Home » ALL RECIPES » Sauces, Dressings, Condiments, Jams » Japanese Salad Dressing

Japanese Salad Dressing

You will recognize this carrot-ginger Japanese salad dressing if you’ve ever tasted it on crispy lettuce at a Japanese restaurant. It’s refreshing, it zings and it’s delicious. A homemade version is super easy and way better – and not just for lettuce. 

There are many types of Japanese salad dressings – Wafu, Miso, Sesame and Shoya to name a few. This recipe is a carrot-ginger dressing, my favorite. Fresh, vibrant and a nice balance of sweet and tangy. 

Japanese salad dressing drizzled on Japanese cucumbers on plate ff

The recipe is similar to the ones you find in Japanese steakhouses or sushi restaurants – the one we’ve all come to love, although not totally authentic.  

I stick to the basic ingredients of carrots, fresh ginger, onion, rice vinegar, sugar and oil. I also add a dash of soy and sesame oil for depth. Some recipes include miso paste and celery as well. 

As salad dressings go, this one is on the healthier side. One tablespoon has only 35 calories, 1 gram of sugar, 3 grams saturated fat and a lot of vitamin A. 

Carrot ginger dressing is typically served over crisp lettuce like iceberg or romaine. But check out the many other good ways to incorporate it.

Ways to use Japanese salad dressing

    • on green salads
    • on sliced Japanese cucumbers (as pictured) – this is one of my favorite uses – crunchy and gorgeous color combo. 
    • drizzled on roasted or grilled fish like halibut, tilapia, sea bass or roasted salmon stuffed with herbs
    • drizzled over sushi, tofu, vegetable rice paper rolls or Chinese vegetable fried rice
    • as a topping for fish/shrimp tacos
    • served with fresh snap peas as an appetizer or drizzled on steamed vegetables.

Tailor To Your Taste

Don’t be afraid to play around with the amounts of each ingredient. The dressing is easy to adjust with a little more of this and that. 

  • vary the sweetness and tartness to your liking by adjusting the rice vinegar and sugar
  • add a little sesame oil
  • substitute honey for the sugar (same amount)
  • add a tablespoon of mild white miso 
  • don’t forget to add the salt – it brightens up the dressing 

Shortcut

  • If you don’t have fresh ginger (or don’t feel like peeling and chopping), the best substitute is frozen cubes of minced ginger sold in little packages. Each cube is 1 teaspoon. Alternatively, use 1 tablespoon (or more) of ginger paste.

Make Ahead

  • The salad dressing will last for about 2 weeks in the fridge in a sealed container. If it thickens too much, add some water to thin it out. 

How to make Japanese salad dressing

carrots, ginger, onion, oil, soy, rice vinegar, sugar, salt
Ingredients: carrots, ginger, onion, oil, soy, rice vinegar, sugar, salt (and optional sesame oil and other add-ins) 
chopped carrots and onion and skin of ginger peeled with spoon
Peel and roughly chop carrots, onions and ginger.
Japanese salad dressing in food processor
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until pureed.

Japanese salad dressing in glass jar

Japanese salad dressing drizzled on Japanese cucumbers on plate p2
Add the Japanese salad dressing to a salad, then garnish salads with ground nuts or sesame seeds and chopped chives if desired.
Japanese salad dressing drizzled on Japanese cucumbers on plate ff
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

5 from 5 votes

Japanese Salad Dressing

You will recognize this carrot-ginger Japanese salad dressing if you've ever tasted it on crispy lettuce at a Japanese restaurant. It's refreshing, it zings and it's delicious. A homemade version is super easy and way better - and not just for lettuce. 
Total Time8 mins
Course: Condiment, salad dressing
Cuisine: Japanese, Vegetarian
Servings: 10 (2 tbsp per serving)
Author: Cheryl, Two Kooks In The Kitchen

Equipment

  • blender or food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped about 5 oz/140g
  • 1/4 medium onion, chopped about 1/4 cup or 2 oz
  • 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger root (or more to taste), peeled and chopped or 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoon (74 ml) neutral oil vegetable, canola

optional add ins

  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil (optional) I add this
  • 1/4 cup (25g) chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon mild miso paste
  • Garnish for salad: sesame seeds, green onion, chives

Instructions

  • MAKE DRESSING: Place all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend for about 2 minutes or until pureed, scraping down sides of bowl in between if necessary. Taste and adjust to how you like it - e.g. more vinegar, sugar, sesame oil salt, ginger, etc. If you like it thinner, add a tablespoon of water.
    Yield - approximately 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) or 20 tablespoons

Notes

Make Ahead: Transfer salad dressing to a sealed container. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Shake well before using. If it thickens up in the fridge, add a splash of water or oil, then shake. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates and do not include optional add ins. They are based on a 2 tablespoon serving which is typical for salad dressing (although restaurants serve more than this). For a simple cucumber salad, I find 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp per serving of dressing is sufficient. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Japanese Salad Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 71 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Sodium 221mg10%
Potassium 32mg1%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 1019IU20%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?We'd love you to rate it above under 'rate this recipe' or in the comment section below. Thanks!

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating