Sesame SeedsOnce an exotic ingredient, tahini is now easily available in most supermarkets and adding a spoonful to homemade hummus is no big deal for the average home cook.

With an intense nutty and slightly bitter flavor, tahini is a great secret ingredient to keep in the kitchen. It’s an excellent source of calcium, manganese and omega fatty acids, and it has more fiber, less sugar and less salt than many other nut butters.

We think it’s about time more of us tapped into the potential of tahini as a flavor booster in the kitchen.

Here are five new ways to use tahini, NONE of which are hummus!

1. Golden Banana Tahini Shake. If you like to start the day with a smoothie, a spoonful of tahini will not only provide a nutritional boost but also a creamier texture to your wake up drink. The intense flavor lends itself well to this banana and date combination which is enhanced further with cardamom and turmeric.

2. Grilled Steak, Vegetable and Quinoa Salad With Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing. A simple and light dressing made with yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt is the final flourish for this dish. Feel free to use whichever seasonal veggies you have to hand, or even switch to chicken to grilled fish instead of steak!

3. Soba Noodle Salad. Preparing this cold noodle dish ahead of time will only let the flavors intensify and become even more delicious! The strong flavors of sesame oil, ginger and tahini make a great complement for crunchy vegetables and soba noodles. Take to work for lunch with a difference!

4. Miso-Tahini Squash Soup With Brown Rice. With 1⁄4 cup of tahini, this recipe is one for fully-fledged tahini fans only! Use with sweet squash spiked with chili, ginger and garlic to create a creamy and filling soup, served over brown rice. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 2 days, if they last that long!

5. Tahini Toast. The perfect breakfast for when you’re short on time and want no more washing up than just a knife! With cinnamon, tahini and a drizzle of honey, this toast feels special even if takes just 5 minutes to make. Enhance with apple slices or dates if you wish.

What do you do with tahini? Share your recipes in the comments!