Do you LOVE the little salad that comes with your restaurant sushi meal with that delicious carrot ginger dressing? It’s all at once salty and sweet and makes even the pile of not-so-fresh iceberg lettuce seem appealing. Chances are, the carrot ginger dressing you love is from a bottle and likely has a lot of sodium and sugar. Luckily, there’s no need to add a lot of the bad stuff to this homemade version because so much natural flavor comes from fresh ginger and carrots.
This salad is perfect as a work lunch alongside a protein like grilled chicken or tofu. Chop your salad greens on Sunday night and store in a large tupperware with a jar of the dressing in the fridge for up to seven days. This combination calls for cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts and mint leaves for a Southeast Asian feel, but you can also use butter lettuce on its own for that true Japanese restaurant feel. Try your own combination with kale, bok choy, pea shoots or spinach.
The secret to that rich flavor of carrot ginger dressing is miso paste, which you can find in most markets these days. Look for the brand Eden Foods, which uses organic soy beans and less salt than other imported brands from Japan. You can absolutely leave out the miso, the dressing will have a delicious, bright and pungent flavor without it. Try the dressing first without miso and perhaps add it in if you want to serve this salad for your family.
Super Healthy Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup sesame oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger (from a small 1-inch piece)
1 shallot, chopped or 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon miso paste (optional)
2 cups shredded cabbage (red or green)
1 cup shredded lettuce
½ cup bean sprouts
½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Combine chopped carrots, ginger, shallot and miso paste (if using) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely ground, then add the rice vinegar and sesame oil with a pinch of salt. Grind until you achieve a slightly chunky liquid dressing.
Add the chopped cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts and mint leaves to a large bowl and toss with the dressing to combine.
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Photos by Ally-Jane Grossan