Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing

Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing
Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing

We have always been fans of sashimi, crudo, or raw fish recipes. And we love exploring different applications for a crudo-style seafood dish. In this case, a beautiful slightly seared ahi tuna steak encrusted with sesame seeds over a vibrant salad. Enjoying seared ahi as a meal on its own is great as well, especially with a nice dipping sauce (see this recipe for Seared Ahi with Spicy Dipping Sauce). But, this Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing makes a nice tasty appetizer or dinner salad when you want something fresh, healthy and delicious!

Cilantro Ginger Lime Salad Dressing

The Cilantro Ginger Lime dressing is honestly great for any salad, but it especially works with this sesame crusted tuna. Not only that, it is also so easy to make!

One ingredient that we use is a minced ginger paste. You can of course mince your own ginger, but we love this jar of Minced Ginger for this recipe instead. There are many minced ginger and ginger paste products out there that are easily accessible. So there really is no need to mess with fresh ginger if you don’t want to. If you are near an Asian grocery store, you will be able to find many different choices like the one we linked above. Everything else in this dressing is very easy to find, so making this will be a breeze.

Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad
The Cilantro Ginger Lime salad dressing is delicious with the Sesame Crusted Ahi, or great on any salad!

Finding Good Ahi Tuna

For this recipe you want to find a good quality piece of ahi tuna. Because you are essentially eating raw fish, you want to be very confident that the fish you are buying is safe to eat. Try to find “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade” products. There is no actual federal grading agency for this, so proceed with caution and buy your fish from a source that you trust.

We like the brand Hawaiian Select, which is packaged and stored as a frozen Ahi Tuna Saku Block. We find it here in Houston at Central Market. If you are buying straight from your fish monger, ask how fresh the fish is and try to avoid pre-cut pieces that have been sitting in the open air ice boxes to limit the amount of bacteria on the surface of the fish.

Searing the Sesame Crusted Ahi

Searing the fish in this application is a little tricky, but if you don’t accidentally remove the sesame seed crust from the fish, everything will be fine. A fish spatula comes in handy when flipping the tuna from one side to the other.

Cilantro Ginger Lime Salad Dressing over Seared Ahi
We like to serve this Sesame Crusted Ahi with extra dressing on the side!

We like the tuna cooked rare like this so it is lightly seared and raw in the middle. If you prefer a deeper sear, be sure to lower the heat just a bit and cook the fish longer so the sesame seeds do not burn.

The other small technique that seems a little insignificant, but is not, is the use of just a little soy sauce to marinate the fish. We didn’t want a soy-based dressing, but soy sauce works perfectly for seasoning the tuna in a subtle way giving it a little something special.

Building You Salad

As far as the salad, we prefer to add what is listed in the ingredients section, but there really are no rules when it comes to making your own salad. Use what you like and what you have and let the fish be the superstar here.

When building your salad, make sure you toss everything in some of the dressing so that it is coated, then lay your sliced ahi on top. We like to serve the salad with additional dressing on the side in case your guests want a bit more drizzled over the top like we do!


We hope that you enjoy this recipe for Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!

Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing
Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing

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Sesame Crusted Ahi Salad with Cilantro Ginger Lime Dressing

5 from 2 votes
Course: Appetizers, Salads, DinnerCuisine: Asian-inspiredDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



This recipe can be made as 4 smaller salad or appetizer course servings, or 2 large dinner course servings.
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  • For the Dressing
  • ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves

  • 2 Tbsp 2 minced ginger puree

  • 3 Tbsp 3 lime juice

  • 3 Tbsp 3 rice wine vinegar

  • ½ tsp dry mustard

  • 1 tsp 1 Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp 1 kosher salt

  • ½ tsp black pepper

  • 7 Tbsp 7 neutral oil (such as grapeseed, avocado, canola, or vegetable)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 toasted sesame oil

  • For the Sesame Crusted Ahi
  • 1 1 Saku Block of Ahi Tuna (about 12-14 oz)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 soy sauce

  • 2 tsp 2 + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, divided

  • 1 tsp 1 kosher salt

  • 3 Tbsp 3 toasted sesame seeds

  • For the Salad
  • 4 cups 4 greens of your choice

  • ¼ cup bell pepper strips

  • ¼ cup daikon (or jicama) matchsticks

  • ¼ cup thinly sliced matchstick carrots

  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves

  • ½ small cucumber, sliced thin

  • Garnish
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

  • Sliced green onions


  • Prepare the Dressing
  • Add everything except the oils to a blender and thoroughly blend. Then, add the oils slowly while blending until you have an emulsification. Set aside.
  • Prepare the Ahi Tuna
  • Dry the tuna with a paper towel and place it on a plate. Coat with the soy sauce on both sides and let the fish rest in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and pat the excess soy sauce off the fish. Brush the fish with 2 tsp oil and sprinkle with salt. On a dry surface, press the toasted sesame seeds into both sides of the fish.
  • Heat a cast iron or heavy skillet on medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of oil until the oil just starts to smoke. Cook the fish for 60 seconds per side, being careful when you flip the fish to not remove the sesame seed coating. Remove the fish to a cutting board, and with a sharp knife, slice the tuna into about ¼” slices. Serve over the dressed salad with extra dressing on the side.

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