Would you like to create a piece of salad artwork in just 20 minutes flat? We’ll show you how to do exactly that when you combine the crispness of the baby gem lettuce, the splatter of the tar-like black tahini and the ever so umami tamari seeds.
Why I Love Tamari Seeds and Baby Gem Lettuce Salad
I love this salad for 3 reasons. Well, there’s more but these are the 3 significant ones!
Firstly, this has got to be one of the easiest salad recipes to make. Every step of this recipe is simple with minimal fuss.
Secondly, I adore the black tahini and I love that its jet-black consistency is so vibrant. It sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s not something one would be used to seeing in a salad.
Thirdly, it is delicious. Whilst tahini in itself is quite a heavy spread, the fresh and crisp baby gem lettuce lightens the dish.
Finish it off with wispy micro salad and the umami flavours of the oven baked pepitas and sunflower seeds. So many good flavours in one dish!
What is Black Tahini?
Black tahini is made from black sesame seeds as opposed to white sesame seeds that are used to make regular tahini. Black sesame seeds are methodically stone ground until it becomes a smooth, creamy spread.
The texture is almost like tar with a shiny black consistency. In fact, because of its absence of colour, it makes for an awesome ingredient with a difference.
Does Black Tahini Taste the Same as Regular Tahini?
Black tahini is not as rich and wholesome as the normal tahini.
Black tahini is unhulled and therefore it tastes a little more toasted and has a slightly more bitter flavour. And the reason it is unhulled is because that is the only way to maintain its colour.
Black tahini is also a lot more “sticky”. You’ll find that it has a heavier texture and tends to stick to everything it touches. Certainly, it makes cleaning a little more challenging.
From a nutritional perspective, black tahini contains 70% more calcium and more antioxidants than its white counterpart.
We love our tahini and if you do too you should try our Beetroot Tahini recipe. So vibrant in colour and delicious to lap up!
What Is Tamari?
People often think that tamari and soy sauce are one and the same thing. Whilst there are some similarities, they are 2 different products.
Tamari, a Japanese ingredient, is the liquid extracted from fermented miso paste as it ages over time. Tamari is therefore a gluten free product.
Soy sauce, predominantly a Chinese ingredient, is the liquid that is taken out of a mixture of soy beans, wheat and other grains.
You will find that tamari is thicker and less salty compared to its Chinese counterpart. Its savoury and umami flavours are much more pronounced, making it a better choice as a dipping sauce for sushi and sashimi as it won’t overwhelm these dishes with its saltiness.
As I am Chinese, soy sauce is a staple in my household. Over the years however, I have become fond of tamari and am finding that I am slowly making the change from soy sauce. Ever since my daughter was born, I have made a concerted effort to reduce my salt intake.
As she moved on from pureed baby food to normal meals, my daughter was eating the same food that we were so I had to reduce the amount of salt we consumed.
It’s amazing how when you omit something from your diet, you can become accustomed to something so quickly. For many years after that I found a lot of Chinese food extremely salty. Hence my preference for tamari.
Where Can You Find Tamari?
You can find tamari in the Asian aisles of your local supermarket.
If not, head to an Asian grocer.
How to Make Tamari Seeds and Baby Gem Lettuce Salad
How to Make the Tamari Seeds?
In a small mixing bowl, add the tamari to the pepitas and sunflower seeds. Mix until well combined.
With 1 tsp of olive oil, oil the sheet pan with a brush. Place the seeds and tamari mixture on the sheet pan and place in the oven at 180°C and 350°F for 3 minutes.
When that is done, remove the roasted pepitas and roasted sunflower seeds, set aside and let it cool.
BTW, they make for fantastic snacks! You can always make a big bowl for your guests to nibble on before dinner.
How to Cut the Baby Gem Lettuce
We are after 2 different cuts for this salad to give it a bit of texture.
For 2 of the baby gem lettuce, cut them in half, lengthwise, so they are nice and long.
For the remaining 2 bay gem lettuces, we are after the floral, leafy heads. So, cut them off towards the base of the lettuce. But only do this when it’s time to serve as the leaves will start to fall apart. You need to be able to place them on the thick black tahini so it stays intact.
Do make sure you also try our Radicchio, Baby Gem, Orange and Ruby Grapefruit Salad.
How to Make Black Tahini and Lemon Dressing
This is a super simple salad dressing recipe.
In a small mixing bowl, just add the black tahini, sour cream, juice of 1 lemon, kecap manis and tamari. Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble Tamari Seeds Salad
On a flat plate, with a spoon, splatter the black tahini dressing onto one side of the plate more than the other. Make a mess! I literally flung the spoon down towards the plate. Imagine yourself like those painters who create abstract art! LOL!
Line the plate on the other side of the plate with half the micro salad. We want some of the black tahini to be seen on one side of the plate.
Strategically place the baby gem lettuce on top of the micro salad. You will need the help of the long baby gem lettuce to help keep the other 2 floral leafy heads in one piece.
Place more of the micro salad between the lettuce leaves.
Sprinkle the roasted pepitas and roasted sunflower seeds all over the plate. Going for a messy look so you can sprinkle from a height.
I told you it was easy! You’ll be stunned by how many different flavours are present in this salad recipe.
With a little creativity you can create a side dish worthy of any meal you’re making. Wonder what your guests will say about the tar you slapped on the plate! Only one way to find out!
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Tamari Seeds and Baby Gem Lettuce Salad
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- In a small mixing bowl, add the pepitas, sunflower seeds and tamari. Mix until well combined. Line a sheet pan with 1 tsp olive oil. Pour the seeds onto the sheet pan and bake at 180°C and 350°F for 3 minutes. When completed, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Cut 2 of the baby gem lettuce in half, lengthwise.
- Cut 2 of the baby gem lettuce sideways but closer to the base so that you can get the floral leafy top. We do not require the base.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the black tahini, sour cream, juice of 1 lemon, kecap manis and tamari. Mix until well combined.
- On a flat plate, with a spoon, splatter the dressing onto one side of the plate more than the other. Make a mess!
- Line the plate on the other side of the plate with half the micro salad. We want some of the black tahini to be seen on the other side of the plate.
- Strategically place the lettuce on top of the micro salad.
- Place more of the micro salad between the lettuce leaves.
- Sprinkle the tamari seeds all over the plate. Going for a messy look.
- If you are unable to find black tahini, you can use regular hulled or unhulled tahini.
- You can substitute tamari with soy sauce. This is makes this recipe not coeliac friendly.
- You can substitute micro salad with snow pea sprouts or broccoli sprouts. What you are looking for are small leaves that aren’t herbs. You can find micro salad in your fine food grocer or farmers’ market.
- You can use any seed of your choice.
- If you prefer, you can substitute sour cream with Greek yoghurt.
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