Sweet Potato-Tahini Dip with Za’atar

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Beyond that fact that dips are a good thing to serve people as a snack (or to yourself in the throes of pre-dinner hunger pangs), they’re also a great way to help you manage your time if you’re hosting a dinner. Dips are great because you can almost always make them ahead of time, and if people show up early (or you’re behind schedule), just pour them a drink and arrange a few different dipping foods around your pre-made masterpiece, throw on a garnish, and you’re good to go.

The book Friendsgiving: Celebrate Your Family of Friends by Alexandra Shytsman is filled with great ideas for not only what to cook, but how to cook it in a way that limits stress and embraces the spirit of Friendsgiving — fun!

Centered around different types of menus, Friendsgiving shows us that this unconventional holiday doesn’t have to involve all the usual suspects you’ll be eating with your family in a week or two (although it totally can), but it’s about bringing friends together for a full-on multi-course meal, meant to be enjoyed slowly — whether it’s a Cuban-themed fiesta, fried chicken feast, or an all-veggie celebration. (Seriously you guys, Alex made this book so. much. fun.)

This sweet potato and tahini number is unexpected with its za’atar spice mix, but it’s still within the seasonal-appropriate comfort zone with everyone’s favorite orange spud. It’s pretty, it’s packed with whole foods, and it’s incredibly addictive.

Sweet Potato-Tahini Dip with Za’atar

A great make-ahead appetizer perfect for Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving.

This recipe is an excerpt from the book Friendsgiving: Celebrate Your Family of Friends by Alexandra Shytsman and published by William Morrow.


  • 2 small sweet potatoes ,about 1 pound, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and wrap each one tightly in foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast until the flesh give easily when pressed, about 1 hour. Unwrap and set aside to cool completely.
  3. To make za’atar, toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over a low heat until golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the thyme, sumac, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and set aside.
  4. Peel the sweet potatoes and place them in a food processor. Add the tahini, water,lemon juice, hot sauce, a few turns of pepper, and 2 teaspoons on the prepared za’atar. Puree until completely smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  5. Scrape the dip into a small serving bowl, drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with a teaspoon of the za’atar.

Recipe Notes

You can make this dip up to a day in advance and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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