This creamy sesame dressing combines sesame oil and tahini for a tangy and sweet salad dressing, that mixes up in just 5 minutes.
Tahini is what gives this dressing its creamy texture. Tahini Is the sesame seed version of peanut butter and can vary in its thickness. Be sure to stir the tahini in the jar before measuring out. The oil tends to settle at the top and the more solid parts end up at the bottom so it’s best to incorporate it evenly. Also if your tahini is stored in the refrigerator, warm it up just a little bit so that it mixes in well with the other ingredients.
Toasted sesame oil gives a strong pop of sesame flavor. Be sure to use toasted sesame oil as non-toasted is mostly flavorless. When you open the bottle of toasted sesame oil you’ll understand – it is wonderfully aromatic.
Lime is a great flavor pairing with sesame. Some fresh lime juice gives this dressing a little bit of tang. Rice vinegar provides a little more tangy flavor.
Coconut aminos adds some wonderful umami flavor. If you haven’t used it before, coconut aminos is like a milder flavored, less salty version of soy sauce. It is also gluten-free. Like soy sauce, it is fermented but with a base of coconut. I prefer it over soy sauce which I find way too overpowering. You can find coconut aminos in the Asian section of most grocery stores.
A hint of onion flavor is a great addition to salad dressing. Granulated onion (aka onion granules) is the easiest way to get onion flavor into the dressing. If you don’t have granulated or granules, use half the amount of onion powder.
Finally a sweet element and salt bring all the other flavors together. I like to use a liquid sweetener like agave because it incorporates very easily. Maple syrup or honey would work as well.
How to Balance Flavors
I am a big believer in my readers making my recipes and adjusting the flavors to their preference. I’m not the type of chef who believes my way is the only way. So so mix up the recipe as is and taste. Here’s some guidance on balancing flavors.
- Is it a little blah or is it missing something you can’t quite identify? Maybe it needs a couple of pinches of salt or a teaspoon of sweetener.
- Do you want it a little sweeter? Add more sweetener a teaspoon at a time.
- Do you prefer it more sour? Add more lime juice or vinegar.
- Too sour? Add more sesame oil or sweetener.
Here are 3 Asian inspired salads that are perfect with this dressing.
- Combine 2 c broccoli slaw, ¼ cup chopped green onion, ½ cup bean sprouts and ½ cup sliced sugar snap peas. Toss with the dressing and top with toasted sliced almonds.
- Combine 3 c chopped Napa cabbage, ½ c matchstick sliced cucumber and red bell pepper, ½ c sliced water chestnuts. Toss with the dressing and top with chopped green onion.
- Combine 3 c chopped baby bok choy, ½ c shaved red cabbage, ½ c shredded carrots and 1½ c shredded grilled chicken breast. Toss with the dressing and top with minced red onion.
Easy, Homemade Creamy Sesame Dressing
- ¼ c lime juice – 2-3 limes
- ¼ c rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos
- 2 Tbsp +1 Tsp agave or other sweetener agave syrup substitute
- 1 tsp granulated onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- ½ c tahini
- ⅓ c sesame oil
- 1-2 Tbsp water
- Be sure to stir the jar of tahini before using. If it has been refirgerated, heat the amount needed for 10-15 in the microwave in a glass or ceramic bowl, then stir thoroughly with a butter knife.
- This recipe can be mixed up by hand with a wire whisk, with an immersion blender or in the blender.
- Place the vinegar, lime juice, coconut aminos, sweetener, granulated onion and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl or the blender.
- Beat thoroughly to combine.
- Add the tahini and sesame oil and beat until the mixture turns creamy. At first it will be watery and lumpy – keep going and it will thicken and smooth out.
- If you are satisfied with the thickness you're done! If it's too thick add 1 tablespoon water and beat in. Add another tablespoon if needed.
- Taste. Feel free to adjust the flavor to your preference. Is it a little blah or is it missing something you can't quite identify? Maybe it needs a couple of pinches of salt or a teaspoon of sweetener. Do you want it a little sweeter? Add more sweetener a half teaspoon at a time. Do you prefer it more sour? Add more lime juice or vinegar.Too sour? Add more sesame oil or sweetener.
- This dressing can stay at room temperature for a day or two, then refrigerate. It will thicken when chilled so either remove from the fridge an hour ahead or heat in the microwave for 15 seconds.