May 18, 2020

Japanese Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes You Should Make at Home: PART 1

One Japanese habit that would surprise visitors is how we love eating salads. In Japan, most meals, regardless of traditional or new cuisine, are served with a salad on the side to keep things in balance. We eat salads for breakfast as well!

family eating a salad 2

This week, we are sharing some well-loved Japanese salad dressing recipes to freshen up your meals. They are much healthier than store bought, and incredibly delicious. No worries, you probably have the ingredients to make most of them already in your pantry and refrigerator. All these recipes can be prepared in a short time.

I like to make my dressings in mason jars using the jar-and-shake method. It is quick to make (no dishwashing), easy to store, and they look so pretty!

dressing image

💡 In these recipes, vegetable oil can be any neutral oil like canola oil or grapeseed oil. Wine vinegar and rice vinegar are nice choices for the vinegar. If you want to use apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or sherry vinegar, those are bold choices so tread lightly.

Carrot Ginger Dressing
ginger carrot dressing 3

Do you like the sweet-tangy salad dressing that you get at a Japanese restaurant? With this recipe, you can make the tastier (and much healthier!) version at home. Made with carrot, ginger, and a little honey, this bright-colored dressing will zest up your salad. I did not use a blender, so the dressing was a little lumpier than smooth, but it is still every bit as delicious. 


ginger carrot dressing 1-2

ginger carrot dressing 2-1

Best matches: Serving this dressing over a bed of crispy iceberg lettuce is by far my favorite combination. However, you can use any other type of crunchy greens to enjoy this delicious dressing.

ginger carrot salad

Serving Size: 3 tablespoons: 48  calories; 365 mg sodium

It is good for 5 days in the fridge.


Ginger Vinaigrettedressing ginger

We use the soy sauce and ginger combination in many types of dishes in Japan. This refreshing Japanese vinaigrette is also a great way to enjoy the full flavor of ginger and soy.


dressing ginger recipe

Best match: Radish salad

raddish salad ginger dressing

Serving Size: 1/2 tablespoon: 28  calories; 350 mg sodium

It is good for 10 days in the fridge.

Honey Vinaigrettedressing rape
A light, tangy vinaigrette with a touch of honey. In Japan, this dressing is called “râpées dressing” from the classic French grated carrot salad.


recipe honey dressing

Best match: Carrot salad. All you need is a bunch of fresh carrots and a little bit of effort, to grate the carrots.

carrot salad

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon: 106 calories : 500 mg sodium

It is good for 7 days in the fridge.

Garlic Dressingdressing umashio
This is a Japanese classic dressing, with sesame oil as a flavory base, garlic to add a zing, and a touch of vinegar to mellow things out. This dressing is not only delicious but packed with antioxidants.

recipe garlic dressing
Best matches: Lettuce salad and seaweed salad. A salad with this dressing on goes well with any Asian dish.

garlic salad 1

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon: 95 calories: 400 mg sodium

It is good for 10 days in the fridge.


Caesar Salad Dressingdressing ceaser
Do you love Caesar salad but worried about extra calories and sodium? Try this healthier version of Caesar salad dressing that you can actually enjoy!


recipe caesar
Best matches: Aside from Caesar salad, this creamy dressing is perfect for salads with grilled chicken and boiled vegetables such as broccolis and potatoes.

caesar salad 3

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon: 64 calories; 300 mg sodium

It is good for 10 days in the fridge. 


Spicy Soy Dressingspicy soy dressing
Spicy soy dressing is very popular in Japan. The most common way to use it is to smash whole cucumbers and marinade them in the dressing. However, packed with flavors from sesame oil and garlic along with a spicy kick from capsicum (chili pepper), this dressing is good on any salad.


spicy soy salad
To use the dressing as a marinade, add the dressing to vegetables of your choice in a dish or a ziploc bag and let it sit for 15 minutes.

cucumber  6

Best matches: Aside from cucumber salad, tomato salad is my favorite choice for this dressing.
tomato saladServing Size: 1/2 tablespoon: 22 calories: 480 mg sodium 

It is good for 7 days in the fridge.


Sesame Mayo Dressingdressing sesame -2

My all time favorite! Creamy, nutty, and slightly sweet, this dressing is so good that you would never want to buy a bottled sesame dressing again! This dressing was the solution to how I got my kids to eat a salad when they were small.

sesame dressing 1

*When possible, toast and grind the sesame seeds in a food processor or crush by hand using a pestle. You will love the rich flavor! sesame pounding 4

Best matches: Chicken salad and boiled vegetable salad such as asparagus.

salad goma mayo dressing

Serving Size: 1 tablespoon: 66 calories; 400 mg sodium

It is good for 10 days in the fridge.



Did you like these recipes? Homemade salad dressing is not time consuming or complicated. Simple enough to make but so tasty that you will want to put it on everything and therefore you always have jars in the fridge! 

Look forward to Japanese Salad Dressing Recipes PART 2! 




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