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Creamy Herby Tahini Ranch Dressing with a Simple Middle Eastern Chopped Salad

Discover the vibrant flavours of a Fattoush-inspired salad, bursting with seasonal freshness and Middle Eastern charm.

A white plate in the sunshine showing a chopped salad with a variety of textures – crisp vegetables, fluffy pita chips mixed throughout the salad, and a creamy tahini dressing. Fresh herbs add pops of color.

What truly elevates this salad is a dairy-free creamy herby tahini ranch dressing. Creamy, tangy, and irresistibly smooth, this luscious dressing is a celebration of wholesome ingredients and bold flavours.

Luxurious Herby Tahini Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is a popular American condiment and salad dressing known for its creamy texture and tangy flavour. The base ingredients typically include mayonnaise, buttermilk, sour cream, and a mixture of herbs and spices. Common herbs and spices used in ranch dressing include garlic, onion, dill, parsley, chives, and black pepper.

This creamy herby tahini “ranch” dressing is dairy-free, making it perfect for people with dairy sensitivity and allergies who want enjoy a creamy dressing without the unpleasant consequences.

However, just like traditional ranch, this dressing is incredibly versatile and can be used in various ways beyond just salad dressing. It’s perfect as a dip for vegetables, chicken wings, french fries, and other finger foods.

A white plate showcasing a chopped salad with a variety of textures – crisp vegetables, fluffy pita chips mixed throughout the salad, and a creamy tahini dressing. Fresh herbs add pops of color.

What is Tahini and How Does it Taste?

Tahini is a paste made from toasted, ground sesame seeds. It’s a staple ingredient in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and North African cuisines, valued for its rich, nutty flavour and creamy texture. Let’s take a closer look at this delicious paste:

  • Ingredients: Tahini is primarily made from hulled sesame seeds. Some recipes may also include a small amount of oil, such as olive oil, to help achieve the desired consistency.
  • Preparation: The sesame seeds are typically toasted before grinding, which enhances their flavour. After toasting, the seeds are ground into a smooth paste. Depending on personal preference and regional variations, the texture of tahini can range from thick and creamy to thin and pourable.
  • Flavour: Tahini has a distinct, nutty flavour with a subtle bitterness. The toasted sesame seeds impart a rich, earthy taste, while the grinding process releases their natural oils, adding depth to the flavour profile. Despite its robust taste, tahini also has a hint of sweetness.
  • Texture: The texture of tahini can vary depending on its consistency and the brand. Generally, it is smooth and creamy, similar to other nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter. However, some tahini may have a slightly gritty texture if the seeds are not ground finely enough.
  • Versatility: Tahini is incredibly versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s a key ingredient in dressings or sauces for salads, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, and falafel. In sweet dishes, tahini adds depth and richness to desserts like cookies, cakes, and ice cream.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Tahini is not only flavourful but also nutritious. It’s a good source of healthy fats, protein, and various vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. Additionally, it’s naturally gluten-free and suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets.

Authentic Flavours: A Simple Middle Eastern Chopped Salad

This simple middle eastern chopped salad is inspired by Fattoush, a traditional Middle Eastern salad popular in Levantine cuisine, particularly in countries like Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. It is known for its fresh and vibrant flavours and colourful presentation. 

  • Ingredients: Fattoush salad typically features variousfresh vegetables, herbs, and toasted or fried pieces of pita bread. Common ingredients include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, green onions, and bell peppers. Fresh herbs like parsley and dill are essential components, providing a fragrant and herbaceous flavour. Sumac, a tangy and slightly fruity spice, is often used to season the salad dressing, giving it a distinctive flavor.
  • Pita Bread: One of the defining elements of Fattoush salad is the inclusion of crispy pita bread. The pita bread is typically torn or cut into small pieces, then either toasted or fried until golden and crunchy. These pieces are then added to the salad, providing texture and a delightful crunch.
  • Dressing: The dressing for Fattoush salad is simple yet flavorful, typically consisting of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and sumac. Some variations may also include other spices or ingredients like vinegar or pomegranate molasses for added complexity.
  • Variations: While the basic components of Fattoush salad remain consistent, there can be variations in ingredients and presentation based on regional preferences and seasonal availability. For example, some versions may include additional vegetables such as carrots or cabbage. Olives and feta cheese are also occasionally added for extra flavour. Additionally, the dressing may vary slightly in its proportions of oil, lemon juice, and spices.
  • Serving: Fattoush salad is typically served as a starter or side dish alongside various Middle Eastern and Mediterranean meals. It pairs well with grilled meats, kebabs, falafel, or as part of a mezze spread. The combination of crisp vegetables, fragrant herbs, crunchy pita bread, and tangy dressing makes it a refreshing and satisfying dish, especially during hot weather.
  • Nutritional Benefits: Fattoush salad is not only delicious but also nutritious. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber from the fresh vegetables and herbs. It’s typically low in calories, making it a healthy choice for those looking to maintain a balanced diet.

This simple middle eastern chopped salad is suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and if using gluten-free pita, suitable for those with gluten sensitivities and allergies.

A white plate showcasing a chopped salad with a variety of textures – crisp vegetables, fluffy pita chips mixed throughout the salad, and a creamy tahini dressing. Fresh herbs add pops of color.

The Perfect Match: Creamy Herby Tahini Ranch Dressing Meets Middle Eastern Salad

This is the perfect spring and summer salad with vegetables often used in traditional Mediterranean salads. For the best results, you should use fresh, seasonal vegetables. 

When shopping for fresh vegetables at a supermarket, there are several signs you can look for to ensure their freshness. Here’s how to check their freshness:

Tomatoes

  • Look for tomatoes that are firm and plump with smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid tomatoes that are wrinkled, soft, or have bruises or mould.
  • Check the stem area for any signs of mould or decay.
  • Ripe tomatoes should have a rich, sweet aroma.
 

Cucumbers

  • Choose cucumbers that are firm and evenly green, without any yellowing or soft spots.
  • Avoid cucumbers with shrivelled skin or signs of wilting.
  • Check the ends of the cucumber for any moisture or mould, as this can indicate spoilage.
 

Radishes

  • Select radishes that are firm and brightly coloured with smooth skin.
  • Avoid radishes that are soft, rubbery, or have spots of mould.
  • Fresh radishes should have crisp, tender roots and firm leaves.
 

Bell Peppers

  • Look for bell peppers that are firm and heavy for their size, with taut and glossy skin.
  • Avoid peppers that are wrinkled, shrivelled, or have soft spots.
  • Check the stem area for any signs of mould or decay.
 

Spring Onions (Green Onions)

  • Choose spring onions with crisp, vibrant green tops and firm white bulbs.
  • Avoid spring onions with wilted or yellowing leaves or slimy bulbs.
  • Fresh spring onions should have a mild, onion-like aroma.
 

In addition to visual inspection, you can also gently squeeze or press the vegetables to assess their firmness. Fresh vegetables should feel firm and resilient, without any noticeable softness or sponginess. It’s also helpful to check the “sell by” or “use by” dates on packaged vegetables and to avoid purchasing vegetables that are close to or past their expiration date.

Pre-Plan and Prep in Advance

Salads are a meal-preppers dream. You can prep all your veggies and when you’re ready to dish up, choose your favourite dressing, whether it’s this creamy herby tahini ranch dressing, a perfectly basic dressing, or an Asian-inspired sesame miso dressing. Raw garlic dressings like this one can be stored in the fridge for up to one week. However, you can replace the fresh garlic and lemon juice with ¼ to ½ teaspoon garlic powder and store the dressing for up to three weeks in the fridge.

A white plate showcasing a chopped salad with a variety of textures – crisp vegetables, fluffy pita chips mixed throughout the salad, and a creamy tahini dressing. Fresh herbs add pops of color.

Has this Dairy-Free Creamy Herby Tahini Ranch Dressing Left You Dreaming for More?

If you try this recipe, let us know how it goes! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag your photo #theculinarycartel on Instagram so we can see what you come up with.

Want to make more delicious dishes with tahini? Try these:

Pistachio Dip

Tahini and Chilli Cucumber Salad

The Ultimate Aubergine Sandwich with Focaccia and Tahini Yoghurt

A top-down view of a white plate filled with a colorful chopped salad featuring chopped vegetables, fresh herbs, and a dollop of creamy tahini dressing. A hand holding a single crispy pita chip with a bit of salad clinging to it is positioned above the plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What dietary requirements is this salad suitable for?

This salad is perfect for vegetarians, vegans, those with dairy sensitivity, and if you use gluten-free pita bread, also ideal for those with gluten sensitivity.

However, if you have a sesame seed allergy, please steer clear of this salad dressing.

Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh?

Ideally, fresh is best. Alternatively, try to use freeze-dried herbs for quality.

What can I use instead of pita bread?

Melba toast and tortilla chips are great alternatives.

I don’t want to use raw garlic. What can I use instead?

You can replace the raw garlic and lemon juice with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, which will also extend the salad dressing’s shelf life to about three weeks in the fridge.

I don’t have an air fryer. Can I crisp the pita bread in my oven?

Absolutely! Preheat your oven to 170°C (340°F) and bake the pita bread pieces for 5-10 minutes until crisp and lightly golden. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.

Can I make the creamy herby tahini ranch dressing ahead of time?

Yes! This salad dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to three weeks.

How do I know my veggies are fresh?

When shopping for fresh vegetables at a supermarket, there are several signs you can look for to ensure their freshness. Here’s how to check their freshness:

Tomatoes

  • Look for tomatoes that are firm and plump with smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid tomatoes that are wrinkled, soft, or have bruises or mould.
  • Check the stem area for any signs of mould or decay.
  • Ripe tomatoes should have a rich, sweet aroma.

Cucumbers

  • Choose cucumbers that are firm and evenly green, without any yellowing or soft spots.
  • Avoid cucumbers with shrivelled skin or signs of wilting.
  • Check the ends of the cucumber for any moisture or mould, as this can indicate spoilage.

Radishes

  • Select radishes that are firm and brightly coloured with smooth skin.
  • Avoid radishes that are soft, rubbery, or have spots of mould.
  • Fresh radishes should have crisp, tender roots and firm leaves.

Bell Peppers

  • Look for bell peppers that are firm and heavy for their size, with taut and glossy skin.
  • Avoid peppers that are wrinkled, shrivelled, or have soft spots.
  • Check the stem area for any signs of mould or decay.

Spring Onions (Green Onions)

  • Choose spring onions with crisp, vibrant green tops and firm white bulbs.
  • Avoid spring onions with wilted or yellowing leaves or slimy bulbs.
  • Fresh spring onions should have a mild, onion-like aroma.
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A white plate in the sunshine showing a chopped salad with a variety of textures – crisp vegetables, fluffy pita chips mixed throughout the salad, and a creamy tahini dressing. Fresh herbs add pops of color.

Creamy Herby Tahini Ranch Dressing with A Simple Middle Eastern Chopped Salad


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  • Author: Jess Bunn
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

What truly elevates this salad is a dairy-free creamy herby tahini ranch dressing. Creamy, tangy, and irresistibly smooth, this luscious dressing is a celebration of wholesome ingredients and bold flavours.


Ingredients

Units
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced or finely grated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 90100ml ice water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thinly sliced chives

Chopped Salad with Pita Chips:

  • 2 pita bread
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 pack baby cucumbers
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add the minced garlic and lemon juice and let it infuse for 10 minutes to soften the raw garlic taste. Set aside.
  2. Chop the pepper, baby cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, and spring onions into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop the herbs for the salad, and add these to the chopped vegetables. Place the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. To the lemon garlic mixture add the tahini and salt, whisking until thoroughly blended to a thick paste.
  4. Gradually add ice water, 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking until smooth. Initially, it will thicken, but continue to add the iced water a little at a time to achieve a creamy, light-coloured tahini sauce the consistency of double cream.
  5. Add the chopped dill, parsley, and thinly sliced chives, adjusting seasoning to taste.
  6. Prepare pita chips: Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F) or air fryer to 160°C (320°F).
  7. Cut the pita bread into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Place the pita pieces on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven or air fryer for 5-10 minutes until crisp and lightly golden. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.

Assembly

  1. Once ready to serve, season the vegetables and toss the chopped salad with a few spoonfuls of the dressing until evenly coated.
  2. Take a serving plate and spread a thin layer of the remaining herby tahini dressing.
  3. Arrange the dressed salad on top.
  4. Serve immediately with crispy pita chips on the side or dotted through the salad for crunch.

Notes

This recipe yields ¾ cup of salad dressing

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Category: Salads
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
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