This traditional shawarma sauce is creamy and known as tarator. The base ingredients are tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and water which are whipped up in minutes. This sauce can be used with many foods. Naturally vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
This website receives a commission/fee for each purchase bought through the affiliate links on this website
Well, folks, I’ve got to tell you, if you’re looking for the sauce of all sauces, shawarma sauce (tarator) is the way to go, IMO.
It can be used for so many foods.
Tarator is an Arabic word, pronounced as “tah-rrah-tourr”.
Whenever this sauce was being whipped up by my mother when I was a kid, I knew that something delicious was being made for the meal.
😋Why you’ll love this recipe
- Super easy, made in minutes
- Versatile, can be used in so many ways (sauce, dipping sauce, dressing, in cooking and baking.
- Minimal and easy ingredients
- Naturally gluten free, dairy free, egg free (vegan) and nut free
✔️What You’ll Need
The optional ingredients for the variations list below. The yogurt in this image is dairy-free.
🍋 Ingredients Notes
Tahini is the star ingredient of tarator, you can find this sauce everywhere nowadays, you can find it online here (affiliate link).
Lemon juice must be freshly squeezed. Avoid store-bought lemon juice. There have been times when I have used lime juice instead. The taste is negligible.
Salt is added to taste. I like to use Himalayan salt (affiliate link) for its health benefits.
Water is needed to help turn the tahini into a delicious creaminess. Use filtered water when possible.
🔪 Step by step guide
Step 1 - In a bowl, whisk lemon, tahini and salt until well blended.
Step 2 - Add in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until shawarma sauce reaches a nice consistency. (you can add more if you require)
My family (omnivores & herbivores) always enjoy it in so many ways;
- With baked kafta (kifteh)
- With fried foods - such as falafel, French fries (try my air fried French fries), fried cauliflower, fried eggplant and so much more
- With baked fish called samke harra
- With shawarma (doner kebabs) try my mouthwatering vegan shawarma using my shawarma spice mix.
Since changing my diet to be vegan, I especially love tarator with roasted vegetables. It really does take them up to a new level.
⭐ Pro Tips
Using clumpy tahini is okay, once the water is mixed through it, it will be the right consistency.
Tarator consistency can always be adjusted. If you would like a thinner consistency, add more water, one tablespoon at a time.
Leftover shawarma sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.
🌿Shawarma Sauce Variations
There are a couple of variations of tarator;
Lemon Herb Tahini Sauce
Use the same base ingredients found within this recipe, and add finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.
This is typically used with fish, however as I no longer eat fish, I love enjoying it with fresh or roasted vegetables.
You can also try dill instead of parsley.
Tahini garlic Sauce
Again use the base ingredients but add a clove or two of fresh crushed garlic. This can be used with anything.
Whenever I make this version, I normally will split the batch and make one with and without garlic, as some of my family members experience reflux with fresh garlic.
Tahini Yogurt Sauce
This uses the base ingredients with added plain yogurt. Try adding 1-2 tablespoons. The color of the sauce will be brighter.
To keep it vegan, I like to use a dairy-free plain yogurt with kefir, this has less flavoring and is sour.
Avoid flavored yogurts.
I also enjoy this type of yogurt in my vegan Lebanese cucumber with yogurt salad.
This variation of tarator is great with most foods too.
You can also combine all three versions; this is the best shawarma sauce recipe!
Tahini can last several years if stored in a cool dark pantry, however, most households won’t ever experience this as opened jars tend to be used up quickly.
Once opened, ensure your jar is always clean, well-sealed after use, and bonus tip (from generations of tahini users) store your tahini jar upside down.
This will help it not clump together at the bottom. If the tahini separates (i.e., oil and paste) just like peanut butter, you can mix it until it has recombined. This is a normal and natural behavior of tahini.
The short answer is you can, but it is not recommended nor required as tahini is shelf-stable.
Tahini naturally contains a high percentage of oil, which acts as a natural preservative and will generally sit on top of the tahini.
Keeping tahini at room temperature will help keep it malleable and not harden/clump.
Another authentic shawarma sauce is toum, the famous Lebanese garlic dipping sauce.
Did you enjoy making this shawarma sauce recipe? I would love to hear from you, leave me a comment below and give me a rating. This will help me sustain Plant Based Folk.
Alternatively, did you happen to take a photo of your tarator? Tag me @plantbasedfolk on Instagram to be featured via stories. If you love sharing your vegan food pics, join the PBF community group. If you’re into fast cooking vids, join me on Tiktok.
Easy and Creamy Shawarma Sauce (Tarator)
- 1 tablespoon Parsley finely chopped
- 1 small Garlic clove crushed
- 2 tablespoons Plain yogurt dairy free
- In a bowl, whisk lemon, tahini and salt until well blended1 small Lemon, 5 tablespoons Tahini, 1 pinch Salt, 3 tablespoons Water
- Add in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce reaches a nice consistency. If desired, more spoonfuls of water can be added to thin out this sauce. Whisk in any of your deisred optional ingredients.
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use.