Shittake Mushroom and Sesame Seed Vinaigrette |

Back in the day, before I significantly tightened my food eating standards, there was a bottled salad dressing made with shiitake mushrooms and sesame seeds that I really enjoyed on occasion. I was recently reminded of this dressing and decided to have a go at making a version at home. What’s great about this vinaigrette is that it has so much personality on its own that you really don’t need to have a lot of salad components to create an enjoyable dish. In fact, we usually eat it with not much more than pulled leftover chicken on a bed of greens.

Shiitake Mushroom and Sesame Vinaigrette

Makes about 1 cup


  • 3 medium dried shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Kalamata olives, pitted*
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds


  1. Place mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with ½ cup boiling water. Let soak for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small, dry, skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds. Stir the seeds often, until they are a light golden color. Set aside.
  3. Place softened mushrooms in blender with all of the soaking water. Add cider vinegar and Kalamata olives. Blend until solids are well chopped and a consistent mixture is formed.
  4. Add the sesame oil, olive oil, and salt. Blend until just combined.
  5. Stir the toasted sesame seeds in by hand.

* The Kalamata olives are, in spirit, a replacement for soy sauce. I think the pungent flavor and saltiness  of the olives are a good fit. However, I would typically have tried using coconut aminos as my first go-to alternative but did not have any on hand. If you want to go this route instead of the olives, I’d first start with one or two teaspoons of coconut aminos, tasting between each addition.

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