A hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli (a.k.a. gai lan) broccolini offers a pleasant crunch and a mild sweetness missing from standard-issue broccoli. Deliciously unfussy, this quick side adds brightness and flair to any sit-down supper. You can even make the broccolini ahead of time and serve it chilled. —Michelle Tam and Henry Fong

Broccolini with Tahini Sauce FAQs

What can I substitute for broccolini?

If you have a hard time finding broccolini at your local market, try broccoli or broccoli rabe (rapini). Although, if you use broccoli rabe, it’ll be slightly more bitter than broccoli, which is mildly sweet.

What else can I use Nom Nom Paleo’s tahini sauce on?

We’ve got you covered. Tester Elsa M. Jacobson suggests using it on other vegetables including broccoli, spinach, greens such as collards, kale, and mustard, carrots, zucchini or yellow summer squash, green beans, plus a lot more. She also says it could be used as a salad dressing or an accompaniment for pita bread.

A black plate with broccolini with tahini sauce.

Broccolini with Tahini Sauce

5 / 2 votes
For this broccolini with tahini sauce, boiled broccolini gets glammed up with an easy tahini, garlic, lemon, and olive oil sauce. Take to the catwalk, baby.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories238 kcal
Prep Time12 minutes
Cook Time3 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


For the tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Zest from 1 lemon, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

For the broccolini

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound broccolini, ends trimmed

To serve


Make the tahini sauce

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and garlic. (Don’t worry if the sauce looks clumpy or curdled at this stage.)
  • Slowly whisk in 1 tablespoon of ice water at a time until the chunky tahini paste magically turns into a creamy sauce. Usually 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 74 ml) of ice water will do the trick.
  • Taste the tahini sauce and adjust with more salt or lemon juice, if desired.

Cook the broccolini

  • Set a large covered pot of water over high heat, and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add a large pinch of salt and carefully drop the broccolini into the boiling water. Cook the broccolini until it turns bright green and becomes tender-crisp, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of the stalks. Transfer the broccolini to a to drain.
  • Arrange the broccolini on a serving platter and spoon the tahini sauce over the top. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes and serve.
Nom Nom Paleo Let's Go Cookbook

Adapted From

Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 238 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 7 gFat: 19 gSaturated Fat: 3 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gSodium: 480 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2022 Michelle Tam | Henry Fong. Photo © 2022 Henry Fong. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

With a sauce this simple and tasty, why stop at just serving it with broccolini? This would also be a lovely sauce paired with blanched cauliflower or roasted brussels sprouts, or even served with a plate of crudités or as an alternative to a salad dressing.

I served the broccolini with tahini sauce alongside pan-seared Barramundi with a chimichurri sauce, and some black-eyed peas. The only suggestion I would make to the recipe itself would be to say that you could also use a mini food processor to make the dressing, that helps the sauce come together quicker.

Broccolini with tahini sauce is a very tasty side dish. I wasn’t sure about the sauce when I tasted it alone for seasoning but when paired with the broccolini it was magical. Something about the warm broccolini enhanced the lemon flavor and the tahini became more of a background note. I can imagine using this sauce on any number of vegetables – boiled, steamed, or roasted. I served this with a salad and ginger-scallion fish fillets.

This tahini sauce will be a highly useable addition to a repertoire of easy-to-make and easy-to-use recipes. I would use this sauce atop the broccolini again, but it would be good on many other vegetables, such as regular broccoli, spinach or greens of nearly any sort, carrots, zucchini or yellow summer squash, green beans, and more. It could be used as a salad dressing, or as a dip for homemade pita bread. To make the sauce less oily, the vegetables could be roasted rather than steamed, and I think some charring on the vegetables would add well to the dish, but only if the oil was reduced in the sauce. 

I was happy to find a new way to prepare broccolini, which is one of my favorite vegetables. Normally I make it with a combo of sesame oil, soy, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. This broccolini with tahini sauce recipe is just as pleasing with a different flavor profile. We served it warm as a side with roasted honeynut squash and the Mayo Roast Chicken that has become a weekday rotation.

This recipe was so easy to prepare and packed with flavour. The lemon not only complemented the tahini but helped tone down the nutty, earthy flavour of the tahini which can sometimes be a little intense. What I really liked about this dish was being able to serve it cold so I actually kept it in my fridge as a go-to snack. I’m a lover of anything broccoli so this made for the perfect snack for me. If you wish to serve this warm I could see this being served alongside steamed rice and an Asian-inspired pork chop.

A gray plate with broccolini with tahini sauce

I’m a huge fan of a sauce for anything. It can dress up a simple side, like in the case of this broccolini, can encourage a skeptic to try whatever is being sauced or an ingredient in the sauce, and adding a little, a lot, or skipping it entirely lets everyone customize while still eating the same thing. This tahini sauce adds richness and brightness to the broccolini without over complicating an easy green vegetable. It would be great for guests but is simple enough for a weeknight to make dinner feel a little special.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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