This easy vegan Japanese style sesame dressing is inspired by a Japanese dish that I always order when I eat out in a Japanese restaurant, called Gomae ( Sesame Spinach Salad) It's a simple dish of ground sesame seeds, mixed with some soy sauce & vinegar or citrus, which then dresses the spinach salad. It's SO yummy, and every place I've had it, has made it slightly differently.
Years ago my lovely Japanese flatmate Manri, taught me how to make it the way she grew up eating it, by grinding the sesame seeds in a special pestle & mortar. Sadly, that was years ago, and I no longer have that nifty little mortar & pestle (mine is a huge cumbersome thing, which is great for bashing stuff, not so good to bring out on a whim) ... However recently when making some greens, I thought, hang on.. tahini is ground up sesame seeds. Why can't I cheat a little to make a similar dressing by using tahini & speed up the process a bit.
You see I love tahini sauce. I use it quite a bit when making dressing such as my favourite addictive vegan version of Caesar salad dressing, or simply mixed with lemon & a dash of cumin to drizzle over almost anything. However the simple addition of some good quality soya sauce (or tamari sauce) sends this delicious flavour off to Japan, where sesame is widely used in all kinds of food!
Obviously you could use this delicious Gomae style dressing over the classic spinach, but it is also utterly delicious drizzled on all kinds of salads, includingmy suggestion of this delicious & hearty roasted squash and kale salad.
Even better, this salad can be made ahead & the dressing drizzled over at the last minute, which makes it a great meal-prep idea to take along for a work lunch.
Alternatively, the dressing is also delicious swooshed through (or over) kale or broccoli as it's being cooked. It kind of catches into all the florets or nooks & crannies and creates a delicious savoury sauce. Yum!
Whether you just make the slightly cheaty version of Gomae Sesame dressing, or make the full winter salad, I really hope you love it as much as I do!
Easy Japanese Gomae Style Sesame Dressing with Winter Salad
For the Gomae Tahini Dressing
- 3 Tbsp tahini
- Juice half lemon
- 1 Tbsp soya sauce (or tamari) tamari is gluten free soy sauce
- ½ tsp agave or maple syrup
- 2-3 Tbsp warm water enough to thin the dressing
For the Salad
- 1 small acorn squash or other flavourful squash
- 2 large handfuls kale
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tin chickpeas drained
- 1 tsp soya sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp vinegar I used chinese black vinegar, a mellow vinegar is best.
For the Salad
- Cut the squash in half, gloss with 1 Tbsp oil & season with some salt (small squashes don't need their skin removed, it's quite edible. If using a larger squash, cut into large cubes & skin)
- Roast the squash on a roasting tray in a 200c oven for around half an hour, until squishy & slightly charred.
- At the same time, toss the chickpeas in the other half of the oil, soya sauce & vinegar.
- Add the chickpeas to a roasting tray and roast for 20-30 mins until slightly crispy & golden.
- Roughly chop the kale, and steam lightly for 3-4 mins until it softens & becomes a bright green colour.
For the Gomae Tahini Sauce
- In a jar, shake all the ingredients together. Add more water if it looks a bit gloopy.
- Let the squash & chickpeas cool to room temperature.
- Lay the salad ingredients on a plate & drizzle over the gomae dressing.
- You will have dressing left over, it can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.