My Cava copycat Lemon Herb Tahini Dressing is creamy, tangy, and so quick to make in the blender. If you've never been to Cava, this savory lemon tahini sauce is perfect for drizzling over chicken, falafel, or even just your favorite salad greens!
About this recipe
Low Histamine Sauce: with a seed butter at the base, this is a great vegan-friendly option for topping root veggies, salads, or even your favorite type of meat. Much like the other low histamine sauces on the site, this vegan lemon herb tahini dressing is versatile enough to be used as a dip, sauce, or smear for your favorite bread.
Anti-inflammatory Recipe: between the vitamin C-rich lemon juice, fresh herbs, and the raw garlic, this tahini sauce is packed with strongly antihistamine foods. This means that they contain abundant plant chemicals which inherently help your body calm histamine production.
Easy & Protein-Rich: more vegan-friendly recipes is probably the number one request in my inbox. This herbed lemon tahini sauce is both my answer to that request and a response to my current diet, which is low histamine, as well as free from grains & legumes.
It's also helped me recreate my favorite Cava bowl at home, without wondering how long any of the ingredients have been sitting out (I always go as soon as it's open & bring DAO), and making it easier to stay low histamine!
Tahini: another word for hulled, toasted, and ground sesame seeds, tahini has long been used in Mediterranean cuisine to make sauces and even desserts.
However in recent years it's become popular as an alternative to peanut butter and a binder for on-the-go snacks. In this lemon herb tahini dressing recipe, it functions to both add a creaminess and a heft to the sauce, so it stays dairy-free and without thickeners.
Lemon Juice: the kick of acid from the lemon juice really accentuates the complexity of each herb's flavor, without adding too much flavor of its own. Additionally, lemon contains loads of vitamin C, a known mast cell stabilizer, though some people are sensitive to citrus-derived forms of it.
Raw Garlic: this adds a bite of umami and sharp, almost sourness to the creamy lemon tahini sauce, as well as strongly antibacterial properties.
Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, & Thyme: these are my generally herbs of choice for this creamy lemon herb tahini dressing, but that's mainly because they're what I already have growing in my garden. If you have other favorites or other herbs on hand, you can choose any bouquet of fresh herbs which tickles your taste buds. A more traditional alternative is a quarter cup of fresh cilantro, if you can stand the taste.
How to make creamy tahini pasta sauce: step-by-step instructions
Step 1. Pull your fresh herbs off the stems, then pulse the herb blend & cilantro (if using), garlic, and sea salt together in 3-second bursts for 30 seconds, until all the herbs are mostly pulverized.
Step 2. Add the lemon juice and blend everything on low for 15 more seconds.
Step 3. Pour in the water & tahini, and blend together until well-combined and fluffy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Step 4. The mixture should be well-whipped & chopped after a full minute, so taste it and add up to 1 Tablespoon more water & extra salt (to balance it out if the tahini sauce is too bitter).
Recipe notes & tips
Whipping the Sauce: it's important to whip the tahini lemon sauce near the end, because otherwise it may not blend all the ingredients together as well. If you still find the sauce too thick to spread when you're adding it to your salad or grain bowl, add another tablespoon of water to the processor with the remaining sauce, and blend until re-whipped.
Fresh or Dried Herbs: for those using supermarket herbs, make sure they're organic and consider buying an herb blend which has all the herbs you'd like in a bundle, to save a bit of money.
You can't really replace any of the herbs with dried versions, as they'll have a different and much more concentrated flavors, so consider grabbing some from the grocer's next time you're there. Cilantro is a more typical alternative to make a true copycat for Cava lemon herb tahini sauce.
Freezing The Sauce: you can freeze the lemon herb tahini sauce in an air-tight container for up to one year. Simply put it in the microwave on low for a minute to defrost, or leave it in the fridge overnight to use in the morning.
What to serve with herb lemon tahini sauce
- half a pound of crispy baked asparagus (or mashed root veggies)
- any tolerated type of pasta
- lentils in any form you'd like
- low histamine salad greens
- garlic brussels sprouts made in the toaster oven
- roasted sweet potatoes with a drizzle of tahini sauce
- your favorite cut of chicken
Homemade Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce Recipe Card
As always, if you like the recipe, I really appreciate a 5-star review or a comment!
Vegan Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce (Cava Copycat)
- ½ Cup tahini
- ¼ Cup lemon juice 1 fresh lemon
- 3-4 Tablespoons fresh herbs ex. rosemary, oregano, thyme; alt. ¼ Cup cilantro
- ¼ Cup warm water
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Pull your fresh herbs off the stems, then pulse the herb blend & cilantro (if using), garlic, and sea salt together in 3-second bursts for 30 seconds, until all the herbs are mostly pulverized.
- Add the lemon juice and blend everything on low for 15 more seconds.
- Pour in the water & tahini, and blend together until well-combined and fluffy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- The mixture should be well-whipped & chopped after a full minute, so taste it and add up to 1 tablespoon more water & extra salt (to balance it out if the tahini sauce is too bitter).