Toasted sesame seed dip

Contributed by Preston Maring, MD

Toasted sesame seed dip

The hospital-based farmers’ markets at more than 25 Kaiser Permanente facilities have shown that a market can be successful in a setting where a few thousand people gather on a daily basis.

We have learned that the markets have to be the right size for the number of people on-site and that the market is best located next to the normal foot traffic pathways. It’s hard to walk by a fresh peach in August or a bunch of asparagus in March without stopping to shop.

What would happen if we tried this at a non-hospital worksite? Kaiser Permanente has partnered with the Fremont Farmers’ Market Association to bring a farmers’ market to New United Motors in Fremont, California.

On the third birthday of the first hospital-based market, May 12th, the first auto factory farmers’ market will spring to life. NUMMI makes Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks and there are 4,300 employees on the day and swing shifts.

I don’t know what percentage of the workers already shop at other farmers’ markets or like to cook, but we hope that having the market next to the main entrance to their worksite will entice them. They, too, will be able to meet the people who grow their food.

Every season yields fresh vegetables that can be dipped, raw, or cooked. I first made this to use with roasted asparagus. My family members and I ended up using it on almost everything in the kitchen until it was gone.


  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 5 tablespoons low or nonfat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until golden brown, stirring often. It’s important to pay attention to this step as the seeds can go from golden to black very quickly. 
  2. As soon as they are done, empty them out of the hot skillet unto a plate.  
  3. If you have a mini-processor, grind the seeds, add the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth. You could also use a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon to crush the seeds in a small bowl. Another method to try might be smashing the seeds in a small plastic bag with the cooled skillet or a meat mallet. It doesn’t matter how fine the seeds are ground.
  4. I put seeds in last instead of first once and it still tasted great.

While I am reticent to recommend gadgets, I have found the mini-food processor I got as a gift to be very useful for this recipe, for grinding cumin seeds and making small amounts of breadcrumbs, etc.