japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing

japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing | The Clever Carrot

According to the Chinese calendar, it is the year of the horse.

My husband is a horse (I am a monkey) and apparently, you are not allowed to dig anything for the whole year. That’s right, absolutely no digging. This information comes to us via Sfoglia’s sous chef, by way of his very superstitious Chinese grandmother. She insists that all horses must refrain from digging in 2014. It will bring bad luck.

Cue the snow storm.

japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing | The Clever Carrot

Last week, Mother Nature unleashed not one, but two back to back storms yielding over 2 feet of snow! Snow = shoveling. Uh oh. That’s a form of digging, right? For the record, I want you all to know that I tried to help battle the elements, but my Herculean strength was not enough to dig us out of our driveway. I needed my horse.

So he dug… and dug… and dug.

And I went inside and started chopping fruit.

japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing | The Clever Carrot

I used the fruit to make a Japanese-style salad with carrot + ginger dressing.

This dressing is high up there on my list of favorites, and often times I can be found eating it straight from the jar. It’s similar to what they serve at Japanese restaurants. The secret is to add white miso paste to bind it all together and to make it extra creamy. Combined with crunchy greens and tropical fruit, it makes for a delicious and unique salad. I add avocado slices and edamame too.

You can serve this on its own, or alongside a protein of your choice to make it more substantial. It happens to be great with grilled salmon. No matter what you do with it, this dressing is good on just about anything.

japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing | The Clever Carrotjapanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing | The Clever Carrot

Allow me to fill you in on what has happened since all of that fateful digging:

  • The screen on our brand new TV cracked
  • Jake swallowed a penny
  • 3 essential keys on my laptop just stopped working for no apparent reason
  • My Nook broke
  • Then the restaurant caught on fire- yes, fire. Thankfully, it was put out quickly and no one was hurt. Only the bathroom was damaged.
  • And then my husband got a flat tire.

OK?! How’s that for some bad luck? I’m sorry, I’m not usually a superstitious person but this is not normal. So, to all of my unlucky horses shoveling snow out there, I offer you sympathy and compassion with hopes that a little sunshine will come your way. Fingers crossed- no more snow!

Curious about your Chinese zodiac sign? I had fun playing around on this site. Check it out!

japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing | The Clever Carrot

japanese sunshine salad with carrot + ginger dressing
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 4 large handfuls of mixed greens
  • ½ c. strawberries, sliced
  • ½ c. pineapple, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, cut into segments
  • 1 c. shelled edamame
  • 2 haas avocados, sliced
Carrot + ginger dressing
  • 3 tbsp. white miso*
  • 1 small carrot, peeled + sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp. grated ginger
  • ¼ garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. mirin
  • 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar (not seasoned)
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ c. vegetable or mild olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water + more as needed
  • sesame seeds
* This salad is meant for adaptations. Feel free to add more or less fruit to suite your taste.
*To make this gluten-free, be sure to look for brown-rice based white miso. Gluten-free brands include Eden Foods & South River Miso.
  1. To make the salad dressing, add all of the ingredients to a blender. Process until smooth and creamy (make sure that the carrot, ginger and garlic are broken down). If the dressing is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up. Pour into a container and set aside. This dressing will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge.
  2. Add the mixed greens, strawberries, pineapple, orange slices and edamame to a large bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Right before serving, cut the avocado into slices and sprinkle with rice wine vinegar to prevent them from turning brown.
  4. Top the salad with the avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  5. Serve right away with the carrot + ginger dressing on the side.


    • Emilie says

      Hi Mimi! This is such a fun dressing- you just throw everything into the blender and you’re done. If you like the orange kind that comes with salads at Japanese restaurants, you will definitely love this. It’s a little bit creamier too (my preference). Enjoy :)

    • Emilie says

      30 days seems like forever, doesn’t it? Normally winter is not all that bad, but as you know this snow has just been ridiculous! Perhaps a vacation with clear blue water is in order ;)

  1. says

    hahaha…beautiful salad….love the story! Wish I could have used the horse excuse for those snowstorms ;) But it’s actually good that I’m the pig, don’t think I could go a whole year without digging in my garden :) Love all the flavors and colors you have going on in this salad. Lets hope that warm weather keeps up!

    • Emilie says

      Ah, yes… it’s definitely a good thing that you’re a pig and not a horse (that sounds so weird… sorry!) Your garden would be missed. I’m hoping this warm weather keeps up too. Wouldn’t that be nice? But I’m not holding my breath!! xx

  2. says

    This is a seriously happy salad! Gorgeous colours, textures and nutrients. Ah, I was already smiling at the first image… then laughing at the fact that your husband isn’t allowed to DIG for the entire year! Whaaat?! Anyway, according to that zodiac thing I am actually a pig. Loyal and funny? And hungry, obviously…! xx

    • Emilie says

      Hi Laura! Thank you so much ;) Yeah, I wasn’t about the whole horse & not digging thing either… but then the bad luck started rolling in and I was like, ohhhhhh noooooo- it can’t be!!! Now anytime he has a shovel in his hand I start freaking out ;) xx

    • Emilie says

      Hi JJ! Happy indeed :) You will definitely enjoy this dressing if you like the Japanese restaurant version- the addition of white miso paste makes it extra creamy & delicious. It’s good on anything!

  3. Svetlana says

    Spring has sprung in Australia and I finally got to try this salad dressing on my family – and they loved it! Thanks so much for sharing – you’re a clever ‘carat’ indeed! Cheers, Svet

    • Emilie says

      Hi Svet! Thanks so much for the feedback! I’m glad to hear that your family liked the recipe. I could drink that dressing with a straw… I’m obsessed with miso. Happy Australian Spring! Such a beautiful time of year :)

  4. says

    Emilie! I made the salad dressing (well… a highly improvised version of your salad dressing with the ingredients I had on hand) and I’ll be tucking the recipe away for safekeeping! Looking forward to trying it with a fresh rainbow of veg and the fat avocado slices you’ve got going on in the photos. xo

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