Japanese Sesame Salad Dressing Recipe

Sesame seeds and oil
Meike Bergmann/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings
Ratings (30)

Here's a great recipe for a soy sauce-based salad dressing flavored with sesame oil that doesn't use mayonnaise. Sesame salad dressing is very popular in Japan and is sometimes known as ​goma dressing. Goma means sesame in Japanese, and sesame seeds have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Shiro goma is unhulled white sesame seed, muki goma is hulled white seed and kuro goma is black sesame seed. Goma abura is sesame seed oil. All four products are available in Asian markets. This recipe calls for shiro goma and goma abura.

Historically, the sesame seed is the first recorded seasoning, dating back to 3000 B.C. Assyria. It grows widely in India and throughout the Orient. 

Many prefer the mayo-based goma recipes even though they have more calories than this soy sauce-based dressing. There are fewer calories without mayo, making it a healthier choice. The vinegar taste in this dressing is more pronounced and it might be too sour for many. If you prefer a creamier, sweeter dressing, add 2 tablespoons of Japanese or high-quality mayonnaise. If you'd like it creamier but don't want the mayo, put the mixture in a blender for 15-30 seconds.

Sesame dressing, of course, goes very well with a green salad, but it’s also great on thinly sliced beef or pork, garnished with cucumber. You may also like this dressing on steamed vegetables or on cold noodles.

This recipe calls for toasting and grinding your own sesame seeds for maximum sesame flavor. However, you can also use ground sesame seeds. As you experiment, you may also consider adding:

  • 1/2 cup of virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. of mirin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic

You will find a lot of bottled sesame dressings at Japanese supermarkets, but it is very easy to make at home. You can keep the dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.

What You'll Need

  • 2-3 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp roasted white sesame seeds

How to Make It

  1. Put sesame seeds in a frying pan and toast them on low heat. When 2-3 sesame seeds start popping, remove from the heat.
  2. Grind the toasted sesame seeds with a motor and pestle until smooth.
  3. Mix rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl.
  4. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk everything together. Drizzle on top of a simple salad of ice burg lettuce topped with tomatoes, boiled eggs, wakame, and corn.