This salad dressing is inspired by the now discontinued Trader Joe's Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing. Made at home, it costs a fraction of the price, and it’s a whole lot fresher, too. It is so easy to whip up in a high-power blender or food processor that you won’t miss making a trip to the grocery store. If you’re looking for a salad to make that pairs perfectly with this carrot ginger miso salad dressing, I recommend this ginger chicken salad!Jump to Recipe
Whole carrots, white miso, fresh ginger root, and sesame oil are joined by a little bit of honey and chopped scallion to make this flavorful dressing. White miso paste is probably the only ingredient in this dressing that isn’t super easy to access but trust me, it’s worth the hunt. Many specialty health food stores like Whole Foods or Sprouts Market will have this ingredient. Trader Joe's even started selling a variety of their own in a smaller package! As a bonus, since miso paste is fermented, it stays fresh in the fridge for-ev-er!
The popular dressing is now discontinued, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it any more! The best part is, now you can customize it to your liking. The original carrot ginger miso salad dressing at Trader Joe’s used canola oil as an ingredient. I prefer a little more depth of flavor to this dressing, so I use toasted sesame oil. You can use whichever you prefer or whichever you have on hand! Heck, try it with both and decide what your favorite is! Looking for more Trader Joe's-inspired salad dressings? Try this honey orange vinaigrette recipe!
all about miso
Miso paste originated in Japan and is made of a mix of fermented soybeans and rice. More specifically, a type of fungus on rice called kōji mold is used to help ferment the soybeans. Fun fact, kōji mold is also used to make alcoholic beverages like sake!
There are many types of miso, but two of the most popular you'll see in stores are white miso and red miso. White miso is made with a larger percentage of rice than soybeans. This makes it milder in flavor than red miso, which is made of more soybeans than rice. White miso imparts a delicate balance of savory, sweet, and umami to any dish it is added to. For this reason, it works well in a variety of dishes, from marinades to dressings and even desserts!
While you can use white and red miso interchangeably, because red miso is more flavorful, you will need less of it.
- white miso paste - aka shiro miso, is the subtle star of this dressing.
- carrots - fresh, whole carrots give this dressing the signature orange color and mild carrot flavor.
- ginger - while the recipe calls for fresh ginger root, you can use powdered ginger in its place.
- rice wine vinegar - made from fermented rice, this vinegar plays wonderfully with the flavor of the miso paste.
- shallots - the lovechild of garlic and onions, shallots provide a delicate burst of flavor.
- honey - just a bit brings out the sweetness of the miso paste.
- water - water helps to thin out the dressing. You can adjust the amount to your preferred thickness.
See recipe card for quantities.
To make this dressing, all you need to do is throw all of the ingredients into the jar of a blender (or the bowl of a food processor) and blend. Really, that's it!
Peel and roughly chop the carrots, ginger, and shallots.
Combine all the ingredients in the jar of your blender.
Blend the ingredients well. You can thin the dressing out with additional water if desired.
Pour the dressing into your desired storage container and store in the fridge.
- canola oil - using canola oil or another neutral oil like avocado oil will bring the flavors of the carrot, ginger, and miso forward more.
- tahini - if you don't have miso, you can substitute in tahini. The flavor will be different, but it will still be a great dressing!
- soy sauce - if you don't have miso or tahini, soy sauce is a great substitute for a deep umami flavor.
- ground ginger - you can substitute ground ginger for fresh if you don't have it on hand. Use ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger in place of the 1-inch piece of ginger, which yields about 1 tablespoon.
- alternative vinegar - if you don't have rice wine vinegar, you can substitute white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even lemon juice.
- garlicky - throw in some cloves of garlic to this dressing for a garlicky twist!
- spicy - add in 1 teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes or gochujang paste for a spicy version of this dressing.
- high-powered blender - this ninja bullet-style blender is the perfect tool for salad dressings like this one. If you don't have a high-powered blender, you can also use an immersion blender.
- storage bottle - these glass bottles make perfect salad dressing containers! They are beautiful and functional. I also love to store my homemade salad dressings in these OXO squeeze bottles. They make the perfect container for any dressing, and portioning the salad dressing is a breeze!
A quick note-- if you have a thicker or chunkier salad dressing, you will want to opt for glass bottles or mason jars for storage. The squeeze bottle spouts are better suited for well-blended or thinner dressings.
Store the salad dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Do you prefer your salad dressing to have a bit more body to it? Just blend it for less time! A chunkier dressing will be sure to remind you of your favorite sushi or hibachi restaurant, but you may want to opt to store it in a jar instead of a squeeze bottle.
Most specialty grocery stores and Asian markets will have miso paste. You can also find it at online specialty retailers.
You can substitute red miso paste for white. Be sure to start with a smaller amount, like 1 teaspoon, and scale it up to taste.
You can use an immersion blender or food processor to make this recipe, but it will be difficult to make without any of these tools. You can finely grate the carrots and ginger, and finely dice the shallots, but you will end up with a chunkier dressing than if you make it with a small blending appliance.
Opt for mild vinegars like white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or champagne vinegar. You can also use lemon juice in place of vinegar. If you only have white vinegar, dilute it to a 1:1 ratio with water before using it in the recipe. This will help mellow out the flavor.
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Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing
- 1 Blender/ Food Processor
- 2 whole carrots medium sized, peeled
- 1 inch ginger root peeled, about 1 tablespoon
- ½ shallot chopped, about 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoon white miso paste
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil can use a neutral oil, like canola or avocado for a lighter flavor
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ cup water optional
- Peel and roughly chop 2 whole, medium-sized carrots, a 1-inch piece of ginger, and ½ of a shallot.
- Combine the chopped carrots, ginger, and shallot with ¼ cup of rice wine vinegar, ¼ cup of toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of white miso paste, 1 tablespoon of honey, and the optional ¼ cup of water in a high-power blender or food processor and blend until smooth. For a chunkier-style dressing, blend for less time.
- Store in an airtight container for up to one week.