Monday, January 21, 2008

0 Recipe #24: Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing

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If you've ever wanted to replicate the seriously delicious & addictive ginger salad dressing served at Japanese restaurants -- you know, the kind that's drizzled over starter salads preceding the main meal -- guess what? You're in luck, because I'm going to post that recipe right here, right now. :) No joke, this recipe is an EXACT replica -- We're talking freshly-made, restaurant-quality, Japanese ginger salad dressing. Tangy & slightly creamy, and mmmm-mmmm good. :)

This dressing recipe is also really quick & easy to make; you basically just toss everything into a food processor & blend until smooth; it can't get much easier than that. :)

I like making my own ginger salad dressing, fresh, from scratch, versus buying it in a bottle, because it's made from 100% whole foods -- It sure tastes a whole lot better than its bottled counterpart, not to mention that it's a whole lot healthier for you as well. There are zero additives, unlike bottled dressings. Bottled salad dressing often contain Xanthan gum, which is made from corn syrup, as well as other chemical compounds that aren't found in nature. Many of these chemical compounds interfere with the way that your body processes and responds to food (i.e., satiety signals, etc.).

By the same logic, I don't want to eat a fat-free potato chip if the chemicals in it only make me crave more of them. Excess, unexpended calories end up in the same place (i.e., they are eventually stored as fat), whether they start out as fat calories or something else. ;) And I don't know about you, but I'd rather not have their final destination be my hips and rear end. :) Where would be the sense in that?!

On that note, it probably wouldn't come as a surprise if I were to reveal that I don't typically consume very many processed or factory-made foods. However, when I do buy manufactured food products, I generally like to use a guideline similar to the one mentioned by Jamie Oliver in last week's episode of his TV show, "Food Revolution": If there's a long paragraph of complex-sounding ingredients not found in nature (i.e., man-made chemical compounds), I won't purchase those products. However, if the list of ingredients is only a few lines long, and is comprised of mostly whole foods, I will be more inclined to buy those products.

Anyhow, enough dissertation on the merits of fresh food, & onto the recipe. :) Enjoy!

Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing

1/4 c. baby carrots, shredded
1/4 c. red apple, peeled, cored, & chopped (preferably a Fuji apple or something comparable)
1/4 c. silken tofu
1/8 c. (2 Tbsp.) celery, roughly chopped (about 1/2 large celery stalk)
1/8 c. (2 Tbsp.) yellow onion, roughly diced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & roughly chopped (about a 1" piece)
2 tsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
1/8 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
4 Tbsp. orange juice
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice (if unavailable, substitute lime juice)
1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
1/2 tsp. honey

Directions: Toss all ingredients into a food processor & pulse until smooth & creamy. Pour dressing into a glass dressing bottle with a closed lid. Serve immediately or refrigerate dressing for future use.

Yield: 1.5 cups (liquid measure).

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