This 5-Minute Salad Dressing Will Make You Feel Like You’re in a Japanese Restaurant

You just need a few ingredients and a blender.<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

There was a tiny, cozy, darkly lit sushi restaurant down the street from where I lived growing up. We were regulars there, showing up at 5 p.m. every other Friday night to enjoy one of our favorite meals together.

We all loved the sushi, but the salad with the carrot-ginger dressing was one of our favorite things on the menu. There was something unique about its vibrant color and flavor. It was bright and punchy, and we sometimes requested a second helping.

If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant in America, then you’ve likely been treated to a salad served with carrot-ginger dressing. I say “treated” because, if you’re like me, you know that this salad is a delicious not-to-be-missed part of the meal.

The restaurant closed a few years ago, but my memories of that dressing remain. I’ve tried to recreate it several times, and I think I’ve finally come close to nailing the tart, sweet, and savory flavors.

What Is Carrot-Ginger Dressing?

Japanese restaurants in America often serve this salad as part of a first course, but it’s not traditionally Japanese. In Japan, they often serve otoshi, a type of small starter, which can be anything from edamame to pickled vegetables, for patrons to enjoy while the kitchen prepares the main dishes.

Namiko Hirasawa Chen, founder and creator of Just One Cookbook, believes that Japanese American restaurants adopted this custom because American restaurants often serve salad before the main dish. Chen adds that it’s a quick and easy “add” for restaurants since the salad uses “year-round ingredients, is easy to prepare, and suitable served at room temperature.”

While it’s possible to purchase a bottle of “carrot dressing” from gourmet grocery stores in Japan, says Chen, “the carrot ginger dressing commonly seen in Japanese American restaurants is different and isn’t as popular in Japan.”

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

Tips for Making Carrot-Ginger Dressing

  • To make it smooth: Chen recommends using a high-speed blender for the right smooth texture. If you don’t have one, she suggests using a large grater for the onion and carrots to help bring out their natural sweetness. Another option is to blanch the carrots to soften them before blending.
  • For a large blender: A larger blender requires more volume to work properly, so consider doubling the ingredients. You’ll want extra anyway since it’s so delicious and keeps in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Use fresh ginger: If your ginger is young and thin-skinned, there’s no need to peel it. Super fresh ginger works the best here anyway since it won’t leave stringy pieces in your dressing.
  • Use a neutral oil: You’ll want to taste the carrots, ginger, and soy but not the oil in the dressing, so make sure it’s neutral. If you don’t have grapeseed oil, avocado or vegetable oil will work.
  • Let it chill: This dressing is even better the next day, so if you have time, make it a day in advance.

How To Make My 5-Minute Carrot-Ginger Dressing

This recipe yields about 1 cup of dressing—enough for dinner for four, plus extra to keep in the refrigerator for lunch the next day. Proportionally scale the recipe up or down based on how much dressing you need.

You’ll need:

  • 2 green onions, white and light green parts only, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 medium carrots (about 4 ounces), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 2/3 cup avocado, grapeseed, or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Add all of the ingredients to a small to medium high-speed blender and process to the desired consistency. For a smoother dressing, process for at least 2 minutes.

For the best flavor, chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, stirring again before serving. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

<p>Simply Recipes / Sara Haas</p>

One thought on “This 5-Minute Salad Dressing Will Make You Feel Like You’re in a Japanese Restaurant

  1. Fantastic rhythm, please let me know when you make adjustments to your website so I may learn from you. How can I register with a blog website? I found the account to be really helpful. Although your broadcast gave me a clear and crisp knowledge of it, I was already partly aware of this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *