Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing (Restaurant-Style)
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Make this iconic and delicious Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing Recipe in less than 10 minutes! Inspired by Japanese-American steakhouses, the sweet and tangy flavors make the perfect pairing to ice cold iceberg lettuce!
Sometimes I get really homesick about Japan.
Between the years I spent living in Japan – and since my mother now lives in Fukuoka (and my brother and cousins in Tokyo) – there is a real hold the land of the rising sun has on me.
I’ve been watching a few Japanese series (Midnight Diner and Terrace House) on Netflix recently in hopes of loosening that yearning – but the main effect those shows are having is making me super hungry! When I’m missing family, the first thing I start to crave is the foods I associate with them (plus, those shows aren’t light on the food references!).
This Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing recipe may be an Americanized version of the original (which has no carrots, uses less sugar and more ginger) but since I grew up on this side of the pond, speaks to me the same as if I was eating the real thing in Japan.
This is the ubiquitous restaurant style ginger and carrot dressing you get on your starter salad at your local Japanese steakhouse and sushi restaurant. It’s delicious, super easy to make and, if you’re like me, it’s a comforting reminder of home.
Better than the Restaurant Version
The ultimate best thing about this Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing (aside from the incredible taste) is how simple it is to whip up using just a few common ingredients. A couple of carrots, a small onion and organic canola oil all form the base of this restaurant style dressing.
Then, this delicious salad topper gets a savory undertone from soy sauce. That zing… well, that’s from the rice vinegar and fresh ginger!
If you’ve been to a Japanese restaurant in the US or Canada, chances are excellent that you’ve had a variation of this carrot ginger dressing. It’s so cool that, when combined, pantry ingredients this common can have such a universally recognizable flavor!
Ingredients for Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing
- Carrots: I’m using 7 ounces of carrots which comes to about 200 grams. Since everything will be blended the carrot can be roughly chopped here.
- Onion: A yellow sweet onion is best for this recipe but you can also use a regular yellow or white onion. I’m using 4 ounces which is about 110 grams.
- Ginger: You can use more than 2 tablespoons of ginger if you like your dressing to have some heat. Two tablespoons, which is what I’m using, is just enough to infuse it with ginger flavor without feeling any tingling on the tongue.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is preferred but you can use brown as well. One tablespoon is all you need.
- Soy Sauce: 1/4 cup to add umami and earthiness to the dressing.
- Rice Vinegar: That’s the famous zing you taste in the dressing. Plain rice vinegar is recommended. If you have seasoned rice vinegar only, I suggest omitting the sugar for this recipe.
- Salt: I use kosher salt which has bigger granules. If you are using regular salt, start with 1/4 teaspoon, do a taste test, and work your way up if needed.
- Oil: Any neutral oil will do here. You can use organic canola oil, vegetable oil, grapeseed oil, corn oil.
How To Make Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing
You will need a blender to make this salad dressing.
- Add all the ingredients, except for the oil, in the blender and press start. Blend until the texture is smooth.
- While keeping the blender on, slowly add the oil so that it emulsifies (blends) with the other ingredients. It’s important to do it slowly otherwise the oil can separate and ruin the dressing, so take your time for this step!
- Do a taste test and if you think it needs adjusting, add a little more sugar or salt.
And that’s it, you’ve just made the iconic Japanese salad dressing in your own kitchen!
What to Serve with Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing
Serving this dressing over a bed of crispy iceberg lettuce is by far my favorite combination. However, you can use romaine lettuce or endives as well, or any other type of crunchy greens to enjoy this lovely dressing.
A side salad is usually served as part of a sushi meal here in the US but there are many other meal combinations where you can serve green leaves and carrot ginger dressing. Some of my favorites are:
- Japanese fried rice (yakimeshi)
- Japanese curry rice
- Honey sriracha oven baked salmon
- Singapore chow mei fun
- Vegan jajangmyeon
Did you like this Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!
Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing (Restaurant-Style)
This iconic and delicious Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing Recipe will transport your taste buds to Shibuya! Ready in 10 minutes from start to finish.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: none
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: about 2 cups 1x
- Category: Dressings
- Method: Blender
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 7 ounces carrots (peeled and chopped )
- 4 ounces onion (peeled and finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup organic canola or vegetable oil
- Put all the ingredients except for the canola oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Slowly add the oil and blend until the mixture has emulsified.
- Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- Serve with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumber.
You can use olive oil but the flavor will be slightly different since it’s not a neutral oil like canola or vegetable. It will still be good though!
This Japanese Restaurant Style Ginger Dressing Recipe makes about 2 cups.
Keywords: recipe, salad dressing, vinaigrette, carrot ginger dressing, condiment, vegan, vegetarian
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