some brown rice. For the sea bass, I dressed each 6 oz portion with about 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice, some grated garlic, and sea salt and pepper. I then placed the fish on tin foil and placed it on the grill, covered in the tin foil. Although you can finish the fish in the grill, I finished it on a pan to brown the top of the fish. In total, I cooked the fish for about 10 minutes, until it flaked off with a fork. This will vary depending on the thickness of the fish.