This Japanese carrot ginger dressing recipe is the light bright salad dressing you love in Japanese restaurants. It’s a healthy dressing for all your spring salads!
the secret to refreshing Japanese restaurant salads
The green salads you get at Japanese restaurants are super simple, but so delicious and refreshing. What’s the secret? The dressing! Japanese carrot ginger dressing is made with just a few healthy ingredients and minimal oil, it’s unlike any other dressing I’ve ever had. It’s the key to why those simple Japanese salads are so irresistible. I’ve always wanted to recreate them at home, and now I can.
is this Japanese salad dressing authentic?
This salad is not something you’d be served in Japan, but it has become a staple of Japanese American restaurants, where it’s served on a super simple salad of iceberg lettuce with maybe carrots, or cucumbers. This dressing could be use, however, on an authentic Japanese salad like Sunomono, or cucumber salad.
ingredients you’ll need
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of dressing and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. This dressing goes well with a variety of salads and can also be used as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu.
- grated carrots
- fresh spring carrots are best. Don’t bother using bagged shredded carrots, they’re not fresh and juicy enough for this dressing.
- grated ginger
- I highly recommend grating a fresh knob of ginger. Jars of pre-grated ginger are fine for some recipes, but for a fresh dressing you really need fresh ginger.
- rice vinegar
- rice vinegar, aka rice wine vinegar, is wonderful for salad dressings because it’s milder and mellower than other vinegars.
- soy sauce
- toasted sesame oil
- toasted sesame oil is different from regular sesame oil, and has a much richer, roasted flavor. It’s one of my favorite condiments!
how to make Japanese carrot ginger dressing
step 1. finely grate the carrots and ginger
Do this on the fine side of a box grater.
step 2. load everything in a small food processor or blender
Because dressings are usually made in small batches, a small or mini food processor works best. If you want to use your Vitamix or other high speed blender you may want to double the recipe to have more volume for the machine to work properly.
step. 3 blend
This dressing is meant to have a chunky, ‘textured’ consistency. You can, if you prefer, blend it smooth, but you will need a high speed blender to do that. I think the dressing is best when it has a little texture.
what to expect with this dressing
Japanese carrot ginger dressing typically does not emulsify, it doesn’t contain a high enough ratio of oil to vinegar or other liquid ingredients. This is a light, low fat dressing and so it will naturally separate as it sits, just give it a stir before using.
storing your carrot ginger dressing
The dressing will keep for a week in the fridge.
is carrot ginger dressing healthy?
Yes, it is, it’s made of mostly raw carrots and ginger, with very little oil. It solves that annoying issue of a fat-laden dressing ruining the health benefits of your salad. If you’re dieting, trying to reduce fats, or just want a more refreshing salad experience, this dressing is ideal.
can I make this dressing with miso?
Yes, add a tablespoon of mild white miso to the mixture before blending. Miso adds a complex umami flavor to the dressing. Miso contains probiotics and enzymes that can be good for gut health and digestion and will make this dressing even healthier!
Japanese carrot ginger dressing is a versatile condiment
Here are a few ideas for other ways to use it:
- As a dip: Japanese carrot ginger dressing can be used as a low calorie dip for raw veggies and crudité platters.
- As a marinade: Japanese carrot ginger dressing can infuse fish or chicken with flavor and tenderize it. Coat your protein in the dressing and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
- As a sauce: Use Japanese carrot ginger dressing as a sauce for stir-fries or noodle dishes.
- As a topping: Drizzle Japanese carrot ginger dressing over grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or grain bowls. It can also be used as a topping for sushi rolls or sushi bowls. I think it would be wonderful drizzled over grilled asparagus.
- Dress salads like Ramen Salad or Snap Pea Salad.
more dressings from scratch
Japanese Carrot Ginger Dressing
- In a blender or food processor, add the grated carrots, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and water and blend until everything is pureed, but still has some texture.
- Taste the dressing and adjust the ingredients or seasonings as needed. Pour the dressing into a jar or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Your dressing will keep a week in the refrigerator.