Any good cook knows that food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste great. This tahini caramelized onion sauce  is really simple and one of my favorite on-the-fly recipes ever. Honestly, if I could somehow always have enough onions on hand to sustain a steady supply, I would be perfectly content eating beans and rice smothered in this sauce for the next three years.

The time-consuming part of this recipe is caramelizing the onions, which you can do in advance. I usually use a 3 pound bag of onions for this sauce. You can use however many onions you happen to have on hand, but remember that the onions will reduce to about a third of their original size. Slice the onions thinly and place them in a hot pan with some peanut oil. Add a pinch of salt (to encourage the onions to sweat) and cook on medium heat for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan or burn; turn down the heat if they’re getting out of hand. If they do stick, deglaze the hot pan with a tablespoon or two of water; the liquid will evaporate instantly and the onions will loosen. Continue to cook until they have reduced a good deal and are soft, dark brown in color, and sweet. Be patient; it’s well worth the wait, and the rest of the sauce comes together in less than five minutes.


5.0 from 6 reviews
Tahini Caramelized Onion Sauce
Recipe type: sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
This sauce is the perfect way to dress up a simple meal of lentils and rice. Originally featured on the now-defunct Veggie Meal Plans blog.
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups caramelized onions, give or take
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, water and olive oil until mixture thickens.
  2. Whisk in additional water a tablespoon at a time until mixture reaches desired consistency.
  3. Stir in caramelized onions to taste.