Tahini Is The Mayo Substitute You Should Add To Chicken Salad

Tahini appears in a wide variety of recipes, working as a flavorful paste that pairs beautifully with the sweet, the salty, the savory, and everything in between. Now it is time for tahini to make its way into your chicken salad recipe. Tahini is a paste made up of ground toasted and hulled sesame seeds and has been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries, perhaps most commonly known for its use in hummus. It is lightly nutty but also very earthy and even slightly bitter, but it's really the texture of tahini that makes it such an ideal choice for chicken salad. 

The consistency of tahini can vary from recipe to recipe, but it's generally very viscous and creamy — think of a thinned-out peanut butter spread. When making chicken salad, it can coat the chicken nicely, much as mayo would. While tahini doesn't quite replicate mayo's rich flavor profile, you can sub out mayonnaise for tahini for a healthier alternative. To make a mayo-like sauce, all you need is lemon juice, tahini, and water. 

Of course, you can always jazz up your tahini sauce as well. Take this TikTok hack for a quick tahini dressing for instance. To balance out that earthy edge, the TikToker also adds lemon zest and a bit of honey for extra sweetness. Of course, you could also incorporate mustard or garlic into the mix as well. 

Mayo isn't for everyone

After making your mayonnaise substitute, you can mix the tahini sauce with your chicken, tomatoes, onions, and celery to form a delicious chicken salad. While traditional chicken salad with mayo has its fans, not everyone is fond of mayonnaise in general. The egg-based dressing is pretty controversial — some even have "mayo-phobia," or a strong disgust response to the stuff. 

However, it can be difficult to find an alternative that provides moisture and richness, which is where tahini comes into play. Additionally, you may be making food for someone with an egg allergy, one of the most common food allergens, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And finally, you just might be out of mayo and need a quick fix. Tahini is a good substitution for all of these reasons. 


Truly so delicious and mayo-free 😍 #diningwithskyler

♬ Good Vibes (Instrumental) – Ellen Once Again

Tahini complements chicken by adding depth of flavor, without overwhelming the flavor of the meat. However, if you find yourself missing some of that extra richness that the fat and protein of mayo brings, try mixing in a bit of olive oil.