Home Food RECIPE: Everyday Onion Dressing

RECIPE: Everyday Onion Dressing

Makes about 1 cup of onion dressing
Cooking time 10 minutes plus 1 hour for soaking onion

Recipe and Article by Kanako Koizumi

Some people look very surprised when I tell them Japanese love to eat salads, even at breakfast. So it’s no wonder why so many salad dressing bottles often occupy an entire shelf at Japanese grocery stores.

Among hundreds of varieties, Wafu (Japanese-syle) dressing is one of the most popular flavors, perhaps because its main ingredient soy sauce goes well with other Japanese dishes. My encounter with a great Wafu dressing was at a prestigious restaurant called Nobu in New York back in 2002. My friend and I were struck by the rich and refreshing flavor of the dressing on a seared ahi tuna salad we ordered. I had to ask about the secret ingredients. The chef told me two things – grapeseed oil and grated onion.

Inspired by Nobu’s recipe, I have come up with my version called “everyday onion dressing”. Not to mention it’s great on salads, you can use it on sashimi or carpaccio, roast beef, steaks and quick pickles. I am a firm believer of homemade dressings because many commercial products contain extra sweeteners and additives. Give a try to this versatile, simply delicious dressing to replace one of the commercial bottles in your fridge door!


½ medium spring onion when available, or white onion
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. light flavored vinegar such as rice or apple cider
½  Tbsp. stone ground or Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1 tsp. ground white or black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder or minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
½ cup grapeseed or avocado oil
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


① Peel and halve the onion, and cut off the ends. Grate the onion using a grater or food processor. Soak grated onion in plenty of water for at least one hour. If using spring onion, the soaking step can be skipped.

② Strain grated onion through a fine mesh cheese cloth or paper towel and squeeze out excess water.

③ In a mixing bowl, combine well the soy sauce, vinegar, mustard, sugar (or honey), pepper, and garlic powder.

④ Add in the oil and whisk well.

⑤ Add in the grated onion and mix well.

⑥ Transfer the dressing into a glass jar and tighten the lid. Give the jar a good shake for about 10 seconds.

⑦ Store the jar in the fridge for up to 1 week.

⑧ Use the dressing on salads, seared seafood, or meat dishes. Enjoy!

Recipe by Kanako Koizumi |  www.kozmokitchen.com

Kanako, a native of Akita, Japan, is a chef, author and instructor focused on authentic Japanese homecooking. Chef Kanako also offers in-home private cooking classes for groups up to 12. You can reach her at info@kozmokitchen.com.