This low-acid salad dressing is inspired by Asian flavors of ginger and sesame. A sesame tahini base and fresh grated ginger make for a delicious creamy dressing that is perfect on fresh salads.
If you follow a low acid diet, be cure to check out my no tomato, low acid pasta sauce for a sauce that will remind you of a marinara and my low acid zucchini ginger soup and tomato free, low acid BBQ sauce.
Yogurt adds a little tang to this dressing too. I am mostly dairy-free, so I use a plant-based version. My favorite one is Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt.
If you need one that is a little lower in fat, Ccoco Yo and Silk Soy Yogurt are good options. If you want a non-fat option, your best choice is a non-fat dairy yogurt.
Whichever brand or type of yogurt you use, be sure that it is unsweetened. If you use a Greek yogurt, reduce the amount to 1/4 cup and add one tablespoon of water.
Tahini is a creamy ingredient that is made from sesame seeds. Different brands of tahini vary widely in consistency. Some are more thin and pourable and others are more like a nut butter. My favorite one is Trader Joe’s Organic Tahini.
Since I am a gluten-free chef, I am sometimes asked about which foods have gluten. I answer the question “Is tahini gluten-free?” as well as questions about many other foods.
Warm water is included in the recipe to thin it to a dressing. If your tahini is closer to nut butter texture, you may need to add more water to thin it out. Because extra water will also dilute the other flavors, you may need to add some extra salt, grated ginger and/or sweetener. Add just a pinch or two at a time, and taste as you go.
Without the acid in most salad dressings, ginger is a strong sweet and pungent substitute that gives this dressing POP. Grated fresh ginger is the best way to get that pop. Use a microplane (essentially a super fine grater) to make the ginger disappear into the dressing. Here is my quick tutorial and video on How to Use Fresh Ginger.
Just a teaspoon of sweetener is used in this recipe. It helps to bring out the flavor of the other ingredients and balances the pungent ginger. I prefer agave, but any other sweetener will do the job.
And finally, salt brings it all together. Salt is an amazing, satisfying flavor enhancer. I give a range of 1/2-1 teaspoon so that you can make the dressing to your preference.
So after all the other ingredients are whisked together, add 1/2 teaspoon and taste. Is the dressing a flavorful? Do all the flavors pop? If not, add another 1/4 teaspoon, stir and taste again. You should notice a little difference. If you like the flavor, you’re done! If not, add more salt a little at a time until you are satisfied.
Chopped chives add another layer of flavor to this dressing, but are optional. I know that some on a low-acid diet avoid all onions. If you tolerate chives, I highly recommend adding.
Here are some lower-acid salads that are perfect for this dressing:
- Butter lettuce, cucumber, avocado and mango
- Red leaf lettuce, steamed green beans, shaved brussels sprouts and toasted slivered almonds
- Roasted eggplant, zucchini and carrots with chopped walnuts
Other Uses for this Dressing
Salad dressing is essentially a sauce, and isn’t limited to just salads. So this dressing can be used on many more dishes. Here are some suggestions.
Heat the sauce 20 seconds in the microwave or on the stove top in a small pot and pour over grilled chicken, salmon, swordfish.
Or bring a little extra interest to rice quinoa or even pasta. Heat the sauce and toss with rice, quinoa or any kind of pasta.
Low Acid Salad Dressing with Tahini and Ginger
- ⅓ c plain unsweetened yogurt, plant-based is ok*
- 3 Tbsp warm water
- 3 tb sesame tahini
- 1½ tsp agave or other sweetener
- ½ tsp packed, grated fresh ginger, or more if you want strong ginger flavor
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp finely chopped chives (optional)
- Place all of the ingredients, except the salt and chives, in a small mixing bowl. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth.
- If it's too thick, beat in another 2-3 teaspoons of warm water.
- Stir in the chopped chives, if using.
- Stir in ½ tsp of the salt. Taste. Add more, a few pinches at a time if needed.
- This dressing should be stored in the refrigerator and will stay fresh for at least a week. If it gets too thick once chilled, heat it in the microwave for 10 seconds to loosen the consistency.