I used to frequent a Japanese restaurant in my hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut, named Mako of Japan. Although I loved their meals the highlight for me was always the tiny salad they served with this amazing Japanese salad dressing. They would sell me the dressing by the quart and I could eat almost any vegetable if this dressing was on it.
I moved to California and then really missed this dressing. So one day while I was visiting my hometown, I went into the restaurant and asked if they could share the recipe. I was firmly told “no, it’s a family secret.” I let a few days pass and went back to the restaurant determined to find out what was in the dressing.
I was able to create this Japanese salad dressing.
Then, the next time I went into the Mako of Japan restaurant I asked what was in the dressing and let the owner know it was because I had some food sensitivities (which was true). The owner went down the list of ingredients and I asked her about a few of them, like soy oil (because I do have a sensitivity to soy). In my mind, I was already going to change some ingredients.
After she told me everything that was in the dressing, I thanked her, picked up a quart to-go, and rushed out to my car. I ripped out a piece of paper and wrote down everything quickly so I wouldn’t forget. Then I did an internet search for “traditional Japanese dressing” and found a few similar matches because I had no idea of the amounts for each ingredient. After a few trials and a quality upgrade with many ingredients, I got it right – at least according to my taste buds. Yay!
There are a few key ingredients that power your immune system.
This ingredient was a total surprise. I had no idea carrots were a big part of this recipe, but now I clearly see what gives this dressing the bright orange color.
- Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene, an orange pigment, that the body uses to make Vitamin A. This vitamin supports healthy eyesight and a robust immune system.
- Studies show that just a half cup of carrots per day is protective against heart disease. This small amount packs a lot of nutrition.
- The fiber in carrots helps with digestion and bowel regularity.
- Carrots are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that help with bone health, immunity.
- In addition to the beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, carrots have a high amount of silicon and biotin to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Ginger is one of the healthiest spices on the planet and contains health-promoting nutrients and substances. I usually use extra in this recipe.
- Studies show that ginger possesses multiple biological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anticancer, neuroprotective, cardiovascular protective, respiratory protective, antiobesity, antidiabetic, antinausea, and antiemetic activities. Wow. Now that’s powerful!
- Ginger helps relax and soothe the intestinal tract and relieve nausea, especially morning sickness.
- The active substance, gingerol, can help fight infections, like colds and flu, and support immune health.
- Several studies show ginger to be protective against age-related decline in brain function.
- The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can help reduce muscle soreness and pain that result from exercise or health conditions such as menstrual pain and arthritis.
- Research with type 2 diabetics shows that ginger may drastically lower blood sugar and improve heart disease risk factors, such as lowering cholesterol.
- The pungent constituent of ginger, 6-shogaol, provides an anti-cough effect and current research shows that it can kill cancer stem cells, which are at the root of cancer malignancy.1 This substance may also prevent reoccurrences of breast cancer.2
Onions are packed with immune-boosting nutrients including selenium, zinc, sulfur-compounds and the powerful anti-histamine flavonoid called quercetin. I use sweet onions for this recipe, but you can use any type you have on hand.
- Onions are high in polyphenols, substances that help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
- Onions have a sulfur-containing compound called Onionin A (named after the onion) which is a unique anti-inflammatory molecule. Onionin A inhibits overactivity in the immune system.
- It is worth remembering that onions are a good source of vitamin C and the mineral manganese and provide excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support.
- Several servings of onions each week offer potential protection from cancer and heart disease.
This Japanese salad dressing may become your favorite sauce.
I use this Japanese salad dressing not only for salads, but for a sauce to dip cucumbers, celery, and jicama. I once ate a whole bag of spinach with this dressing. Use it also for a dressing for fish or chicken. Now I share this with you. It’s going to one of your favorites!
If you like this immune-boosting recipe, try my Shitake Mushroom Soup.
1. Ray A, Vasudevan S, Sengupta S. 6-Shogaol Inhibits Breast Cancer Cells and Stem Cell-Like Spheroids by Modulation of Notch Signaling Pathway and Induction of Autophagic Cell Death. PloS one. 2015;10(9):e0137614.
2. Wu CH, Hong BH, Ho CT, Yen GC. Targeting cancer stem cells in breast cancer: potential anticancer properties of 6-shogaol and pterostilbene. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2015;63(9):2432-2441.
Mako Japanese Salad Dressing Recipe
- 4 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 4 tbsp mirin Japanese cooking wine (Try Eden Organic)
- 2 tbsp unrefined sunflower oil or grapeseed oil
- 2 tbsp Coconut Aminos or wheat-free tamari
- 2 medium size carrots chopped
- 4 tbsp sweet onion chopped
- 2-4 tbsp fresh ginger root peeled and chopped
- ½ tsp dark sesame oil
- Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender and mix until smooth and creamy.