Tahini Is The Mayo Substitute You Need For Creamy Potato Salad

One of the aspects of classic American potato salad that we enjoy the most is its creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing. While yogurt, sour cream, and cashew cream are typical mayonnaise substitutions for vegan and egg-free diets, tahini is less likely to be on the list. However, once you swap it for mayo in a potato salad, it'll open up a whole new world of flavorful possibilities.

A widespread staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, tahini is simply sesame seeds ground into a fine paste with the addition of oil (and some recipes add a combination of salt, lemon, and garlic too). Like nut and seed butter, tahini is ultra thick and has a high content of oil that separates and pools at the top. It is a much richer and denser alternative to mayonnaise, with a concentrated savory nuttiness that stands out no matter what you pair it with. You've undoubtedly eaten it in hummus, but tahini is also a creamy ingredient in countless salad dressings, sauces, and even avant-garde cookie recipes.

Tahini pairs well with tangy condiments like dijon, pickle relish, and lemon juice, fragrant mix-ins like shallots, red onions, and herbs, and sweet ingredients like honey and dried fruit. At the top of the list of perfect tahini pairings is the potato. Whether you're a mayo lover or not, tahini sauce will coat potatoes and other crunchy additives in a velvety dressing while also allowing for creative new takes on this classic side dish.

Tahini potato salad ideas

There are countless tahini sauce and dressing recipes out there, giving you endless ideas for potato salad ingredients, dressings, and meal pairings. Even if you want to mimic a classic mayo-based potato salad, tahini will taste great mixed with vinegar, mustard, chives, and paprika. For a southern take, sweet or sour pickle relish would also make a great addition to a tahini potato salad.

Another idea is to create a green tahini sauce full of fresh herbs like basil, mint, parsley, and cilantro, along with tons of lemon juice and olive oil to coat boiled new potatoes for an earthy springtime side dish. You can also draw inspiration from Mediterranean cuisine by mixing tahini with lemon juice, sour yogurt, garlic, dill, and capers and filling out the dish with fresh herbs, diced chilies, pine nuts, and pickled red onions as mix-ins.

For a completely unique potato salad, try blending tahini with miso, honey, and lime juice for a trifecta of sweet, tangy, and umami to drizzle over boiled sweet and new potatoes, roasted tomatoes, and diced shallots. Tahini potato salads would work well as a side dish for other American classics like burgers and barbecue but would also pair well with grilled fish, gyros, grilled halloumi, or skewered tofu.