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Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

Steaming offers extreme speed and high hydration, which means that whatever you cook—from seasonal vegetables to proteins—will be done quickly and always moist. Don’t give up; it will happen. This recipe is from Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music.


  • 3 lb. sweet potatoes, any color (6 small or 3 large), scrubbed
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Toasted sesame seeds and lime wedges (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket. Halve sweet potatoes crosswise if large and place in steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and steam until fork-tender, 25–30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, smash together butter, lime juice, tahini, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl with a fork until smooth, about 3 minutes. Season tahini butter with kosher salt and lots of pepper.

  • Arrange sweet potatoes on a platter or a large plate. Let cool until you can just handle them, then split open and generously spread tahini butter over. Season with sea salt; top liberally with sesame seeds. Serve with lime wedges (this dish really comes alive with lots of bright citrus).

Recipe by Carla Lalli MusicReviews SectionTotally delicious... like a restaurant gourmet meal. We paired it with some spiced marinated chickpeas and salad for a delicious, healthy meal. The first time definitely took longer than expected.... the sweet potato took double the time to cook (about an hour) and I struggled for 20min trying to mash the room temp butter with a fork till I finally whipped out the mini food processor. Next time I plan on baking in foil (like a jacket potato) instead of bothering with the steamer, and will just use the food processor to begin with. Also, watch out with the lime juice. It was slightly too sour and I had to add extra tahini & sesame oil to compensate... will start with 3 tbs then adjust to taste. Overall, an EXCELLENT dish and will go into our regulars.Simple ingredients, complex flavor! I added the tiniest bit of agave nectar to the tahini butter. I kept tasting the tahini butter thinking to myself "....really?". But, like so many of Carla's recipes and videos, I just had to have a little faith. Absolutely delicious. Steaming sweet potatoes is the way to go - the creaminess of the flesh and tender skin will not be replicated by roasting. This would be a great meal prep recipe!My new go to meal. As others have said, deceptively delicious. The steaming part did not seem better than when I roast, though, so I am sticking with my usual method there. Used ghee instead of butter. Perfect.So dang good! The only thing is it can be a little rich, so don't hold back on the citrus. If you're using vegan "butter", I'd recommend using chilled stuff, otherwise it just kind of melts on contact with the sweet potatoes. So good though and really filling :)AnonymousMassachusetts05/18/20The simplicity of this recipe is deceptive, as it offers a very complex flavour. We had a number of aging limes in our fruit bowl and some sweet potatoes in our new pandemic-inspired basement cooler when I came across this recipe. I've now made it twice and can't wait to share it with friends once we're able to interact again. I think about the tahini butter every day... Thanks, Carla.JFonzSaskatoon, Canada05/01/20This was so so delicious!!! The tahini lime butter ..... I want to put it on EVERYTHING. I overcooked the sweet potatoes (in the Instant Pot, still learning how long to cook things), but it was still so delicious. This was such a satisfying breakfast.This didn't do it for me. It did look very pretty, but I didn't think the tahini butter was that great.AnonymousPortland, OR04/23/20This tahini butter is off the hook. I didn't steam the sweet potatoes, but rather roast them low and slow to try and achieve the same effect.What an easy and delicious way to zhuzh up your typical sweet potatoes! Loved the nuttiness of the tahini butter and texture that the roasted sesames seeds added. Will keep this recipe in my back pocket for weeknight dinners.mccarrotColumbus, OH04/21/20adding to my other review that I had leftover tahini butter and just laid that down on some avocado toast and WOW WOW WOWkmarxmarxchicago, il04/16/20Loved it! After the steam, I did a quick browning in the oven to crisp them up (I was broiling something so the main oven was nice and hot) - just a few mins on each side. Added some texture! I didn't have sesame seeds so ate plain but I can see adding dollops of dairy, other nuts, sprouts?? Or this being the warm main part of a rice bowl. Will be making this a lot and mixing it up.csototoPalm Springs CA 04/15/20This recipe is amazing! It's super simple (making Tahini butter yourself is also really easy!) and incredibly delicious! I think I just found one of my favorite foods ever :) Thank you Carla!MinaHarrisonThe Netherlands04/12/20FYI sesame seeds aren’t kosher...looking to try this recipe and might do so without the sesame seeds and limes at the endThis really spiced up my quarantine lunch routine. Thank you, Carla!AnonymousWisconsin04/06/20This is going to be my coronavirus go-to recipe. It was minimal effort for outrageously delicious results. The tahini butter makes this feel so decadent.Outstanding! I used furikake in lieu of just plain sesame seeds - it was a gorgeous main entree and I'm not vegetarian. Will definitely put this one into rotation.I did these up with toasted walnuts (toasted with butter and a dash of cinnamon), avocado, scallions and a dollop of sour cream. So good that I literally just ate this for dinner and nothing else.This recipe is crazy delicious. Love the balance between all the flavors. Couldn't recommend it enough.archerhendersonNew York 03/30/20Carla , I loved you before but now I have named my stay at home h o to Carla's Sweet Potatoes and I'm naming my next cat Carla's soo goodHoly smokes! Where has this been my whole life?!The combination of flavors is amazing and steaming the sweet potatoes makes them so moist!I used a white shoyu for the soy sauce which is ultra-light.The tahini was Mighty Sesame Co. and sesame oil was La Tourangelle.I don't know if this made a difference but I have noticed some other brands can be strong and off-putting.AnonymousMobile, AL01/23/20I have come back to this recipe several times because this tahini butter is AMAZING! I use half the sesame oil based on reviews and I think it works out really well.AnonymousCrested Butte, CO01/16/20For thanksgiving I tried to adapt this recipe to be vegan compliant for my father's diet.Alterations:-1/2 recipe-Swapped butter for equal amount of coconut oil, trying to keep a semi-solid sauce topping-Used less sesame oil, as suggested below-Sous Vide sweet potatoes at 188f for several hours, potatoes and sweet potatoes always turn out great for me with thisResults:Taste - Delicious, good sour, salt, fat combinationLook - Terrible, the coconut oil made the sauce come out of the fridge rock hard, then just a touch of reheating rendered it a thin runny liquid which instantly flowed off the potatoes onto the dishFuture: I'll try olive oil instead of coconut and either embrace the liquid or try to find some way of stabilizing it, maybe see it it can be whipped together with some aquafaba?Carla, I love you. This recipe is so good. Balanced and flavorful. I'm so happy to have another way to eat sweet potatoes and another use for tahini.funfoodinfloridaFlorida10/22/19This is seriously delicious. Crazy simple, uses pantry staples, and elevates a sweet potato to another level. Make this ASAP!!!sophisrChicago, IL10/16/19Didn't love the tahini butter until I added some honey and just a splash of sesame oil (per comments below). Also topped with scallions. It looks a lot more appetizing when the butter started to melt. Maybe the texture was initially off putting to me. I used salted butter cuz that's what I had. I tried the butter with some brown rice and it was good! Want to try some veg as well. Love experimenting with tahini!AnonymousPortland04/11/19

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

What is so special and delicious about last night’s dinner (pictured here) is not the baked beans, nor the grilled bison burger on a roll slathered with Tahini Butter, nor the freshly made dill pickles from yours truly, but it is the Steamed Sweet Potato with Tahini Butter and Toasted Sesame Seeds—a recipe from the NYTimes magazine. YUM!

A few weeks ago, Susan handed me the magazine section and said “This sweet potato recipe looks delicious. Would you make it for me? For us?”

And I did and I can’t wait to make it again.

Quoting Samin Nosrat (writing in The New York Times Magazine):

“Carla Lalli Music, a food writer and editor, is vehemently opposed to roasting sweet potatoes. “I don’t understand why people are constantly roasting them,” she says. “Roasting just makes them more fibrous and leathery, and they never, ever really get crispy.” Instead, she posits that steaming performs a kind of alchemy on sweet potatoes that roasting never does — the moist heat fluffs them into absorbent clouds. And to make up for the inherent blandness of the cooking method, she slathers them with a rich tahini butter spiked with soy sauce, which immediately melts into a mouth-smacking sauce. Her simple recipe ends with a shower of golden sesame seeds and a torrent of lime juice. Try it — every bite will surprise you with crunch, salt, umami and acidity to counterbalance the sweetness of the pillowy potatoes.”


  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving


  1. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.
  3. Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

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Brown butter + tahini labneh with roasted sweet potatoes

Eating sweet potatoes exclusively in the month of November is just wrong. They are also great in July! and March! and September! and every other month of the year! A big thank you to the Indigenous peoples of America for harvesting this year-round crop for centuries, well before they sadly were used in sweet-potato-marshmallow casserole.

I’m ditching marshmallows and instead using brown butter tahini labneh, mostly because it sounds fancy af but also because it’s delicious. The brown butter gives the labneh a rich, nutty flavor, which is further enhanced with tahini. FYI the leftovers taste great with fruit.

6 sweet potatoes

3 tbsp. olive oil

6 tsp. + 1 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 cups labneh

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup tahini

sesame seeds, for topping

Make the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 425ºF/220ºC. Scrub sweet potatoes clean, pat dry, and place on a large baking sheet lined with foil. Rub each sweet potato with 1/2 tbsp. of olive oil and top each with 1 tsp. of salt (yes, it’s salty!). Bake sweet potatoes for 60-75 minutes, or until a fork easy slides through them. Bump heat to high broil, and broil sweet potatoes for 10 minutes, until outsides are charred a bit.

Make the brown butter labneh: Place butter in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Once butter starts to foam and boil, constantly whisk. You will see the butter begin to take on a toasty brown color, and have a nutty fragrance. When the butter has a deep brown color, turn off heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Add labneh, tahini, 1 tsp. salt, and 3 tbsp. brown butter to a bowl, making sure to scoop up all of the brown bits from the melted butter. Mix together until incorporated.

To serve, pour labneh in the center of a platter, and using the back of a spoon, press labneh down and outwards to create a well in the center. Top with extra brown butter. Cut sweet potatoes in half or quarters, and serve alongside labneh, or on top.

store: labneh & sweet potatoes in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Steamed sweet potatoes topped with a (paleo & Whole30!) creamy, tangy tahini spread. A squeeze of lime and sprinkle of sesame seeds brings perfection.


Tahini Butter

  • 6 Tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • sesame seeds


  1. Bake or steam sweet potatoes however you choose. (If you have an Instant Pot, refer to my post on how to cook sweet potatoes in the IP!)
  2. While potatoes are baking/steaming, combine all ingredients for tahini butter into a food processor. Pulse a few times, then run until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  3. Place tahini butter into the fridge to firm up a bit while the potatoes continue to cook.
  4. Once potatoes are done, allow to cool slightly.
  5. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise, then slather with tahini butter. The more the better, I say.
  6. Sprinkle with a good coating of sesame seeds. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of flaky salt to take it to perfection.
  7. Eat!


If you want to make this a complete meal, add some protein! I love cutting the potato open, adding some shredded chicken, then topping the whole thing with the tahini butter. Yum.

Nutrition Information:

Monday 23rd of November 2020

Okay, what is tahini and where do I find it? This just looks so yummy! Perfect replacement of candied yams or Whatever super sugar loaded thing cooked in the past! Thank you!

Monday 23rd of November 2020

Hi Skeet - tahini is a paste made out of sesame seeds. You'll either find it with condiments/oils, or in the ethnic foods aisle. You're going to love these!

Sweet potato nutrition and health benefits

Sweet potatoes are incredibly nutritious and packed with vitamins and antioxidants. They are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A - helpful for your immune system and eye health. Since vitamin A is a fat-soluble nutrient, fat helps increase absorption. That's why this recipe includes a delicious tahini butter to serve with the sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber - 1 cup contains 7 grams of fiber! Fiber is vital for gut health and chronic disease prevention and management. Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of potassium and provide vitamins C and B6 (source).


These sweet potatoes might be packed with flavor, but luckily not packed with too many ingredients. In an effort to keep things minimal, there are only 7 ingredients to make this delicious root veggie dish (and most of them are pantry staples).

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocado oil
  • Butter
  • Tahini
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt

Savoury tahini recipes

Classic hummus

Tahini is a key ingredient in this velvety chickpea dip, which makes a great addition to a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean mezze feast. Making your own hummus is easier than you’d think, try it here…

Super-seedy salad with tahini dressing

A tangy tahini and yogurt dressing is the perfect way to finish this veggie salad, packed with prebiotic goodness.

Roast carrots with tahini sauce

Roast carrots and chickpeas and serve with a sauce made of tahini, lemon and garlic. Any leftovers make a great packed lunch.

Deep-fried sprouts with tahini dip

A thick and creamy tahini dip is the perfect partner for these crispy brussels sprouts, ready in just 15 minutes.

Baba ganoush with lavash

Check out our take on traditional Eastern Mediterranean baba ganoush. Comprised of grilled aubergines and tahini, this dip is seriously creamy. What’s more, it’s vegan too.

Notes about this recipe

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Chapters are divided based on course: Small Plates, Large Plates, Side Dishes, Dessert, Drink, and The Larder. While you will find a handful of traditional recipes in The New Mediterranean Table, most are recreations by Sameh featuring the amazing spices and flavors of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southern Europe.

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Spiced Tahini Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients popular in Middle Eastern cooking — tahini, sumac and pomegranate seeds — take roasted sweet potatoes to a new level.

Where to Buy: Sumac is available at many spice stores and well-stocked supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, grate the zest of the lemons you’re juicing and use that instead.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.


Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and place them on the baking sheet along with the chickpeas. Drizzle with the oil and season with 1 teaspoon salt, tossing the chickpeas and rubbing the oil on the sweet potatoes to ensure even coverage.

Turn the potato halves cut side down and roast 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender and the chickpeas are a little crispy, stirring the chickpeas once halfway through.

In a small bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. It should be the consistency of ranch dressing stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons water to thin it out, if needed.

Place the sweet potato halves cut side up on a plate. Sprinkle the chickpeas with the pepper, cumin and sumac and toss to coat.

Leaving a 1/2-inch border intact around the edges and bottom, scoop the remaining flesh out of the sweet potato halves into a bowl. Mix half of the tahini dressing with the flesh of the sweet potatoes, then, using a fork, mash the potato until smooth. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Spoon the seasoned potato flesh back into the skins.

Top with the spiced chickpeas, pomegranate seeds, parsley and mint. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Watch the video: Cooking With Fey-Χαλβάς από Ταχίνι (December 2021).