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 Japanese carrot ginger 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.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Carrots. These are the base for our Japanese salad dressing. Choose very fresh, sweet carrots if you can.
- Vegetable oil. Any neutral oil will work. Avocado oil, corn oil, and canola oil are all good options.
- Rice vinegar. Look for this in the international aisle of the supermarket.
- Soy sauce. Need to keep this salad gluten-free? Substitute gluten-free tamari or liquid aminos.
- Agave. This helps balance the acidity of the dressing. You can skip it if your carrots are very sweet, or if you just prefer to avoid added sugar.
- Salad greens. Use what you like! I used a mix of baby lettuces, but any variety of lettuce will work, as well as other greens like baby spinach.
- Orange. Use one large orange or a couple of mandarins.
- Cherry tomatoes.
- Toasted sesame seeds.
How It's Made
To make the dressing, simply place all of the dressing ingredients into a food processor bowl: carrot, onion, ginger, oil, vinegar, soy sauce and agave.
Blend the mixture until it's pretty smooth, keeping in mind that it won't get perfectly smooth because carrots, the main ingredient, are pretty hard and fibrous.
Assembly your salad ingredients: greens, orange slices, tomatoes, and avocado slices. Pour on the dressing, sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions, and enjoy!
Leftovers & Storage
I recommend storing your salad ingredients and dressing separately, if possible. Kept in airtight containers in the fridge, the salad will keep for 3 to 4 days and the dressing will keep for about a week. The avocado will probably turn brown during storage, but will still be edible. I like to slice up a fresh avocado to serve with the leftovers.
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Japanese Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
For the Dressing
- 2 medium carrots
- ¼ cup roughly chopped onion
- 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. (see Note)
Divide the greens among salad bowls and top with the dressing, followed by the oranges, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and scallions. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve.
This is a thick dressing with some texture to it, so it won’t get completely smooth.