This carrot ginger salad dressing recipe is near and dear to my heart. I feel like if one recipe sums up my style of cooking and the Culinary Alchemy method it’s this one.
Growing up we were a very frugal family. But it was always a special occasion when we could go out as a family and indulge in a smorgasbord of sushi. The first thing that would always come out would be a simple green salad with the most delicious carrot ginger dressing. There was something so earthy and aromatic that made it the perfect start to our meal.
The sweetness of the carrot combined with the zing of the ginger not to mention the perfect blend of oils and subtle flavors. It was not just a nice palate cleanser it was a message to let you know it was time to eat.
If we really liked something, my dad would figure out how to make it at home. It could have been a gourmet pizza or special burger we had at a restaurant. He would get the ingredients and try to recreate the dishes we loved when we ate out. I can never tell if it’s immigrant frugality or ingenuity but it’s something I inherited from him. He would put a conscious effort into figuring out how to make it so we can have the things that we want whenever we wanted.
I am my father’s daughter. In his way, he showed love for us by finding a way to more regularly give us our pizza, burgers, and sushi at home. As part of my health journey, I’ve always loved finding healthy alternatives. I like to show my love by offering the same delicious tastes in a way that nourishes your body and your spirit. That way you can have what you love more often without it affecting your health.
How Healthy Are Salads?
There can be a love-hate relationship with salad. If you’re dieting or trying to add more vegetables to your diet this is the go-to. Salads are simple meals. You can bring them to work. You can make them ahead of time. They’re easy. But, it can become so common to use rich and creamy dressings, bacon or fried crunchy things, or even a whole side of beef. This can negate the health benefits.
While I have no personal problem with beef, bacon, or ranch dressing. I like to offer my clients alternatives that can help prolong their lives without sacrificing taste. I’m always telling clients to eat more veggies. Luckily, this dressing sneaks some extra nutrients in.
Not only does this vegan and gluten-free salad dressing feature two incredibly nutrient-rich foods: ginger and carrots. It’s not just a great source of antioxidants, it’s also packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s a quick healthy recipe that can sneak some extra veggies in your salad for kids or finicky eaters.
Confessions of a Hollywood Chef
Working in Hollywood, a lot of my clients are looking for Atkins or Keto diet recipes. There can be so much fat and meat in those meals. While a great way to slim down for a role, it can rob you of important vitamins and nutrients.
Given my past health issues, I would feel apprehensive to serve some of these dishes. I felt like I had to sneak in more veggies and vitamins! There are so many nutrients that you need that you simply cannot get from meat alone.
I remember always telling my client, Adam Sandler, he shouldn’t be eating the way he wanted to. I found the perfect compromise. I would make the things he requested but find a healthier option for what he wanted. This dressing is a delicious way to keep your salad nutritious without sacrificing any flavor.
Culinary Alchemy & How We Eat
So many of my clients want to lose weight. But part of that work is holistically changing how you look at food. People are often reaching for a bit more than just the foods they crave. It could be a feeling, a memory, a person they miss. Food is love! But it doesn’t necessarily love you back.
Whenever I make this dressing I’m instantly transported to my family around the table at our favorite sushi restaurant. Whether it was for a graduation party or anniversary this takes me back to the first dish of our family meal. I remember the waiters bringing out the small wooden bowls with a simple salad with a unique flavor I loved.
Culinary alchemy is about really connecting with your foods to program your health. You concern yourself with what specific nutrients your body needs. You also introduce more color and vibrance to your diet. With a bright orange color this dressing is a feast for the eyes.
I’m committed to finding health in the food before you even eat it. Rather than seeking out health after you’re dealing with the repercussions of a poor diet or unhealthy activity levels.
Culinary alchemy is about slowing down to really be present with what you’re eating. Take note of what you like the flavors, the textures. What flavors do you notice? How does the flavor change as your chew? This is how you learn to truly love your food.
We can all taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty whether you think your palate is refined or not. The rest comes with time. It wasn’t until culinary school that I started to taste ingredients like sage, rice wine vinegar, and yeast.
Really savoring is another way to connect to food. A way to find more love for what you put in your body. It’s about finding gratitude for the food not just while you’re eating it or after you’ve had it and feel full. It’s about connecting with it while you make it.
I think back to how my dad would turn our small kitchen into his test kitchen to try and give us the same feeling we’d get when we went out for a fancy dinner. It’s the same way I show my love by finding healthy alternatives. Whether this was to accommodate my sister with Celiac, or just to honor my dietary restrictions without making it a nightmare to eat with me. Food is love! And I like to share that love with anyone who tastes my food.
If you take the shortest bit of time you can really smell, feel, and taste the flavors. So often we think of food as an afterthought. But your brain takes notes of these things. If you’re present with your food, you can recreate that memory at home. The bright colors, flavors, and textures can all really make food a transformational experience.
You might be thinking, “All this for salad dressing?” But that’s the thing. When you treasure every bite and you savor every ingredient and you truly connect with the food you’re eating. Then your body can take the best it has to offer. It’s not just a salad dressing it’s the gratitude I have for my dad, the love I have for my body, and all of those healthy parts, too.
This dressing is quick and you can whip it up in 10 minutes. It’s a tasty option to pair with any meal or great for a quick salad snack. I’ve included some Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo, and Keto options. And, please use organic ingredients whenever possible.Print
Japanese Carrot Ginger Salad Dressing
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields: 2 cups
1 cup carrots, peeled and rough chopped
½ cup sweet or white onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled, finely chopped (or ½ teaspoon ground ginger)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (can sub for monk fruit)
¼ cup liquid amino acids (can use coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce)
⅓ cup plain rice vinegar
½ cup avocado oil
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Salt, to taste
Optional: black and/or white sesame seeds
- Combine all the ingredients except the oil into the blender and gently pulse. Blend until the texture is smooth
- With the blender on medium speed, slowly add in the avocado oil until the mixture is fully emulsified
- Add additional salt, sweetener, and sesame oil to taste
- Store in an airtight glass container
Can keep for about 7-10 days in the refrigerator and about 4 weeks in the freezer