As a hummus fan, I always knew that I would like Tahini. I just didn’t realize how much! The Mediterranean sauce makes for an excellent salad dressing, and it always spruced up my diet.
But, I wondered, if things will be different once I began my keto diet. After all, the keto diet is quite novel in the things it allows you to eat and the things it doesn’t. As a Tahini lover, I began my journey of finding the answer to a question that was dear to me.
Is Tahini keto? Yes, it is! Not only is it loaded with healthy fats, but a tablespoon of Tahini (a generous amount, in my opinion) just has 1 gram of net carbs.
If you are skeptical about introducing Tahini into your keto diet, keep reading to find out everything that you ought to know about the sauce and the keto process. You can then make a decision for yourself.
But First, Definition: What Is Tahini?
Tahini is a part of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, and its roots can be traced as far as 3500 BC. Usually, it is used as a condiment in dips like baba ghanoush and hummus. Although it originates from the Middle East, you can find Tahini-based sauces widely in Indian, East Asian, Greek, Iraqi, Armenian, and Turkish recipes.
What exactly is this sauce? Well, it is a thick oily paste made by grinding sesame seeds. You can think of its texture as being similar to peanut butter. Even in taste, the paste has a creamy and nutty flavor and is used to add richness to a given meal.
Overall, the nutritional profile of Tahini includes a low amount of carbs and a high concentration of protein and fat – thereby making it a great addition to a keto diet.
How is Tahini Prepared?
To prepare Tahini, hulled sesame seeds are added to a food processor. Some can choose to add garlic powder or salt to the mixture at this time. The seeds first begin to clump before eventually warming up and turning into a paste.
Nutritional Profile: Tahini
To know whether or not is Tahini keto, it is imperative to know what nutrients the sauce contains and in what quantities. According to Healthline, one tablespoon of Tahini, which amounts to roughly 15 grams, contains:
- 90 calories
- 3 grams of carbs, out of which 1 gram is net carb
- 8 grams of fat
- 3 grams of protein
- 1 gram of fiber
- 11 percent of the daily requirement for manganese, phosphorous and vitamin B6
- 13 percent of the daily requirement for thiamine
It is crucial to point out that half of the fat included in Tahini stems from monounsaturated fat. In layman’s terms, we can refer to this as good fat as it helps reduce the onset of various chronic diseases. Phosphorous and manganese included in Tahini aid in boosting bone health.
But, in terms of a keto diet, the nutrient we are most concerned about is carbs. Tahini has very low net carbs, i.e., the carbs that are absorbed by the bloodstream and potentially converted into energy. This is what makes it keto-friendly.
The Concerned Numbers
In quantitative terms, keto experts recommend that you get 70 percent of your daily calorie value through fats, 20 percent through protein and 10 percent through carbs. The average calorie intake should be around 1800 calories, but this can vary as per your gender.
In other words, on a given day, you can only consume 180 calories via carbs! That’s quite low, and hence every condiment and sauce you add to your food, you must ensure that the cumulative carb intake remains low for ketosis to occur.
Is Tahini Keto Friendly?
Before delving deeper into the answer of “is Tahini keto?”, let’s first try to uncover what a keto diet is and what it entails.
The Keto Truth
A keto diet is quite unconventional compared to other popular diets. It tells you to eat things that are loaded with fat and protein! But, the reason it advises you to do so is because of the underlying science behind the keto process.
A successful keto diet relies on the body’s ability to burn fats and proteins for energy rather than carbs. And to achieve this, it tries to limit your carb intake in favor of high protein and fat consumption. This way the body only has the two nutrients available and hence reacts by breaking them instead. When it does so, weight loss occurs.
The Elephant in the Room: Tahini and Keto-Friendliness
Tahini is keto friendly because it ticks all the right boxes – it is rich in fat and protein while simultaneously not adding much to the daily carb intake. Additionally, since it is a sauce that is taken with other food items, it is not taken in large quantities, further keeping carbs in check.
Best Keto-Friendly Tahini Recipes
Are you convinced about the prospect of adding Tahini to your keto diet? If so, you might wonder how you could incorporate it. Here are some of my favorite keto-friendly Tahini recipes.
Before I began researching the keto diet, I was of the view that most vegetables were prohibited in the diet. After all, doesn’t every other thing has a lot of carbs in it? I later found out about the concept of net carbs (as explained above).
Once I knew what veggies I could enjoy, I set out to find the perfect salad recipe. And, of course, it had to have Tahini in it!
To make a healthy keto salad, you would need tomatoes, mixed greens, mushrooms, almonds, avocado, cheese, turkey breast, Tahini, salt and black pepper. Begin by adding everything except the seasoning and Tahini to a big bowl and mix it properly.
Then, sprinkle pepper and salt as per your taste and finally drizzle 2 tablespoons of Tahini on top, and viola, your healthy salad is ready! The best thing about using Tahini is that you don’t need to spend time actually making a dressing – you can use it as is.
Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini
As someone who isn’t a fan of cauliflower, I was quite surprised at how much I liked this dish. It turns out that if cooked properly and complemented with the right dressing, cauliflower can be a star too! Who knew (certainly, I didn’t!).
The ingredients you need for the roasted cauliflower recipe include olive oil, Tahini, salt and pepper. Begin by spreading the cauliflower evenly on the pan to roast it evenly. Add Tahini, mustard, salt, and pepper, as well as a drizzle of olive oil. Make sure that both sides of your cauliflower are covered with the dressing.
Then, preheat the oven to 400F and place your cauliflowers in the baking tray for 20 minutes. If the veggies are bigger in size, it might take longer for them to get crispy. So, the rule of thumb is to check for crispiness rather than solely focusing on the timer. Once they are of the right texture, take them out and enjoy.
Chocolate Tahini Fat Bombs
If you are practicing dirty keto, or wish to treat yourself, every now and then, you can enjoy chocolate Tahini fat bombs. Yes, you read it right! Tahini can be added to a dessert too.
Firstly, let me explain what a fat bomb is. Its name is quite telling, actually. It’s a low-carb treat shaped like balls that are full of healthy fats that your body needs. This usually stems from coconut oil and cacao butter.
To make the Chocolate Tahini fat bombs, you will need cacao butter, coconut oil, Tahini, cacao baking chocolate, flaky sea salt, and low-carb sweetener. Begin by melting the butter, chocolate and oil over low heat in a small saucepan. Make sure to stir it continually to prevent it from burning.
Once all the elements have melted and combined completely, add Tahini and the sweetener to it. Whisk it till it is properly blended. In a muffin tin, place liners and divide your mixture into different cups.
Let the chocolate Tahini chill for half an hour. Once firm, they are ready to be devoured. You can also store them in your fridge for later use.
Keto Tahini Cookies
You can probably tell that I have a sweet tooth, but these keto recipes are quite delicious and healthy enough! If you don’t like the sound of the fat chocolate bombs, you might want to try the keto Tahini cookies instead.
Begin by preheating your oven to 350F. Add butter and oil to a bowl and whip it properly. Then, add Tahini and mix it until it is fully combined. Then, sift baking powder and almond flour in a bowl and mix it until a dough-like consistency is reached. Refrigerate the dough for an hour while you prepare your baking tray.
Once the dough is chilled, use a spoon to add dough to the baking tray while ensuring that there is ample space in the tray for each cookie to spread. Press them down to give them a shape, and bake the cookies until they are golden and deep brown on the edges.
Is Tahini keto? It definitely is! Tahini has a low net carb count and high fat and protein amount, so it is an ideal addition to any keto food item.
And it is quite a versatile sauce when it comes to recipes, so it’s a win-win. Just because you are supposed to be on a diet doesn’t mean your life has to be bland.
If you are looking for clarification about other food options, check some of my other keto guides out. Till then, add some Tahini to it and enjoy.
Click on one of the links below to learn more about keto friendly foods: