Recipe Review

The “Perfect” Salad Dressing I’ve Been Making for Almost a Decade (No Other Recipe Compares!)

published May 24, 2024
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Soy Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
Credit: Lauren Miyashiro

As a recipe developer, I cook my way through hundreds of new recipes each year. Some of those recipes, like these peanut butter cookies and this one-pot lemon pasta with asparagus and chicken, become instant favorites. Seven years ago, I cross-tested a recipe that I haven’t stopped thinking about or making since. The recipe was a funny little post about making a no-knife-needed dinner, and while the combination of peeler-prepped vegetables was clever, crunchy, and perfect for summer, it was the soy lime vinaigrette hidden within that recipe that stole my heart.  

What Makes This Soy Lime Vinaigrette So Good

This vinaigrette has a bright and well-balanced flavor that’s perfect for sides and main dishes alike. Fresh lime juice gives just the right amount of citrusy punch, while grated ginger and garlic plus the chili garlic paste add varying levels of savory heat. Meanwhile, soy sauce (or tamari if you need a gluten-free option) and toasted sesame oil are important for the umami flavor. The finishing touch is honey to balance everything out and add some body to the vinaigrette. 

In addition to tossing the vinaigrette with ribbons of vegetables, I use the vinaigrette as a dipping sauce for homemade potstickers or store-bought dumplings. I also turn to it for marinating shrimp before grilling (it’s also great with chicken). You can toss crunchy vegetables like sugar snap peas with the dressing or make a slaw with shredded green cabbage and chopped peanuts.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Make This Soy Lime Vinaigrette 

  1. Grate ginger and garlic. Peel fresh ginger and remove the papery skin from a clove of garlic. Use a Microplane to finely grate them into a jar.
  2. Squeeze limes. Often I’ll zest the lime first (even though it’s not written in the recipe), then squeeze the limes with a citrus juicer until there are about 2 tablespoons of juice. Add the juice to the jar.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and shake. Add olive oil, soy sauce or tamari, honey, toasted sesame oil, and sambal oelek or chili-garlic paste to the jar. Twist on the lid and shake until emulsified.

If You’re Making This Soy Lime Vinaigrette, A Few Tips 

  • Double it! I bet you’ll love this vinaigrette as much as I do, so go ahead and double the recipe the first time you make it. Store the vinaigrette in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Use frozen ginger and garlic cubes. Look for cubes of grated frozen garlic and ginger in the freezer section of your grocery store. Once the cubes thaw, shake with the rest of the vinaigrette ingredients — no chopping required. I don’t recommend using powdered ginger or garlic as it doesn’t provide the same flavor as fresh.
  • Swap out the sweeteners. If you’ve squeezed the last out of your honey bear, don’t fret. Use the same amount of maple syrup, brown sugar, or other sweetener to balance the vinaigrette.