Fresh greens and juicy orange slices are tossed on a creamy carrot ginger dressing to create this healthy and refreshing Japanese-inspired salad.
If you go out to a Japanese restaurant for dinner and order a salad, it will probably look and taste something like this. The salad I regularly get at my favorite local Japanese place certainly does, as did many a salad I’ve eaten out at various sushi and hibachi joints over the years. I’ve been wanting to make the dressing at home for a while now. I love that it’s light and flavorful, and being made from carrots and ginger it’s almost like a salad in and of itself. I could eat it with a spoon. Okay, I did eat it with a spoon. Just a few spoonfuls…not a meal or anything.
I made an attempt at Japanese-style carrot ginger dressing last year that almost got me fired from my job. At least in my head it did. I was spending my lunch break surfing the food pages of the internet, as I often did at that job, when I decided to seek out a carrot-ginger dressing recipe. Anyway, I don’t know what page it was that I clicked on, but soon after clicking, my computer screen went blank. A bit of panic ensued and our tech guy later diagnosed my computer with a virus. I can only assume it came from the salad dressing page I’d clicked on, but I’m not very techy, so what do I know?
Anyway, after that I got a little scared of trying again. I didn’t know exactly what was in the dressing and I certainly didn’t want to do anymore internet surfing on the topic. This last weekend we got some Japanese takeout, and upon eating the salad I decided to give it a go, on my own. The result: the dressing turned out better than anything I’d ever had from a restaurant!
The ginger gives the dressing a perfect little bite, but it’s still light and refreshing. This recipe really is all about the dressing I gave you guys a simple salad recipe, but you could really go any direction as far as the veggies are concerned. It’s like a choose-your-own adventure salad recipe. Get creative with your salad. Bean sprouts, cucumbers, crispy tofu, radishes…all this stuff would be delicious.
Japanese Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
For the Dressing
- 2 medium carrots
- 2- inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into a few chunks
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon agave or sweetener of choice, optional—you might not need it if your carrots are sweet
For the Salad
- 8 cups salad greens, I used a baby lettuce mix
- 1 large orange or 2 mandarins, peeled and broken into chunks
- About 15 cherry tomatoes
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 scallions, chopped
- Sesame seeds
- Place the carrots, ginger, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and sweetener, if using, into food processor and process until a thick paste forms. Stop to scrape the bowl down, and then continue running the food processor, drizzling in a few tablespoons of water if necessary. This is a thick dressing with some texture to it, so it won’t get completely smooth.
- Divide greens among salad bowls and top with the dressing, followed by the oranges, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and scallions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.