This Asian-inspired peanut dressing works on everything from salads and grain bowls to noodles. Made with pantry staples – takes just 5 minutes.
Meal-prepping sauces and dressings is a gift to your future self. Whether you’re making salads, grain bowls, noodles, or roasted veg throughout the week, with a pre-made sauce waiting for you in the fridge, you’re halfway there.
It goes without saying that homemade sauces are exponentially better and healthier than store-bought, since you can control the quality of the ingredients and forgo any unnecessary oils, sugars, sodium, and preservatives. Best of all, they are always fresher and taste better, too.
This healthy peanut salad dressing is one I’ve had in my back pocket for years. It doesn’t require any special equipment (no blender/food processor) and comes together in 5 minutes.
What’s In This Peanut Salad Dressing
This vegan sauce consists of: peanut butter, lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, Thai curry paste (substitution ideas below), and fresh garlic and ginger. The flavor is inspired by the dip/sauce often served in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants; it’s nutty, slightly sweet, and has a nice kick from the fresh spices. I recommend using crunchy peanut butter here, since it lends a nice texture.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Peanut Butter: I strongly encourage you to use natural peanut butter (the only ingredient should be peanuts and [maybe] salt). Yes, it does require a good stir when you first open the jar but the extra work is 100% worth it. Natural peanut butter creates a rich-textured, extra-delicious sauce. Conventional peanut butter (like Jif, etc.) contains added oils that are terrible for you, as well as chemical stabilizers and unnecessary sugar.
- Lime Juice: Lemon juice works too.
- Rice Vinegar: This calls for seasoned rice vinegar, which has some salt and sugar added to it. If you don’t have any, skip it and compensate with extra citrus juice plus a tiny splash (~1/2 teaspoon) of maple syrup/honey.
- Thai Curry Paste: This red chili paste is spicy, floral, and packed with flavor. If you don’t have any, sub with a squirt of any hot sauce you have – or skip altogether.
- Garlic and Ginger: Use fresh! The dried versions won’t do here. Use a microplane if you have one, to grate these – or mince finely.
Combine Everything: In a medium bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and mix. I recommend a sauce whisk; if you don’t have one, use a dinner fork instead of a full-size whisk. The sauce will seem lumpy at first, but just keep stirring and it’ll eventually come together into a thick paste.
Add Water: Measure out your water in a measuring cup and add about half. Whisk until the water is incorporated and gradually add more water as needed, until your desired consistency is reached. (If using as a dip, aim for the thicker side; if using as a dressing, use a bit more water.)
Ways to Use This Peanut Dressing
This homemade sauce is incredibly versatile and lasts for up to 10 days in the fridge. Use it on…
More Asian-inspired dishes…
- Vegan Sushi Bowls with Shiitakes and Edamame
- Tofu Kimchi Stew
- Massaman Vegetable Curry
- Soba Noodle Bowl with Tofu
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.Print
Thai-inspired peanut dressing for salads, grain bowls, noodles, etc.
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter, stirred well
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar* (see note below)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 2 to 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, to taste (or any hot sauce)*
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed, grated or minced
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup water
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients from peanut butter through garlic and mix with a sauce whisk or dinner fork. The sauce will seem lumpy at first, but keep stirring and it’ll come together into a thick paste.
- Add about 3 tablespoons of the water and whisk until incorporated. Gradually add more water as needed, until your desired consistency is reached. (If using as a dip, aim for the thicker side; if using as a dressing, use a bit more water.)
- Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 10 days.
- Seasoned rice vinegar has some salt and sugar added to it. If you don’t have any, skip it and compensate with extra citrus juice plus a tiny splash (~1/2 teaspoon) of maple syrup/honey.
- Curry paste can be pretty spicy so adjust the amount to your own tolerance level. If you don’t have curry paste, sub with a squirt of any hot sauce, or skip altogether.
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 105
- Sodium: 116 mg
- Fat: 8.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.2 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 5.1 g
Keywords: easy, homemade, peanut butter, sauce