Carrot-Ginger Dressing

carrot_ginger_dressingWe all know that leafy green salads should be in our lunch/dinner rotation, right? But are you stuck in a boring salad dressing rut? It’s time to liven things up with this easy recipe that’s reminiscent of the salad dressing at your favorite sushi spot.

What’s more, this sweet, and spicy dressing is rich in vitamin A and a host of other healthy ingredients. Plus, the leftovers will last in the fridge for a week!

Ingredients

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso
  • 1/4 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 cup grape-seed oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Puree all the dressing ingredients together into a powerful blender until absolutely smooth. Liberally dress your salad, and enjoy!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 10 (1/4 cup each)
Nutrition (per serving): 158 cal, 0.7 g pro, 8.1 g carb, 0.9 g fiber, 4.8 g sugars, 14 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 140 mg sodium

Key Ingredient Benefits

Carrots: This mighty root veggie has few rivals when it comes to beta-carotene. A mere half-cup serving offers four times the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin A in the form of protective beta-carotene. Beta-carotene may ward off certain cancers, and it helps prevent heart disease due to its  antioxidant abilities. The retina of the eye needs vitamin A to function; a  deficiency of vitamin A causes night blindness. Though extra vitamin A won’t help you see better, its antioxidant properties may help prevent cataracts and keep your eyes healthy.

Ginger: This flavorful root contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds. This may explain why some people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience less pain and more mobility when they up their ginger consumption. Ginger also helps with gastrointestinal distress, motion sickness and nausea. Finally, research suggests that ginger may have antioxidant and anti-tumor effects on cells.

Grape-seed Oil: Due to their nutritional and medicinal properties, grapes, their seeds, and leaves have been used in many home remedies for centuries. Grape seed oil is a great source of polyphenols – flavonoids, Essential fatty acid – linoleic acid, vitamin E, and oligomeric proanthocyanidin.

Miso: Found in most supermarkets and specialty stores, miso is a traditional Asian condiment made by grinding beans and/or grains into a paste, adding salt, and allowing it to ferment. The paste can then be dissolved in water to make a savory broth or used as a seasoning element in sauces and other dishes. Although high in sodium, miso is a very good source of manganese and copper as well as a good source of zinc (all three are important mineral antioxidants). It is also a very good source of the mineral phosphorus, as well as a good source of protein and dietary fiber. In addition to these conventional nutrients, soy miso is also an important source of phytonutrient antioxidants.

Sesame Oil: This oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatting acids including omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are crucial for growth and development and may help prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.

Shallots: These small, round vegetables are related to the onion. Shallots resemble garlic in that their structure is composed of cloves and they also have a bold flavor and strong smell. Like onion and garlic, they contain flavonoids; a type of antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables that help protect the body and may reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, one tablespoon of chopped shallots is high in potassium, vitamin A, and folate.