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Kids Club Vol. 42: Sesame seeds



Welcome to the latest issue of our ChopChop Kids Club newsletter!

Sesame seeds may be most familiar to you from your bagel or burger bun—but there’s more to this tiny seed than meets the eye (or bread). Sesame seeds are used throughout the world: stirred into soups and stews in India, East Africa, and Mexico; ground into the fragrant paste called tahini in the Middle East; turned into sesame oil that’s used all over East Asia; and made into candies, crackers, and breadsticks in Europe and the Caribbean. Just read on for recipes, fun facts, and more. Open sesame! 

Are you ready?

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Tahini Dressing


Tahini Dressing

Tahini is an interesting ingredient. Even if you like sesame seeds, you may not like the taste of tahini all by itself; some people find its taste bitter while others find it nutty. But don’t let that stop you from making this tangy, creamy dressing. We eat it on salads all the time, but it’s also great drizzled on roasted vegetables, grilled chicken or beef, and beans. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 cups

kitchen gear

  • Measuring cup
  • Jar with lid or small bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Fork or whisk


  • 1⁄2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1⁄3 cup water
  • 1⁄2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil


  • Put all the ingredients in the jar, put the lid on tightly, and shake, shake, shake. 


Add 1 minced garlic clove and/or 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce.

All about Tahini

What is it? Tahini is a condiment made from hulled sesame seeds (sesame seeds with the outer husk removed) that have been lightly toasted and ground, much like peanut butter, into a very smooth, creamy paste.

Where in the world? Tahini is used in lots of Middle Eastern dishes, including hummus and baba ghanoush (an eggplant dip), and in sauces for falafel, gyros, and other pita sandwiches.

How do you use it?

  • Spread it on toast.
  • Make hummus (see the recipe link at the bottom of the page).
  • Add a dash of soy sauce to 2 tablespoons tahini and brush on fish or chicken before grilling.
  • Add 1–2 tablespoons to 1 cup of your favorite vinaigrette to make it rich and creamy.
  • Drizzle a few teaspoons on a roast chicken right after it comes out of the oven.
  • Mix it with equal amounts of yogurt and honey and dip fresh fruit into it.
  • Use it as a substitute for peanut or almond butter.

How do you store it? If you buy tahini in a can, transfer the contents to a plastic or glass container, cover, and refrigerate. If you buy it in a plastic or glass jar, simply store it in the refrigerator. If the oil separates from the tahini, stir it well to recombine before using.

Sweet Sesame Snacking Almonds

Sweet and just a little bit spicy, these almonds get an added crunch from sesame seeds.

  1. Turn the oven on and set the heat to 250 degrees.
  2. Put 2 cups almonds, 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or honey), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon each ground cinnamon and chili powder in a bowl and mix well. Empty the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and spread it out in a single layer.
  3. Once the oven temperature has reached 250 degrees, put the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the nuts are shiny and lightly toasted, about 20 minutes.
  4. Using pot holders, carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven. Add 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds and mix well with a spatula, until most of the seeds are stuck on the almonds. Set aside to cool.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

When the TV show Sesame Street was being developed in 1969, the show’s creators couldn’t think of a good name for it! They thought of The Video Classroom and 1-2-3 Avenue B, but nothing seemed quite right. Finally, Virginia Schone, one of the show’s writers, came up with the name Sesame Street, and the rest is history.

Do The Math: Estimating with Sesame Seeds

How many sesame seeds do you think are in a tablespoon? Make a guess. Want to check your estimating skills? Count the number of sesame seeds in ¼ teaspoon. Now multiply that by 4 to find out how many sesame seeds are in 1 teaspoon. If we tell you that there are 3 teaspoons in 1 tablespoon, can you figure out the number of sesame seeds in a tablespoon? (No sesame seeds? Try estimating with peppercorns, popcorn kernels, or raw rice instead.)

Where in the World?

Sesame seeds are the oldest oilseed crop in the world! (“Oilseed” means seeds people make oil out of.) The archeological evidence suggests that sesame was first cultivated in India over 5000 years ago. And the Egyptian tomb of King Tutankhamun contained baskets of sesame seeds that dated back to around 1350 BCE. 

Read All About It

Catherine Newman’s newest book, What Can I Say? A Kid’s Guide to Super-Useful Social Skills to Help You Get Along and Express Yourself (Storey Publishing, 2022), follows her earlier book, How to Be a Person (Storey, 2020), and is just as important, helpful, and charming. Granted she’s ChopChop magazine’s editor, but we’d love her books anyway.
Catherine helps children of all ages navigate the sticky parts of life (i.e., everything), like: How to Put Someone at Ease, How to Give Someone the Benefit of the Doubt, How to Give and Receive a Compliment, How to Shut Down Gossip, and How NOT to Be in a Romantic Relationship. It’s really a guidebook for making your way in life, and as with How to Be a Person, there isn’t a soul who couldn’t use these tools. Give it to your kids, give it to your friends, give it to your kids’ teachers. You’ll love it. Check it out here.


Craving More Sesame? Try One of These Recipes

Peanutty Sesame Noodles
Sesame Crusted Tofu
Cold Sesame Spinach
Hummus However You Like It
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