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
- 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. 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.