This Asian salad dressing is a quick, easy, and healthy salad dressing recipe that really packs a flavor punch. Made with sesame oil, soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, honey, and a perfect blend of spices!
How many of us have the same old boring salad for lunch every day? I’m sure I’m not alone. Because of this, it’s been my mission to create the BEST salad dressing and vinaigrette recipes. Why? Because YOLO and ain’t nobody got time for boring salads.
I’ve made everything from a classic balsamic vinaigrette to a zesty chili lime salad dressing. All my salad dressings and vinaigrettes are quick, easy, made with simple ingredients, healthy, and PACKED with flavor.
Today, we’re making an Asian salad dressing and let me tell you, you’re going to want to drink this with a straw. 😉
How to make Asian salad dressing:
While most of my salad dressings and vinaigrettes, use a 1:1 oil to acid ratio (example: 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup lemon juice), today, I’m using a 1:2 oil to acid ratio. All that means is that we’re using 1/4 cup sesame oil and 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar. Some people will argue that the best oil to acid ratio is 2:1, but I find that that’s too oily. Bonus: using less oil and more acid keeps the calorie count lower.
To make this Asian salad dressing, you’ll place all the ingredients into a mason jar, seal it, then give it a good shake until it’s combined. If you don’t have a mason jar, you can use a tupperware container with a lid, or give just whisk everything together in a bowl.
Asian salad dressing ingredients:
You’ll find a lot of different Asian salad dressing recipes on the Internet, but I think I’ve made the PERFECT one. It’s a great balance of flavors . . . it’s tangy, it’s a little sweet, and it definitely packs a flavor punch. If you need to make this recipe gluten free and/or vegan, be sure to use tamari and maple syrup.
- Seasoned rice vinegar. I love using seasoned rice vinegar in Asian dishes. It has such a great tangy flavor and pairs so perfectly with the other Asian ingredients.
- Soy sauce. This adds an umami flavor and replaces any salt you’d need in a salad dressing. If you’re gluten free, tamari or coconut aminos would be a good substitute.
- Honey. All good salad dressings need a bit of sweetness to balance out the acid and salt. I chose honey in this recipe, because I think it pairs really well with the sesame oil. If you’re vegan, you could try to replace the honey with equal amounts maple syrup, agave, or brown sugar.
- Sesame oil. This is the MVP of this Asian salad dressing. It’s rich, it’s nutty, and it adds a really nice depth of flavor. I wouldn’t recommend replacing this with another oil, because then the vinaigrette would be greatly lacking in Asian flavor.
- Garlic powder. I love using garlic powder in dressings, because it dissolves nicely, so there’s no weird texture and hello garlic is life and tastes amazing.
- Ground ginger. Ginger is an essential flavor in this Asian dressing and rounds everything out. It’s a little spicy and remember, a little goes a long way.
- Red pepper flakes. We’ve got a little tang from the vinegar, salt from the soy sauce, sweetness from the honey . . . now we need a little heat! That’s where the red pepper flakes come in. If you’re not a fan of heat, just omit.
This vinaigrette is so well rounded in flavors from the tangy vinegar, savory soy sauce, sweet honey, and delicious combination of spices. It’s seriously one of my faves and I use it all the time!
Asian Salad Dressing Uses
As with all my salad dressings and vinaigrettes, this Asian salad dressing is so versatile. Often, I think people assume that dressings are limited to just being a salad topping, but you can get much more creative than that!
- Salads: the most obvious choice is using this dressing as, well, a salad dressing! I love this drizzled over a salad made with romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, bell peppers, chopped peanuts, and green onion. Throw on some chicken for a heartier meal!
- Marinades: I absolutely LOVE using dressings and vinaigrettes as marinades for chicken. Place this dressing in a ziplock baggie with some raw chicken breasts and let marinade all day in the fridge. Bake, grill, or cook on the stovetop and you’ve got some seriously flavorful chicken. I bet other meats like pork or turkey would be delicious, too.
- Pasta salad: Throw this dressing in a bowl with cooked noodles, your favorite veggies, and some crunchy chow mein noodles for an Asian twist on a classic dish.
How many calories are in Asian sesame dressing?
The whole recipe makes 1 1/2 cups or 24 tablespoons and has 35 calories per tablespoon. This is a GREAT lower calorie option for a salad dressing. Store bought dressing are often much higher in calories. I also love knowing exactly what ingredients are my dressing! Plus, you probably already have most of these ingredients on hand already.
How long does this dressing last?
All salad dressings and vinaigrettes should be kept in a sealed air tight container in the fridge. This particular dressing will stay fresh for up to a week when stored properly. You may find that this dressing separates or even thickens in the fridge. To solve this problem, simply place the dressing at room temperature 30 minutes prior to using, then shake until it’s recombined.
Substitutions for Asian salad dressing:
As with any recipe, feel free to make this your own! Whether you’re vegan, gluten free, or simply don’t have something on hand, here are my best recommendations for ingredient substitutions.
- Seasoned rice vinegar. There really isn’t a great substitution for this vinegar. If you’re in a real pinch, you could try apple cider vinegar, but I’d start with 1/2 the amount listed, as I find other vinegars to be more potent than the seasoned rice vinegar.
- Soy sauce. Use coconut aminos or tamari to make this gluten free or if you don’t have soy sauce on hand. Any of those options should produce similar results.
- Honey. If you’re vegan or don’t like the taste of honey, brown sugar or maple syrup are a great substitute! Agave would even work. All of them will give this salad dressing a nice, rich sweetness that goes really well with the tangy vinegar and savory soy sauce.
- Sesame oil. You want to use sesame oil for the best flavor. It’s rich and nutty unlike any other oil. You could try using a neutral flavored oil like canola oil or even a light flavored extra virgin olive oil, although you’re not going to achieve the same results.
- Garlic powder. I like using garlic powder, because I always have it on hand and I like that is dissolves into the dressing. If you prefer, you can use fresh garlic, but be sure to mince it really finely to get the best texture. Nobody wants big chunks of garlic in their smooth vinaigrette! If using fresh garlic, I’d recommend using 1-2 cloves.
- Ground ginger. I like using ginger powder, because I always have it on hand and I like that is dissolves into the dressing. If you prefer, you can use fresh ginger, but be sure to grate it with a microplane to achieve the best texture. Big chunks of ginger are off putting in a dressing and would be really spicy if you bit down on a chunk. If using fresh ginger, I’d recommend starting with 1/2 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger and adding more to taste. If you’re using fresh ginger, store it in the freezer to make it last longer!
- Red pepper flakes. If you think the level of heat will be too much, simply omit! If you’d prefer to not use red pepper flakes, sriracha would be an awesome substitute. I’d recommend starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more to taste.
Other salad dressing and vinaigrette recipes:
Like I said, who’s got time for boring salad lunches? Be sure to check out these other salad dressings and vinaigrettes to really make your lunch pack a major flavor punch!
- Greek salad dressing
- Homemade Italian dressing
- Easy peanut sauce <– thin it out a bit with water to make it more drizzle-able, if necessary!
Quick, easy, packed with flavor, and so versatile. Lunch just got a whole lot more interesting.
What other salad dressings do you need? Show Me the Yummy!
Asian Salad Dressing
- 1/2 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce use tamari or coconut aminos to make gluten free
- 1/4 cup honey use agave, brown sugar, or maple syrup to make vegan
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Place vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic powder, ground ginger, and red pepper flakes into a mason jar, blender, or food processor.
- Seal and shake or blend until well combined.
- Taste and re-season if necessary.
- Use immediately.
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.