Tahini Chicken Salad

By Riki Shore

Tahini Chicken Salad

Tahini is not one of my pantry staples.

I don’t know why. I like the flavor of it – kind of earthy and tangy with a luxuriant mouth feel from the fat in the sesame seeds. It pairs so well with lemon and garlic that it brightens up almost any dish.

Last week I bought a tub of tahini to make a kale salad I had read about. It was great on the kale – definitely try that one. But once the kale was eaten, I still had nearly a cup of tahini dressing to contend with. Luckily it keeps for a week in the fridge.

I knew it’d be great on lamb, such as lamb shawarma, but I had a chicken to roast. I decided to try it as an alternative to my classic chicken salad using the leftover roasted chicken mixed with celery, red onion and romaine lettuce.

The result was delicious – tangy and slightly nutty, but bright from the garlic and lemon. This salad would keep well refrigerated, tightly covered, for a day, making it a great lunchbox alternative.

In fact, the tahini dressing would work well on almost any lunchtime salad. It might just become one of my staples after all.

The amounts below are for one serving; feel free to double or triple or more.

1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 celery rib
1/4 red onion
2 cups romaine lettuce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Tahini dressing, to taste

1. Slice the romaine into 1-inch strips and place in a big salad bowl.
2. Thinly slice the red onion and add to the salad. Remove any tough threads from the outside of the celery rib, then slice thinly on a diagonal. Add these to the salad bowl.
3. Squeeze the lemon juice over the cooked chicken, stir to combine, and then toss it in the salad.
4. Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper, and add tahini dressing to taste. Toss well and enjoy.

TAHINI DRESSING

1/4 cup tahini
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water

1. Peel the garlic and mash it with a mortar and pestle along with the salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Stir in the tahini, lemon juice and pepper until well combined.
3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the water, in two additions, stirring well to combine. The dressing should be smooth and completely emulsified.
4. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to one week.

Here are a few other recipes to use up that tub of tahini: