11/02/2011 04:46 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012


Gail Simmons shows you how to use foods you already have in your pantry to make easy, tasty recipes.

In this video, Gail shows viewers how to incorporate tahini into an obvious dish -- basic hummus -- but then also uses the sesame paste in a sweet cookie recipe and to top roasted eggplant (riffing on the ingredients in the classic Middle Eastern eggplant and tahini spread baba ganouj).

Made from sesame seeds, tahini is high in healthy fats, but due to its strong flavor, you only need to use a tiny amount. Gail's Hummus and Toasted Pita Chips recipe only calls for 1/3 cup of tahini, which she blends with a can of chickpeas, fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, a garlic clove, sea salt and pepper. The classic mixture -- topped with chiffonade mint leaves -- perfectly complements her mildly spicy homemade pita chips, which you can make with a dash of cayenne pepper, ground cumin, sea salt and either whole wheat or white pitas. Gail's Tahini Cookies have a sweet, nutty flavor, and her Roasted Eggplant recipe is given extra flavor with a lemon tahini dressing -- which can also be used on salads, or with proteins like lamb, fish or chicken.

Hummus on Toasted Pita Chips
Tahini Cookies
Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Dressing

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