Zingy Ginger Dressing


I know this is going to sounds kind of crazy because who picks A SALAD DRESSING MADE OF VEGETABLES as their favorite recipe?!

But… this is (one of) my favorite recipe(s) from Well Fed 2. Every time I make it, I’m, like, “Whoa! This is good.”

If you don’t have Well Fed 2, consider this a present so you can try my favorite recipe. If you are a proud owner of Well Fed 2, I’ve included some delicious salad combos below that I’ve been eating so you can love them, too.

Have you ever eaten in one of those Japanese steakhouses where the chef cooks your meal right at the grill table in front of you, and he tries to entertain you by tossing his cleaver and flicking a shrimp tail into someone’s pocket and building a miniature, steaming volcano out of onion slices, and all you can think about is how to get the waitress to bring you another salad with that amazingly gingery dressing on iceberg lettuce? This is the homemade version of that dressing.


Zingy Ginger Dressing

Makes 1 1/2 cups | Prep 10 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 1/2 cup light tasting olive oil (not extra virgin!)

  • 1/4 cup rice or cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos or homemade substitute

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled and smashed

  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to reach your desired consistency.


Allow the flavors to meld about 10 minutes before eating. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Tasty Ideas

Unlike a vinaigrette, this dressing works best if you dollop it on top of stuff, instead of tossing it.


Tasty Basic Salad: shredded iceberg lettuce, diced cucumbers, diced red bell peppers, lots of salt and pepper


Chopped Veggie Salad: diced cucumber, scallion, bell pepper, hearts of palm, parsley


Asian Chopped Salad: diced cucumbers, scallions, red bell pepper, shredded red cabbage, cilantro, sesame seeds


Shrimp Cocktail: use as a dipping sauce for cold steamed shrimp instead of traditional cocktail sauce (Works with crab and lobster, too!)


Chicken Plate: use as a dipping sauce for cold roast or grilled chicken strips, green and red bell peppers, cucumbers, cold steamed broccoli


Creamy Zingy Ginger Dressing: mix this dressing with some homemade mayo to make a creamy version and use in all the same ways

Print this recipe
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  • Super excited to get my blender next week to make this! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Thanks for posting this. I made it last winter out of Well Fed 2, and loved it, but then forgot about it. I made it again today and put it on my blackened salmon tacos. Delicious! I just wish I had a better food processor or blender to get it smoother, but the flavor is excellent!

  • Jenny says:

    Delicious! Freshly harvested ginger on offer at farmers’ market for next couple of weeks. Will have to get some and make this. Sounds delicious.

  • Sharon says:

    Just wondering what ‘coconut aminos or homemade substitute’ is.

    I’ll ask at the Health Food store next time I am in town. Is there a common cupboard ingredient that can be used as a substitute?

    Just beginning my journey into clean eating 🙂

    Thank you for your blog, Melissa 🙂

  • Sherry says:

    I KNOW what you mean about the salad dressings at Japanese restaurants. I’m glad to have a recipe, now, that won’t wreck my eating plan.

  • Was just thinking about how pathetic my sauce selections are right now. Making this!

  • Paparazzi says:

    I made this tonight and it was MAGICAL!! I’ve also made several other recipes from the site and your books- thank you for these because they have been amazing. In fact, the Slow-Cooker Italian Pork, it was so good last week that it was requested as our Thanksgiving meal.

  • Erin says:

    I have been looking for easy ways to spice up weekday meals and this dressing totally fits the bill! It took five minutes to whip up and tastes phenomenonal! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Jeannette says:

    I made a double batch of this for the first time today. I doubt it is going to last me the week. I want to eat it on its own. I made some for a work colleague…should I keep it for myself or share the goodness? 🙂

  • julie says:

    YESYESYES!!! Thank you for the wonderfulness.

  • egytee says:

    hey, how long this dressing can stay in the fridge?

  • Molly says:

    Wow! I made this last night for salad this week. Perfection! It fits my health philosophy – Eat like you love yourself and Move like you love yourself. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Christina says:

    Hi! This sounds excellent. I am going to make this over the weekend while prepping for my and my husband’s first attempt at the Whole30. Question on this recipe though: if we are throwing everything in the food processor anyway, why grate the ginger first? Just curious. Love your site by the way! I have a feeling I will be returning here often. Thanks!

    • Ginger is pretty tough and stringy, and I’m not sure that a food processor/blender blade will survive trying to grate the ginger. If you know that you’re food processor can handle it, go for it! But I know mine would never make it through 😉

  • Lisa joy says:

    Made this yesterday in the vitamix. I think my 9 ate about half the bottle already.

  • Lisa O. says:

    This was so good! Thanks!

  • Amanda says:

    I LOVE this recipe but it never turns out very smooth and gets even tougher in the fridge. I have a low-end food processor. I wonder would steaming the carrots first make it get smoother?

    • That will work, but I’d recommend just steaming them for a short time so the flavor doesn’t get dull. Maybe 3-4 minutes instead of the 5-7 it would take for them to be cooked all the way through. Let me know how it turns out!

  • Deborah says:


    I was completely paleo for almost 5 years – Well Fed was my favorite go-to for weekly meal prep. I was deployed to Afghanistan from 2013-2014 and saw some really horrific things. When I returned home last year I decided to live a more compassionate life and one of the major changes I made was eating. I now eat a vegan diet out of compassion for all living creatures (haters are gonna hate here) but I couldn’t give up Well Fed and still make many of the recipes with a few modifications to fit my plant based diet. I’m so excited to try this recipe, its blended up and melding on my counter right now! I just wanted you to know that paleo meets vegan in my kitchen, many times thanks to you! Warmest regards-

    • Thank you for your service! I’m sorry you can’t wipe the terrible memories from you mind. I’m glad you’re finding ways to make Well Fed work for you! Many of the recipes can be adapted using meat substitutes; let me know if I can help. I’ve made a lot of the recipes for vegetarian friends.

  • Amanda says:

    This looks delicious! How would dry ginger compare instead of fresh?

  • Mardee says:

    I’m going to try this tonight but was wondering what difference it makes if you use cider vinegar as opposed to rice vinegar? They both have very distinct tastes, and I’m curious what you usually use (I have both in my house so could go either way).

    By the way, I just bought WellFed2 and am happily pouring over the recipes. It’s been a month since I started doing paleo and I credit my stick-with-it-ness solely to you and your recipes. So thanks for the 12 lbs I’ve lost in the last 4 weeks! You rock!

    • Hi, Mardee! I like to use rice vinegar because it tastes more Asian, but I’ve used cider vinegar in a pinch, and it’s good, too. If you have both, I vote for rice vinegar.

      Thank you for buying our cookbook! Congratulations on your weight loss success — I bet you’re feeling great physically and mentally. YAY for you!

  • Katia says:

    I will definitely try this! For the rice vinegar, should it be the unseasoned kind?

  • Katia says:

    That’s what I thought! What about brown rice vinegar?

    • I’ve never used brown rice vinegar, but I assume it should be fine. I’ve also made this with cider vinegar, which works great! White wine vinegar would also work. (And now, “vinegar” looks totally weird when I type it 😉

  • Pauline Ely says:

    Thank you, Mel, once again for sharing your great ideas. I’m abysmal at coming up with salad combos and this is perfect!

  • Catherine says:

    The. Best. Thing. Since. Bacon.

    You have shot to the top of my goddess list. As winter approaches and the availability of fresh, local, leafy produce dwindles to buckets of tough salad greens from Costco, I dread trying to come up with something bright and exciting to dress the salad with.
    You e done that for me.

    This is such a simple recipe and open to so many additions and substitutions! Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Catherine says:

    My husband says, “it rocks the show! “

  • This is one of my favourite recipes from Well Fed 2 and I am excited to be making it again. I like to use black (fermented) garlic in this because it gives a miso-like earthiness to the finished product. This stuff makes me greedy for salad!

  • Muriel says:

    Love this recipe, it taste so creamy… wow. Love your site. Paleo is not common in the Netherlands. So like to find my inspiration on the internet.

  • Morten says:

    OMG this thing! I first made it 2½ years ago and wasn’t really impressed but I’ve made it twice in the last three weeks and it’s amazingly good!

    The ways I think I screwed up the last time: not boiling the carrots until tender all the way through, not grating the ginger before-hand (I’m lazy but it’s easier with frozen ginger), using a food processor instead of a blender (you really have to destroy the ingredients to make the smooth emulsion).

    Other tips: two cloves of garlic makes it garlicky – I prefer the original recipe even though I love garlic. Skip pepper because it’s prettier in a clear orange and it doesn’t change the flavour that much. And it works without adding salt so it’s a good low-sodium recipe (I am aware that not all things work without salt added: meats, soups, sauces, roast veggies).

    Oops, just noticed that this recipe says raw carrots and food processor. Maybe I was just drunk the first time I made it. But these are good modifications, try them out. Thank you for making this recipe Mel!

  • Mike Busing says:

    OMG.. amazing. I used this to top Paleo Chicken Lettuce Wraps!! I added a 1/2 t of sesame oil, to give a little extra depth.

  • I made this today in my Blendtec for some salads, and I have to say I was amazed. I accidentally used 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, and was too lazy to grate the ginger (so I just threw it in chopped), but luckily it didn’t seem to hurt it any 🙂 excellent dressing.