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Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce

This Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce has so many uses. I like to use it in stir-fries and even to just season a bowl of rice. It can even be used as a dipping sauce or marinade. More recently, I found out it makes a great salad dressing as well.

sweet ginger sauce in asian bowl with soup spoon

Sauces are a delicious accompaniment to many Asian-inspired dishes, but they are usually loaded with lots of sweeteners and preservatives in prepackaged bottles on shelves. I had trouble buying them for years after reading disappointing nutritional and ingredient labels. That’s why I came up with this delicious version that happens to be oil-free, gluten-free, and vegan.

sweet ginger sauce in asian bowl with bowls of rice in background

You’ll love this sweet ginger sauce because it’s…

  • Full of flavor
  • Savory
  • Salty
  • Great as a marinade
  • Perfect for dipping
  • Makes great stir-fries

Ingredients in this versatile vegan sauce

Making your own sauces is really quite simple and, once you’ve made them from scratch, you will be much happier serving them knowing you’re eliminating all the extra added junk.  The taste of the homemade stuff really trumps the bottled stuff anyway!

  • sesame seeds
  • tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • minced garlic
  • fresh ginger root
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • honey or agave

How to make sweet ginger sesame sauce

In only a few minutes, this sauce can be ready to use in stir-fries, on pasta dishes, as a marinade, or even drizzled over salad.

Begin by toasting sesame seeds by placing them in a dry frying pan and heating on medium-high heat for just a few minutes. They will begin to turn a golden brown and start popping up out of the pan. Do not leave the pan unattended because it will burn quickly.

sesame seeds browning in frying pan

Once the seeds are lightly browned, remove them from the heat and pour them into a small mixing bowl.

Next, peel and grate fresh ginger root. Though ground ginger can be substituted in this recipe, I feel that fresh ginger is what really makes the taste pop.

ginger root on cutting board with piece being grated in background

Sometimes, I actually freeze whole unpeeled ginger pieces in a freezer bag to keep it on hand for dishes like this one. It’s so nice to always have it ready to pull out and defrost quickly.

cutting board with ginger, garlic, and green onions

Mince up the garlic. Personally, I like to use a garlic press for this. I used to mince my garlic up with a knife or just use the store-bought jar variety. However, over time, I realized that using a press brings out the best and freshest flavor in recipes.

Add all the ingredients to the bowl with the toasted sesame seeds and whisk everything together well.

sweet ginger sauce with sesame seeds in clear bowl with whisk

Your sweet ginger sauce questions answered:

  • Q: Do I have to toast the sesame seeds? Yes, toasting the seeds brings out the flavor. If you don’t toast them first, you’ll really miss out on it.
  • Q: Can I leave the tahini out? You can if you want to, but I personally feel that this sauce really needs that extra nutty flavor to be perfect.
  • Q: Can I use dry ground ginger instead of fresh? Yes, dry will work too, especially if you aren’t a fan of a stronger ginger flavor.

*Originally published December 2014.

Sauce recipe adapted from mydarlingvegan.com

overhead shot of bowl of asian sweet ginger sauce

Other great sauces to try

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sweet ginger sauce in asian bowl with soup spoon

Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This sweet ginger sesame sauce has so many uses. I like to use it in stir-fries and even to just season a bowl of rice. It can even be used as a dipping sauce or marinade. More recently, I found out it makes a great salad dressing as well.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Begin by toasting some sesame seeds by placing them in a dry frying pan and heating on medium-high heat for just a few minutes. They will begin to turn a golden brown and start popping up out of the pan. Do not leave the pan unattended because it will burn quickly.
  2. Once the seeds are lightly browned, remove them from the heat and pour them into a small mixing bowl.
  3. Next, peel and grate fresh ginger root. Though ground ginger can be substituted in this recipe, I feel that fresh ginger is what really makes the taste pop.
  4. Mince the garlic. Personally, I like to use a garlic press for this. I used to mince my garlic up with a knife or just use the store-bought jar variety. However, over time, I realized that using a press brings out the best and freshest flavor in recipes.
  5. Add all the ingredients to the bowl with the toasted sesame seeds and whisk everything together well.

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 435mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 2g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

Did you make this recipe?

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sweet ginger sauce photo collage for pinterest
sweet ginger sauce photo collage for pinterest

How to Cook With Tofu - Center for Nutrition Studies

Friday 14th of June 2019

[…] One of the most common complaints about tofu is its bland flavor. I happen to think that is one of its best attributes, because a good marinade can infuse it with flavor from the inside-out. I consider it a blank canvas for whatever combinations I happen to dream up. Some great options would be barbecue sauce, Stir-Fry Sauce, or Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce. […]

Louise Cyr

Thursday 30th of August 2018

Left out the oil also and used a bit of Tahini. So tasteful, So good. Thank you, we will eat more Tofu!

EatPlant-Based.com

Friday 31st of August 2018

That's terrific to hear! So glad that you enjoyed the recipe. We love tofu too!

Cynthia Pfeffer Koerber

Monday 12th of June 2017

This sauce rocks! This will definitely be a staple in my house now. I used it to marinate tofu (set it aside), and stir-fried some broccoli and carrots. Then, I added the tofu back to the pan and topped everything with the sauce. So delicious!

Jo-Ellen Litle

Thursday 26th of November 2015

I left out the oil and tahini. It is delicious!!

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