This homemade Sesame Ginger salad dressing is the bomb! I absolutely love this Asian-style dressing. It all stems back to when I used to work at a restaurant called Stanley’s my first year in Los Angeles. It was a local’s joint just down the street the from where I used to live in Sherman Oaks.
Occasionally, we’d get a star sighting! This was exciting for me having moved from Georgia. Vanna White used to always come in. I also waited on Felicity, errr, I mean Keri Russell and I remember waiting on Christine Taylor before Ben Stiller and her were a thing. Oh, and the dude from the Gap ad at the time. I don’t know if you remember those iconic Gap ads at the time, but this was a cool thing!
Stanley’s of Sherman Oaks famous Chinese Chicken Salad
Like I said, it was a local’s place…but the real star in the restaurant was not the aforementioned entertainers, it was Stanley’s Homemade Chinese Chicken Salad. People would flock to Stanley’s to get this salad. I’m telling you, it was a big deal!
It seemed like 7 out of 10 lunch orders were the Chinese Chicken Salad. Crisp iceberg lettuce with purple cabbage, shredded chicken, mandarin oranges, crispy Chow Mein noodles, sesame seeds and some green onions served in a huge (and heavy) wide open white bowl. This salad was a hit! What people really loved was the salad dressing that went on top. I cannot tell you how many requests I would get for an extra to-go of the Asian salad dressing that went on that salad…and sometimes they didn’t even order the salad. Ha!
It was different than the other Asian dressings I had tasted. It wasn’t thick or overly garlicky or soy sauce laden. It was light in color, fresh in taste. A little sweet, a little tangy and a bit nutty from the sesame oil…so good.
While I may have taken home a to-go ramekin or two (or three) of this superstar salad dressing myself, I never got the official recipe. But as I am prone to do, I love trying to recreate the recipes of dishes I love at restaurants. I could have probably just asked for the recipe…but at the time, it didn’t occur to me. I was more than content with my little ramekin full.
I am happy to report that, while this may not be the official Stanley’s Chinese Chicken Salad salad dressing, it is pretty darn close and it will definitely give you the same satisfaction!
A Salad Dressing as Fresh as the Lettuce or Cabbage
The thing I love about this salad dressing is that it is not heavy. If I were to describe it in one word it would be: VIBRANT! It lightens up any Asian-style salad. Of course, it is great on a Chinese Chicken Salad or any lettuce-based salad for which you want a little Asian-inspired kick. It’s a nice break from the traditional vinaigrette.
It’s also great on a cabbage-based Asian salad or those great salads that are just a mix of a ton of vegetables like pea pod, broccoli and carrots.
I think what makes this salad dressing so memorable is the toasted sesame oil. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have sesame oil on a regular basis. So, when I do, it’s something special that makes me wonder why I don’t have it more often. It has a nutty flavor, very smooth and hint smoky. I see it as the grown-up, mature big brother to all other oils. It is refined. There is nothing like it. It will give anything that you add it to a distinct flavor.
Because it is so flavorful, though, a little goes a long way. So in addition to the Toasted Sesame Oil, we add some olive oil to round out the taste. Add a few sesame seeds for good measure and you are set!
Ginger: The Movie Star
If you remember Gilligan’s Island, you remember Ginger: the iconic movie star. Well, starring along side the Toasted Sesame Oil in this hit is Ginger. This is the root kind though. I am actually using Ground Ginger because it is convenient and it gives this dressing a really mild, yet zesty bite. When using the ground ginger, the longer the dressing sits, the more you’ll be able to taste the full potential and zestiness of the ginger.
If you are so inclined, by all means, you can also grate fresh ginger into the salad dressing instead. Which, if you are using fresh ginger, you probably already know that the easiest way to peel it is with a regular spoon. Works like a charm.
I hope you try making this dressing…especially if you’re someone who finds themselves always going back to the same salad dressing. Mix it up a little bit…and this Sesame Ginger Salad dressing is a great way to do it!
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette (Asian Salad Dressing)
SO WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED IS:
- Add Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, and Seasoned Rice Vinegar Salad Dressing Mixing Jar
- Add remaining ingredients (Ground Ginger, Garlic Powder, Sesame Seeds, Salt, Pepper and Soy Sauce)
- Put the top on and shake like crazy!