Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe That Will Make Your Salad More Tantalizing

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Craft a Benihana salad dressing recipe that brings a zesty flair to your greens. This sought-after recipe blends ginger notes with a tangy vinegar hint, finished with a subtle sweetness. It’s excellent for invigorating any salad. Fresh ingredients promise a vibrant taste, making it a top pick for enhancing your meals. Prepare this dressing at home for a delightful twist to your usual salads. It’s a simple solution for a gourmet touch.

Are you tired of mundane salads? I remember when I first tasted the zest of Benihana salad dressing; it transformed my leafy dishes from bland to brilliant.

This sought-after concoction can elevate a simple bowl of greens to an exciting dining experience.

Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe

My journey with this dressing began on a whim, seeking to mimic the unforgettable flavors of a Benihana restaurant visit.

The tangy ginger and subtle sweetness danced on my palate, turning what was once a chore — eating my vegetables — into a moment I looked forward to. 

I found myself whisking together the few yet precise ingredients, each contributing to a harmonious blend that promises a burst of flavor with every bite.

Embrace the opportunity to enhance your salads. I share a dressing that’s not just about taste but an expression of culinary joy

This is your turn to bring that iconic Benihana magic to your dining table.

What Is Benihana Salad Dressing?

The Benihana salad dressing recipe is a delightful mix of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onion, sugar, and vinegar. You’ll typically find a splash of lemon juice and a dash of tomato paste for a tangy kick. 

To prepare, one must blend these ingredients until smooth, then slowly incorporate vegetable oil for a creamy emulsion. This dressing is excellent for adding a robust and savory flavor to any salad. 

What Is The Origin Of Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe? 

The origin of Benihana salad dressing recipes dates back to the 1960s with the establishment of the first Benihana restaurant in New York City.

The restaurant founded by Hiroaki “Rocky” Aoki aimed to offer an American audience an authentic Japanese hibachi dining experience. 

The signature salad dressing, a tangy blend of traditional Japanese ingredients, quickly became a sought-after favorite.

Its unique flavor results from adapting Japanese culinary traditions to suit a Western palate.

What Is The Origin Of Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe? 

Ingredients List

Peanut oil½ cup
Onion (chopped)½ cup
Rice wine vinegar¼ cup
Water¼ cup
Ginger (chopped)2 tbsp
Celery (chopped)2 tbsp
Soy sauce2 tbsp
Ketchup1 tbsp
Sugar2 tsp
Lemon juice2 tsp
Salt and pepperTo taste

What Are The Cultural & Traditional Variations Of Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

The Benihana salad dressing, rooted in Japanese culinary traditions, sees variations like adding wasabi for a spicy kick, yuzu for a citrus twist, or using tamari for a gluten-free option. Western adaptations might include olive oil or herbs like basil for a fusion twist, reflecting diverse culinary influences.

Japanese Influence

Traditional recipes may use tamari instead of soy sauce for a richer, less salty flavor.

Regional Adaptations

Some might add a hint of wasabi or yuzu juice for a distinctive Japanese regional taste.

Health-Conscious Versions

Replacements like agave for sugar or low-sodium soy sauce for health-conscious consumers.

Vegan Alternatives

Use agave instead of sugar and ensure ketchup and soy sauce are vegan-friendly.

Western Twists

Incorporation of olive oil instead of peanut oil for a more Mediterranean profile.

Spicy Takes

Addition of sriracha or chili flakes for a spicy kick.

Sweet Variants

Honey or maple syrup can be used as sweeteners for a different kind of sweetness.

Herbal Notes

Some may add fresh herbs like cilantro or basil for a fresh, herby flavor.

What Herbs And Spices Work Well In Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

  • Garlic Powder: Adds a mild, savory undertone that doesn’t overpower the ginger.
  • Sesame Seeds: Introduce a nutty taste and a subtle crunch, enhancing texture.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Provide a spicy kick contrasting the dressing’s sweetness.
  • Paprika: Offers a sweet-peppery flavor, adding depth and color.
  • Coriander: Contributes a citrusy, slightly sweet flavor that compliments the tanginess of the vinegar.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro lends a bright, lemony, and slightly peppery note.
  • Parsley: Brings a fresh, slightly peppery touch that can brighten the flavors.
  • Chives: Impart a mild oniony taste, less intense than raw onions.
Herbs And Spices Work Well In Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe

Recipe Directions

  • Blend the Base: In a blender, combine the chopped onion, fresh ginger, and chopped celery. Blend until the mixture is roughly chopped and combined.
  • Add Liquids: Pour the rice wine vinegar, water, soy sauce, lemon juice, and ketchup into the blender. Add the sugar, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper.
  • Emulsify the Dressing: Slowly drizzle in the peanut oil with the blender running on a low setting. This will help the oil to emulsify correctly, ensuring your dressing is creamy and well-incorporated.
  • Taste and Adjust: Give the dressing a taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Rest for Flavors to Meld (Optional): For the best flavor, transfer the dressing to a container and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. This step allows the flavors to meld and intensify.
  • Serve: Shake or stir the dressing well before drizzling over your favorite salad. It’s particularly delightful on a simple iceberg lettuce or mixed green salad.
  • Store: Keep any leftover dressing in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake well before each use, as the ingredients may separate upon standing.
Spices Work Well In Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe

What Are Some Popular Salad Recipes That Feature Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

  • Benihana Ginger Salad: A simple bed of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, and red cabbage, dressed with Benihana ginger salad dressing and garnished with sliced cucumber and cherry tomatoes.
  • Asian Cucumber Salad: Thinly sliced cucumbers and red onions seasoned with salt and a splash of Benihana dressing for a quick pickled effect.
  • Avocado Salad: Slices of creamy avocado and mixed greens tossed with the ginger dressing, topped with sesame seeds.
  • Seared Tuna Salad: Greens topped with seared ahi tuna, drizzled with ginger dressing, and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and scallions.
  • Soba Noodle Salad: Cold soba noodles, edamame, shredded carrots, and bell peppers, all tossed with ginger dressing for a hearty, flavorful dish.
  • Grilled Chicken Salad: A warm salad with grilled chicken strips laid on a bed of mixed greens and drizzled with zesty dressing.
  • Crab Salad: Imitation crab or real crab meat mixed with diced celery, a touch of mayonnaise, and a generous Benihana dressing for a refreshing seafood salad.

A culinary delight, Benihana’s dressing transforms simple greens into an exotic salad adventure, brimming with bold flavors and freshness.

Does This Dressing Recipe Use Blending Or Whisking?

This Benihana salad dressing recipe uses the blending technique.

The process involves combining ingredients like chopped onion, ginger, and celery with liquids such as soy sauce, vinegar, and lemon juice in a blender. 

The peanut oil is then emulsified into the mixture as the blender runs, creating a creamy and homogenous dressing.

Blending not only ensures a smooth consistency but also helps fully integrate the fresh ingredients’ flavors.

Popular Salad Recipes That Feature Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe

Can We Use Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe As Marinade, Dip, Or Sauce?

Yes, the Benihana salad dressing recipe is quite versatile and can certainly be used as a marinade, dip, or sauce:

  • As a Marinade: The combination of soy sauce, ginger, and garlic makes it excellent for infusing flavor into meats like chicken, pork, or beef before cooking. The acidic components like vinegar and lemon juice help tenderize the meat.
  • As a Dip: It can be served as is or slightly thickened with a bit more ketchup or tomato paste for a zesty dipping sauce. It is excellent for dumplings, spring rolls, or vegetables.
  • As a Sauce: Drizzle it over cooked vegetables, rice dishes, or noodles to add a savory and slightly sweet flavor. It can enhance stir-fries or be used as a dressing for Asian-style taco fillings.

What Are The Typical Flavor Enhancers Used In This Recipe?

Fresh Ginger

Offers a warm, spicy kick that is a hallmark of the dressing’s flavor.

Soy Sauce

Provides a salty and umami depth to the overall taste.

Lemon Juice

Adds a bright, citrus note for freshness and zest.


Balances the acidity with its sweetness.


Contributes a tangy sweetness and a hint of tomato depth.

Rice Wine Vinegar

Introduces a mellow acidity that rounds out the flavors.

Onion and Celery

When blended into the dressing, these vegetables add a subtle aromatic quality.

Salt and Pepper

Essential seasonings that enhance and bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.

Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe As Marinade, Dip, Or Sauce

What Is The Difference Between Homemade And Store-Bought Dressings?

  • Freshness: Homemade dressings are typically fresher since you make them before consumption, using fresh ingredients without preservatives.
  • Flavor: Homemade dressings often have a more vibrant, robust flavor profile, as you can adjust the ingredients to suit your taste preferences.
  • Ingredients Control: When you make dressings at home, you control the quality and type of ingredients, allowing for healthier choices and the exclusion of additives.
  • Preservatives and Additives: Store-bought dressings frequently contain preservatives, stabilizers, and artificial flavorings to extend shelf life and maintain consistency, which are absent in homemade versions.
  • Nutritional Value: Homemade dressings can be more nutritious, as they lack the extra sugars, salts, and fats often added to commercial dressings.
  • Customization: Homemade dressings offer the flexibility to tweak recipes, catering to dietary restrictions or specific nutritional goals.
  • Cost: Depending on the ingredients used, homemade dressings can be more cost-effective in the long run, particularly if you make them with staples from your pantry.

How To Up-Scale Or Downscale The Dressing Recipe?

  • Decide on the New Quantity: Determine the total volume of dressing you need. This could be based on the number of servings or the container size you want to fill.
  • Calculate Proportions: Use a simple ratio to increase or decrease each ingredient. For example, if you want to double the recipe, multiply the quantity of each ingredient by two. If you want to make half the amount, multiply by 0.5.
  • Mix Accurately: Measure your ingredients carefully, especially when dealing with spices and seasonings, as small variations can significantly affect the taste.
  • Blending in Batches: If up-scaling results in a volume exceeding your blender’s capacity, blend the ingredients in batches and mix everything thoroughly in a large bowl.
  • Taste and Adjust: After scaling the recipe, taste the dressing and adjust the seasoning if needed. Sometimes, certain flavors may become more pronounced when scaling up, and you might need to tweak a bit.
  • Storage: If you make a larger quantity, ensure adequate storage containers. Remember that homemade dressings lack the preservatives in store-bought versions, so they should be consumed within a week and stored in the refrigerator.
Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe As Marinade

Nutritional Values

This Benihana-inspired ginger salad dressing is rich in flavor with moderate calories.

A single serving provides a mix of healthy fats from peanut oil, minimal protein, and carbohydrates primarily from sugar and vegetables.

It’s low in cholesterol and can be adapted for lower sodium intake.

What Are The Total Calories In Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

To calculate the total calories in the Benihana salad dressing recipe, we would need to add up the caloric content of each ingredient based on their respective quantities.

All the ingredients give approximately 1091 calories for the entire batch of dressing.

 If the dressing makes about 1 ½ cups, and assuming a serving size of 2 tablespoons, the entire batch would yield around 12 servings, equating to approximately 91 calories per serving.

Benihana’s dressing masterfully combines ginger’s zing with soy sauce’s depth, turning salads into a symphony of flavors.

What Are The Dietary Restrictions Of The Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

  • Gluten-Free: Soy sauce traditionally contains wheat. Use a gluten-free tamari or soy sauce alternative.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The recipe is suitable for vegetarians as it contains no animal products and is vegan-friendly.
  • Nut Allergies: Peanut oil could be an issue for those with nut allergies. Substitute with a neutral oil like canola or vegetable oil.
  • Low-Sodium: Soy sauce is high in sodium. Opt for a low-sodium soy sauce to reduce the salt content.
  • Low-Sugar/Diabetic: The sugar in the recipe can be a concern. Consider using a sugar substitute or reducing the amount.
  • Tomato Allergies: Ketchup is a minor ingredient necessary for the flavor profile. For tomato allergies, you might need to experiment with substitutes that mimic its tanginess and sweetness.

Nutrition Table

Dietary Restrictions Of The Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe

How Can Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe Contribute To A Balanced Diet?

  • Healthy Fats: Made with peanut oil, it provides healthy fats essential for nutrient absorption and cell health.
  • Low in Cholesterol: With no animal-derived ingredients, it’s cholesterol-free, supporting heart health.
  • Flavorful Vegetables Intake: The tasty dressing can encourage the consumption of raw vegetables in salads, increasing one’s intake of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Portion Control: When used in moderation, it adds flavor without significantly increasing calorie intake.
  • Antioxidant Properties: Ingredients like ginger and onion offer antioxidant benefits.

How Can You Substitute Ingredients For Healthier Options?

  • Oil: Replace peanut oil with olive oil or avocado oil to boost monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for heart health.
  • Soy Sauce: Use a low-sodium soy sauce or tamari to reduce the sodium content without compromising the umami flavor.
  • Sweetener: Instead of sugar, use a natural sweetener like honey or pure maple syrup or a sugar alternative like stevia for a lower glycemic index.
  • Ketchup: Look for a low-sugar or organic ketchup to decrease the sugar and avoid high fructose corn syrup.
  • Rice Wine Vinegar: Choose an unseasoned variety to avoid added sugars and salts.
  • Salt: Use Himalayan pink salt or sea salt, which can offer trace minerals and may be processed less than table salt. Use sparingly.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is preferable over bottled for the best taste and no added preservatives.
Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe Contribute To A Balanced Diet

Tips For Storing & Dressing

Storing the Benihana Salad Dressing

  • Airtight Container: Use a glass jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid to keep the dressing fresh and prevent it from absorbing odors from the fridge.
  • Refrigeration: Always store the dressing in the refrigerator. Homemade dressings, lacking preservatives, are more susceptible to spoilage.
  • Shake Well: The ingredients may separate over time. Shake the container well before each use to recombine them.
  • Use Quickly: Consume the dressing within a week for optimal freshness and safety, as homemade dressings can spoil faster than commercial varieties.
  • Avoid Contamination: Use clean utensils when serving the dressing to prevent introducing bacteria into the mixture.

Using the Benihana Salad Dressing

  • Portion Control: Start with a small amount of dressing and add more as needed. This approach helps prevent overdressing the salad, which can make it soggy and overly caloric.
  • Room Temperature: Take the dressing out of the fridge a bit before using it to allow it to come to room temperature, enhancing its flavor and making it easier to pour.
  • Toss Evenly: Pour the dressing along the sides of the bowl containing the salad, not directly on the leaves, and then toss gently for an even coating.
  • Pair Wisely: Since the dressing has a distinct flavor profile, pair it with salads that compliment ginger and soy sauce, such as greens, shredded carrots, and cucumbers.

Tips For Adjusting Flavors And Consistency

Adjusting the Flavor

  • Sweetness: If the dressing is too tart, add more sugar or your preferred sweetener. If it’s too sweet, balance it with an extra vinegar or lemon juice splash.
  • Savoriness: Increase the soy sauce slightly if you desire a more umami-rich profile. However, be mindful of the added sodium.
  • Tanginess: Adjust the level of tang by altering the amount of rice wine vinegar. More vinegar will enhance the tang, while less will mellow it.
  • Spiciness: Add extra ginger or a small amount of minced garlic or chili for more heat. For less spice, reduce the ginger slightly.
  • Saltiness: To decrease saltiness, dilute with more oil and vinegar or water. Add a pinch of salt or a bit more soy sauce for more salt.

Adjusting the Consistency

  • Thicker Dressing: If you prefer a thicker consistency, add a small amount of Dijon mustard or mayonnaise, emulsifying and thickening the dressing. You can also blend in fresh or roasted garlic, naturally thickening the mixture.
  • Thinner Dressing: To thin out the dressing, simply whisk in more water or additional rice wine vinegar until you reach the desired consistency.

How Long Can You Keep Homemade Salad Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

Homemade Benihana salad dressing typically lasts about 5 to 7 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.

The freshness of the ingredients can also affect its shelf life, so it’s always better to use the dressing sooner rather than later for the best quality and taste. 

Always check for any signs of spoilage, such as an off smell, discoloration, or mold growth, before use, and discard if any of these signs are present.

Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe A Balanced Diet

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Blender or Food Processor: Essential for combining all ingredients into a smooth, emulsified dressing.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurately measuring ingredients.
  • Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping onion, ginger, and celery.
  • Spatula or Spoon: To scrape the sides of the blender or food processor, ensuring all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Glass Jar or Dressing Bottle: For storing the dressing in the refrigerator.
  • Citrus Juicer (optional): Fresh lemons can help extract the maximum amount of juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Substitute For Peanut Oil In The Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe?

Yes, you can use other oils like canola, vegetables, or sesame oil. Olive oil or avocado oil are good options if you’re looking for a healthier alternative. Each oil can slightly change the flavor profile, so choose one that suits your taste preference.

Is The Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe Gluten-Free?

The recipe can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari. Always check the labels on your ingredients to ensure they do not contain gluten or are not processed in a facility with gluten-containing products.

How Long Will The Homemade Benihana Salad Dressing Last In The Refrigerator?

When stored properly in an airtight container, the dressing should last up to 7 days in the refrigerator. Always check for signs of spoilage, like an off-smell or mold, before using.

Can This Dressing Be Used As A Marinade For Meat Or Fish?

Yes, the Benihana salad dressing makes a great marinade due to its acidic components and flavorful ingredients like ginger and soy sauce, which help tenderize and infuse meat with flavor.

What Can I Do If My Dressing Is Too Thick Or Too Thin?

If your dressing is too thick, you can thin it by whisking in water or additional vinegar until you reach the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, try blending in a small amount of mustard or mayonnaise to thicken it.

Benihana Salad Dressing Recipe That Will Make Your Salad More Tantalizing

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Dressings


Prep time




Ferment/Rest Time



Savor the zesty allure of homemade Benihana salad dressing, a blend of fresh ginger, tangy rice vinegar, and a hint of sweetness.


  • ½ cup ½ Peanut Oil

  • ½ cup ½ Onion (chopped)

  • ¼ cup ¼ Rice Wine Vinegar

  • ¼ cup ¼ Water

  • 2 tbsp 2 Fresh Ginger (chopped)

  • 2 tbsp 2 Celery (chopped)

  • 2 tbsp 2 Soy Sauce

  • 1 tbsp 1 Ketchup

  • 2 tsp 2 Sugar

  • 2 tsp 2 Lemon Juice

  • To taste Salt and pepper

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Prepare Ingredients
    Peel and roughly chop the fresh ginger.
    Peel and coarsely chop the onion.
    Wash and chop the celery into small pieces.
  • Blending
    Combine the chopped onion, ginger, and celery in the blender or bowl of a food processor.
    Pour the rice wine vinegar, water, soy sauce, and ketchup.
    Add the sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Puree the Mixture
    Secure the lid on the blender or food processor.
    Pulse a few times to start breaking down the larger pieces.
    Blend quickly until the mixture becomes a smooth puree, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Emulsify with Oil
    Slowly drizzle in the peanut oil with the blender or processor running at a lower speed.
    Continue to blend until the oil is fully incorporated and the dressing has thickened, indicating emulsification.
  • Taste and Adjust
    Stop the blender and taste the dressing.
    Adjust salt, pepper, or lemon juice according to your preference.
  • Chill Before Serving
    Pour the dressing into a glass jar or dressing bottle.
    Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving, allowing the flavors to meld.
  • Serving
    Shake or stir the dressing well before drizzling over your salad.
    Toss the salad gently to coat the leaves evenly with the dressing.

Recipe Video


  • Fresh ginger imparts the most vibrant flavor; powdered ginger is not recommended.
  • For a gluten-free version, ensure that the soy sauce is gluten-free.
  • The dressing’s flavor develops over time; consider making it a day ahead.
  • Leftover dressing must be stored in the refrigerator and is best used within a week.

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