Goma dressing with roasted carrots and asparagus is the easiest and best Japanese dressing and salad combination out there. This simple sesame seed dressing is an amazing and delicious flavor combination.
Goma dressing is a Japanese sesame sauce that is so good, you'll want to put it on everything. (Naturally vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free)
This goma dressing recipe is the star of "Gomae", the Japanese salad of steamed spinach with sweet and salty goma sauce on top. Often used with other vegetables too, my favorite local Japanese restaurant, Wasabiya, makes this into a Japanese asparagus recipe in spring and I order it every time.
Goma dressing lends itself well to many cooked vegetables because the sesame seeds grind into a creamy, umami rich texture that nicely coats cooked spinach and other heavier veg but it is equally at home on raw salads too. You can use this as an easy dipping sauce for grilled fresh tuna, chicken and veggies too.
It pairs well with Roasted Miso Glazed Salmon, Air Fryer Ribeye Steaks and Chirashi Sushi Bowl (aka Chirashizushi as well as other grilled or roasted veggies or chicken. For a vegan meal, try Wild Mushroom Lentil Stew served with these roasted carrots and asparagus with goma dressing on the side. So vibrant and yummy!
This recipe tastes complex but uses only these few, simple ingredients. Mirin is the only unusual ingredient here and I will discuss why to use it and what you can substitute if you aren't able to get it.
Many recipes include Japanese mayonnaise but that is not traditional and I do not include it in my recipe. (Mixing this with a few tablespoons of kewpie mayo and some chopped green onions would make a delicious sandwich spread though.)
- Sesame Seeds - The star of our goma dressing, make sure you start with plain white sesame seeds and then toast them. Toasting the whole sesame seeds is key to this Asian sesame dressing, giving a rich, earthy flavor while still tasting fresh and bright.
- Soy Sauce - Soy sauce adds the salty component as well as more rich, umami flavor. A little goes a long way but it is an essential ingredient in this sesame salad dressing.
- Mirin - Mirin is Japanese rice wine that is medium sweet. You can find it at a liquor store and often at the grocery store. The grocery store version may not be as pure but it works well in recipes, just not for drinking 😉
See recipe card for quantities.
This recipe is so simple and fast. While your carrots and asparagus roast, you can make the goma dressing recipe. Done this way, you will have it on your table in just over 20 minutes!
Preheat oven to 375'F. Peel and trim carrots, cutting into sticks that are approximately ½" x 5" or similar thickness to your asparagus. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, spread on a baking sheet and put in oven for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim woody ends off asparagus and cut in half to match the length of the carrots. Toss with remaining tablespoon of oil and after carrots have roasted 10 minutes, add asparagus and roast 10 more minutes.
Add sesame seeds to a small pan and turn heat to medium. Toast, stirring or tossing frequently to prevent scorching.
Once they start to toast, they will toast fast. This will take approximately 3-4 minutes.
Pour toasted sesame seeds into mortar. No need to let these cool before beginning to grind them.
Grind seeds with the pestle until they are a coarse, floury texture, like this picture. *Alternatively, you can add these to a small food processor and pulse.*
Add in soy sauce and mirin.
Stir together until you have a creamy dressing.
Once veggies are done roasting, arrange carrots and asparagus on a serving platter or individual plates.
Top with goma dressing and serve, garnishing with extra sesame seeds, assorted greens or edible flowers if desired.
Expert Hints And Tips
-Be sure to toast the sesame seeds for real authentic and rich flavor.
-If you want your goma dressing thinner, you can add water 1 teaspoon at a time (don't add more than 2 tsp's or your sauce will be too diluted), until you reach desired consistency.
-You can use more or less soy and mirin to taste but add only a little at a time as these ingredients are very salty and sweet.
- Sweetener - Mirin is specific and can be hard to find. If you don't want to buy a bottle just for this, you can use a substitute with good results. My first choice for a sub is brown sugar. Use 1 tablespoon brown sugar to 1 teaspoon water and ½ teaspoon rice vinegar for each tablespoon of mirin. Alternately, you can use maple syrup. Use about ¾ the amount of syrup as you would mirin.
- Gluten Free - use gluten free soy sauce or tamari instead for a completely gluten free goma dressing.
- Spinach Gomae - Back to basics, using steamed and well drained spinach is super tasty. (Blanch in boiling water, drain and once cool enough, squeeze remaining water out with your hands.) Get creative if you've got greens growing and try cooked and cooled kale or chard too!
- Japanese Seafood or Sashimi Salad with Goma Dressing - Assorted greens, shredded daikon, sliced omelette and chunks of seafood are delicious topped with goma dressing then sprinkled with extra sesame seeds and a squish of lemon. Or try it on top of a Chirashi Sushi Bowl.
- Cold Noodle Salad - Drizzle a teaspoon of a neutral cooking oil over cooked, cold noodles and top with this delicious dressing. Add any vegetables as desired for a satisfying and super simple salad.
- Garlic Ginger Goma - Garlic and ginger pair naturally with these ingredients. Add one clove minced garlic and a half teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to the sesame dressing and stir well.
- Cold Salad - This recipe is equally delicious served cold as a salad, just like the original gomae. Simply let your roasted carrots and asparagus cool to room temperature or chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, pile them neatly in a bowl and top with the goma dressing. Alternatively, toss an Asian coleslaw mix with goma dressing for a high protein, low fat Asian slaw recipe.
This is made quickly and easily in a small mortar and pestle. It took me about 3 minutes to grind the sesame seeds to the desired creamy texture. It is not hard because the pestle is heavy and as you roll it around the mortar, it easily crushes and grinds the earthy flavored sesame seeds into a flavorful dressing.
If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can make this homemade dressing in a small food processor too.
In a pinch, you could even gently use the flat bottom of a sturdy mug to grind your sesames seeds.
Storage and Make Ahead
This is an easy, make-ahead recipe. Prepare the dressing and roast the carrots and asparagus 1-3 days in advance keeping separate and covered in the fridge. When ready to serve, let carrots, asparagus and goma dressing come back up to room temperature, then dress your veggies and serve. If you want the veggies warm, simply pop back in a 350' F oven for 10 minutes before dressing.
Leftover roasted vegetables can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days with great results. The vegetables will last safely for 5 days stored this way but the texture will start to deteriorate.
The goma dressing recipe will keep easily for a week (7 days) in the refrigerator. Because it is easy and fast, I have not tried freezing it though I think it would freeze well. If you've tried freezing goma sauce, let me know how well it lasts like this.
A fairly sweet Japanese rice wine, mirin gives excellent depth of flavor to many popular Japanese recipes. It adds sweetness, tartness and viscosity. Used in traditional goma dressing, it is also a staple ingredient in teriyaki, ramen broths, salad dressings, marinades and more.
It is available (often with salt added) in good grocery stores in the Asian section, in Japanese supermarkets and in most liquor stores.
If you are buying it to drink, be sure to get it at your local liquor or spirits shop. When buying it for cooking, the grocery store versions work great. (I use the Kikkoman version which is the easiest brand to locate where I live.)
Fresh asparagus will last 4 to 5 days, loosely wrapped in your crisper. To keep it longer, trim the bottom ends and keep them in a cup or vase with an inch of water in your fridge. Kept with ends in water, asparagus can keep well up to 2 weeks in optimal conditions.
In this recipe, I roasted the asparagus and carrots at 375'F because they are small and will roast through quickly. If you need to roast at 350'F, perhaps because you are using your oven for multiple dishes at the same time, you can just alter the time. Roast carrots at 350' for 30 minutes and the asparagus for 15-20 minutes. If your carrots are larger and thicker, or you want to roast them until they are browning more, you can roast them for up to 45 minutes. Don't roast your asparagus longer than 30 minutes or it will start to get mushy and charred.
Yes. With just sesame seeds, soy and mirin, this is an amazingly tasty and healthy vegan dressing.
This is a quick and easy recipe so using the best sweet new carrots, crisp asparagus and just freshly toasted sesame seeds makes all the difference.
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Roasted Carrots And Asparagus With Goma Dressing
- Mortar and Pestle or Food Processor
- 2 c Carrots
- 2 c Asparagus
- 2 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoon Sesame Seeds
- 4 teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoon Mirin Or 1.5 tablespoon brown sugar with 2 teaspoon water
Roast Carrots And Asparagus
- Preheat oven to 375'F. Peel and trim carrots, cutting into sticks that are approximately ½" x 5" or similar thickness to your asparagus. Toss with 1 tablespoon oil, spread on a baking sheet and put in oven for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, trim woody ends off asparagus and cut in half to match the length of the carrots. Toss with remaining tablespoon of oil and after carrots have roasted 10 minutes, add asparagus and roast 10 more minutes.
- Toast sesame seed in a small pan set over medium heat. Stir or toss frequently to prevent scorching. Once they start to toast, they will toast fast. This should take approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Pour toasted sesame seeds into mortar and start stirring and grinding them with the pestle. Alternatively, you can add these to a small food processor and pulse. Grind seeds until they are a coarse, floury texture.
- Add in soy sauce and mirin, stirring to combine. Goma recipe is finished but you can season to taste with a little extra sweet (mirin) or salty (soy) if desired.
- Arrange carrots and asparagus on a serving platter or individual plates. Top with goma dressing and serve, garnishing with extra sesame seeds, assorted greens or edible flowers if desired.