Syrian Pasta with Garlic-Tahini Sauce | Macaroni bil Tarator

Known as Macaroni bil Tarator in Syria, this recipe from Arto der Haroutunian’s cookbook, Vegetarian Dishes of the Middle East is a simple but satisfying one, and can be ready in minutes if you make the tarator (garlic-tahini sauce) in advance. It can also be enjoyed hot or cold.

We’ve adjusted quantities given for the sauce (which is a sub-recipe in the book) to match the amount needed for this pasta recipe, but you can make double or more, as it keeps in the fridge for a few days and can also be used as a dip or salad dressing.


Read our full book review of Vegetarian Dishes of the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian.



Syrian Pasta with Garlic-Tahini Sauce | Macaroni bil Tarator

Another macaroni recipe from Syria; it is simple and filling, but rather rich and I suggest you serve it with a fairly plain vegetable dish or salad. Tahinyeh (also known as tarator) is an Arab sauce and is used extensively in Syrian and Lebanese cuisine. As well as an excellent dip, Tahiniyeh can be used as a salad dressing.

Author Arto der Haroutunian


  • 225 g 8 oz macaroni or spaghetti, broken into 2in (5cm) pieces

For the garlic tahini sauce

  • 75 ml ( ⅛ pint) tahini (sesame paste)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) milk or water
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli pepper


  • Pour the tahina into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice. Slowly add the milk, stirring until you have a mixture that is thick and creamy. Add the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.
  • Bring a large saucepan half-filled with lightly salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni or spaghetti, stir and cook until just tender. Strain into a colander and rinse under cold water.
  • Return the macaroni or spaghetti to the saucepan, pour in the tahiniyeh and mix thoroughly.
  • This dish can be eaten hot or cold.

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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Vegetarian Dishes of the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian from publisher Grub Street. Photography by Mr and Mrs NotLeafy. 

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2 Comments to "Syrian Pasta with Garlic-Tahini Sauce | Macaroni bil Tarator"

  1. Sue Loewenbein

    This recipe sounds good, as does the book. I think you’ve miscalculated (or just mis-wrote) the Imperial measurement for the tahini, though. Just another thought – 5 tablespoons might be easier to measure too, than trying to transfer tahini into a measuring jug.


    I’ve just checked and google does show 75 ml = 1/8 pint.

    In the book the sauce is a sub-recipe and makes double the amount so it lists 150 ml and 1/4 pint of tahina paste. We have shared the amount needed for the pasta dish here.


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