How to Make That Delicious Salad Dressing in Bento Boxes

That orange-colored carrot dressing you know and love comes together in a delicious pinch.

Published Jan. 13, 2022.

I love me a bento box. You get a little of everything! A few pieces of sushi, a couple dumplings, protein and vegetables swimming in sauce. But you know what I really love? The salad. OK. Maybe not so much the chunks of iceberg adorned with a few limp purple and orange strings on top. 

That dressing, though. That blindingly bright-orange carrot-ginger dressing. It’s sweet, zippy, slightly nutty, and incredibly delicious. Hand me a straw for cryin’ out loud.

After years of swooning over the stuff, I had to figure out how to make it myself. It turns out that it couldn’t be easier. After doing some recipe research (and tasting a few store-bought versions), I had my base of ingredients: carrots, shallots, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. After a little knife work, almost everything gets thrown into the food processor until it’s combined. Once you drizzle in your vegetable oil, the deep-orange paste dramatically transforms into that nostalgic neon hue.

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The sweetness from the carrots, sugar, and rice vinegar tastes perfectly balanced with the sharp shallot and peppery, pungent ginger. The nuttiness from the sesame oil rounds the dressing out into a wonderfully complex and bright yet savory dressing. Exactly as I remembered it.

I’ll certainly be keeping this in my fridge on the reg.

Bento Box Carrot-Ginger Dressing

Makes 2 cups

The dressing will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator. Before use, feel free to thin it with additional water as needed. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender works fine. 

  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces 
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 (4-inch) piece ginger, peeled and sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil 
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

Process carrots, shallots, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly drizzle in vegetable oil until fully emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to airtight container and refrigerate until well chilled, about 45 minutes. (Dressing can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 5 days.)

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