Quick Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade will breathe new life into your lunch routine. Packed with ginger and sesame, it’s fantastic on noodles, slaw or any salad you can dream up. And since it does triple duty as a marinade and dipping sauce, this recipe is a win-win-win.
My Asian Salad Dressing was made for Chinese Chicken Salad, but it's also great on Chicken Lettuce Wraps, served with Pot Stickers, or drizzled over Ahi Tuna. For more salad dressings that get your meals (and budgets) off to a healthy start, grab some olive oil and click here.
Can a salad dressing be exciting? Something you look forward to? Something made from mostly pantry ingredients with a few fresh flavors thrown in?
The answer is yes, and the answer is down below. My easy Asian Salad Dressing might just be your new favorite dressing (read the comments below and you'll see what I mean). Try it out yourself for your next weekday lunch or healthy dinner, especially on my favorite Chinese Chicken Salad.
Making Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade for a big party? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Asian Salad Dressing ingredients:
- Canola oil. Or any neutral oil, like grapeseed oil.
- Rice vinegar. Rice vinegar and rice wine vinegar are the same thing—a light slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice.
- Hoisin sauce. Aka Chinese barbecue sauce. A sweet and salty popular Chinese ingredient, sold by the bottle. Used in stir-frys and as a glaze for meat. Most store-bought hoisin sauce is made from fermented soybeans, chili, fennel, and garlic.
If you haven’t seen it at the store, chances are you weren’t looking hard enough; it’s almost always there.
- Soy sauce.
- Ginger. Fresh ginger root, please! Powdered ginger doesn't even come close. If you don't want to commit to a chunk of fresh ginger, don't worry. You can freeze fresh ginger and shave off what you need when you need it.
- Sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil is crucial. Just a little goes a long way.
- Finely chopped chives or scallions.
- Sesame seeds.
- Minced garlic.
- Peanut butter. Add a tablespoon for a creamier Asian Salad Dressing.
How to make Asian Salad Dressing:
This is truly a one-minute salad dressing, once you get your ingredients sourced.
- In a blender or in a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine all the ingredients and shake or process until smooth.
Hoisin sauce substitute:
Hoisin sauce, also know as Chinese barbecue sauce, is located in the Asian foods section of the grocery, near the oyster sauce and soy sauce.
However, here's a substitute for hoisin sauce, in case you can’t find it anywhere. Some recipes for homemade hoisin call for doubanjiang (a spicy chili bean paste) 5-spice powder, plum sauce, or miso (a Japanese fermented soybean paste) but if you can’t find hoisin sauce, you might not be able to find any of those ingredients. This recipe keeps it simple.
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
All you have to do is mix everything together. You might be left with extra homemade hoisin, so make more salad dressing.
How to use Asian Dressing as a marinade:
All you really have to do is add the dressing to the raw protein of your choice and let it think about things in the refrigerator for a few hours. A glass baking dish or zip-top bag is ideal for marinating.
For safety's sake, though, don't use any marinade that has come into contact with raw meat as a sauce. Discard it and use a fresh batch of dressing if you want it.
How long does Asian Salad Dressing keep?
This Asian dressing will keep for up to 4 days in your refrigerator. That gives you four glorious days of exciting food, unless you can't help yourself and you drink it with a straw in one sitting.
Making gluten-free ginger soy dressing:
Soy sauce still has gluten, so read your labels carefully if you're going GF. Look for La Choy or Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce, or make this dressing with coconut aminos or Bragg's liquid aminos.
Asian Salad Dressing variations:
- Miso. Switch out the hoisin for miso and a touch of honey to add some sweetness. Miso ginger Japanese salad dressing--try it on a chopped Asian salad with bok choy, Nappa cabbage, red peppers, scallions, and tofu.
- Peanut butter. Make a creamy Asian Salad dressing with peanut butter. Drizzle it over cold noodles with scallions and black sesame seeds.
- Spicy Asian Salad dressing. Add chili flakes or a teaspoon of chili paste (like Sambal Olek) to the dressing. Marinate chicken wings before blasting them in the oven.
- Honey. Turn the sweetness up by adding honey or maple syrup.
Asian Salad Dressing and Marinade Recipe
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine oil, vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Shake vigorously until combined. Or, combine all ingredients in a blender and process until uniformly combined.
- Allow flavors to blend at room for at least 30 minutes. Or, refrigerate for up to 4 days.