The best 5-minute Japanese carrot ginger dressing recipe with a hint of miso. This naturally gluten-free restaurant-style salad dressing is easy to make in the blender. Made with carrot, ginger, and miso, the tangy sauce will zest up your salad or grilled chicken. It is one of our favorite healthy no-cook sauces!
Do you remember your first visit to a Japanese restaurant? Mine was the 1980’s Midwest version of a hibachi grill. I remember it smelling funny and this amazing orange dressing. Yes, Carrot Ginger Dressing where the white miso gave it all the umami flavor I could dream of. But really, I was 9 years old so I probably just said 'mmmmm this is yummy'.
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This is one of those recipes I often overlook because it is just for salads, right? Oh no. I needed a quick something for grilled chicken and was pulling random stuff out of the fridge. Then it hit me… I always have the ingredients for this Japanese carrot ginger dressing on hand at all times. And I am guessing you do too.
It went into my arsenal of no-cook sauces. It is ready in under 5 minutes. Yes, we need to find more ways to use carrot ginger and miso sauce!
Salad Dressing Ingredients & Substitutions
This recipe has relatively few components which is why it is so important to breakdown what we need to make this easy recipe.
- Carrot- One LARGE carrot. Or two small ones. Orange preferably but any color will work. The sweeter the carrot the sweeter the salad dressing. The carrot should be fresh, not frozen, in order to achieve the right texture.
- Fresh Ginger- You need fresh ginger for this recipe. The grated ginger will give it a little dressing.
- White Miso Paste- A Japanese classic, this is what separates great ginger dressings from the good ones. If you only have powder make the paste with water before adding to the blender. Substitutes for white miso paste are tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and tahini. Use half the amount of tamari or an equal amount of tahini.
- Sesame Oil and Olive Oil- The sesame oil is for flavor, but not too much. Olive oil is a neutral way to thin out the dressing. Avocado oil works well too.
- Rice Vinegar- Using the right vinegar is important to the overall balance of this recipe. If you don't have rice vinegar the following substitutes will work (in order of preference); champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar.
- Optional Ingredients-
- Shallot or Onion- While I love onions I think they overpower the ginger in this dressing. So I prefer to skip them, but many recipes call for them.
- Honey or Sugar- If you pick a good quality carrot it should be sweet enough. I definitely prefer this sugar free. However, if at the end you want to sweeten it up honey would be my choice.
- Soy Sauce- I don't find this necessary when working with the white miso paste. It can make the dressing overly salty if you aren't careful.
How to Make Carrot Ginger Dressing
- Prep the Ingredients- Peel and roughly chop 1 carrot and a 1-inch nub of ginger.
- Blend- Place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil. Pulse 8 to 10 times to break up the pieces and then blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil. The salad dressing is done when it is smooth with a pulpy texture.
- Smooth (optional)- I use this recipe as a sauce more frequently than a salad dressing so I prefer to keep it a little grainy. If you prefer a smooth dressing continue blending while adding ⅓ cup of warm water to smooth. Pour dressing through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any remaining pulp.
- Creamy Dressing (optional)- Follow the directions for the smooth dressing and then stir in ½ cup of greek or dairy-free yogurt.
- Salt to taste.
You can use right away or store in an airtight container in the refridergerator for one to two weeks. Adding water will reduce its shelf life.
Eleven Ways to Use Carrot Ginger Dressing
- Baked fresh or brined jackfruit tossed in the dressing. Shred and serve on corn tortillas or lettuce wraps with all the taco fixings for an Asian inspired taco.
- Over grilled fish, we especially love it on thinly sliced seared tuna with lightly pickled cucumbers and watermelon radishes.
- Use it as a dip for your veggie spring rolls, much lighter than peanut sauce and paleo too!
- As a dressing for coleslaw. Combine red and green cabbage, scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds or sliced almonds, toss with dressing to coat. Top with toasted peanuts.
- Reduce the olive and vinegar by half and use it as a dip on your next crudité platter.
- Toss with sautéed zoodles, frozen shrimp and thinly sliced scallions for a quick weeknight meal.
- Use it in place of curry paste in your next Thai curry, add sliced jalapenos for extra heat.
- Mix with non-dairy yogurt and marinate chicken for East meets Far East tandoori fusion. Grill to perfection.
- Use it as a stir fry sauce. Marinate thinly sliced beef in tamari soy sauce with a pinch of crushed red pepper. Sauté beef with broccoli and scallions adding the ginger carrot sauce at the end.
- Use in place of spicy sauce on your next salmon sushi roll.
- Add a couple of extra carrots and thin out with vegetable stock to make a vegan carrot-ginger soup. Strain and garnish with scallions. Served warm or chilled.
I hope you are feeling inspired to make this part of your regular rotation.
Carrot Ginger Dressing
- Place the carrots, ginger, miso, sesame oil, and vinegar in a blender. Pulse to break up the carrot and ginger into a chunky paste.
- Slowly pour in the olive oil blending until smooth with a pulpy texture. Salt to taste.