Jan 14

Celebrating Simplicity: Quick and Easy Carrot Sesame Salad

in Bento, Fruits & Vegetables, Fuji Favorites, Japanese, Oyatsu/Snack, Recipes By Region, Recipes by Type, Salads

When I think of Japanese cuisine, one of the words that comes to mind is “simple.” Not all Japanese dishes are simple, but many celebrate flavors and ingredients through simplicity. Some of my favorite dishes have relatively few ingredients and focus on highlighting flavors and celebrating certain seasonal ingredients. Leonardo DaVinci is quoted as having said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” I think that Japanese cuisine exhibits this in abundance.
I have recently fallen in love with this quick and simple carrot sesame salad. It is simplicity at its best–light, flavorful, and good for you too! What’s even better is that it takes about 5 minutes to make and Squirrel eats it like it’s candy. The thin crunchy bits of carrot, nuttiness of the sesame oil, and bit of zing from the citrus combine to make this a refreshing dish. The salad can be made ahead of when you are going to serve it–the flavors just get better as the salad sits and marinates for a bit. It makes a wonderful addition to a meal or bento, but is just as good as a healthy afternoon snack.

Carrot Sesame Salad
From Just Bento
Makes 6 small servings

2 medium carrots
3/4 Tbsp. lemon juice, OR 1 Tbsp. ponzu
1/2 tsp. sugar
pinch of dashi granules or konbu powder (you can leave this out)
pinch of salt (omit if you are using dashi granules)
dash of soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil
Optional: some roughly chopped parsley

1. Peel the carrots, and shred them with a coarse grater (see Just Bento for additional information on shredding). Put in a bowl with the chopped parsley.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. The flavor mellows if you can let it rest for an hour or more (overnight is good).

* Drain off some of the juice when packing into a bento box.
* For possible variations see Just Bento.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Bob January 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm

That looks so good! I love carrots and sesame, this recipe is mine now! MINE! Muhahahaha!

er, I mean, thanks. :)


Damaris January 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I’m going to make this right now. It’s lunch time and this is exactly what I want to eat.


Daily Spud January 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I love that soy/sesame/lemon juice combination. I often use something along those lines to dress a salad I make with quinoa and (well, whaddya know) carrots. Lovely.


K and S January 14, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I probably would put the carrots into the food processor and zap them since I don’t have a box grater. Love the dressing for this will have to try it :)


Fuji Mama January 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

K and S– The food processor works great! Nice and fast too. :-)


Kelly January 14, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I would love to make this for Yasu but he won’t eat raw carrot, he says that the vitamin e will be taken away from your body. There’s nothing i can do or say that will make him change his mind :( Japanese people believe weird things sometimes!

Looks yummy though


Fuji Mama January 14, 2009 at 11:49 pm

Kelly–How funny! It’s especially funny considering this recipe comes from someone who is Japanese. It’s amazing how there can be differing beliefs/superstitions based on region!


Melanie Gray Augustin January 15, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Mmm… this does look yummy! I’ll have to try this one.

Reading Kelly’s comment that reminded me that I have had a number of Japanese people say that they can’t/don’t eat raw carrot. With a recipe like this though, it’s obvious that it’s not all over Japan.


Danielle January 15, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I pretty much want to be buried in sesame oil! I’ve been making a carrot salad like this for years and just love it. I have it late at night when I’m craving Asian flavors whilst blogging.
Good for you too!


kawaii crafter January 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

This looks so good. I might try this for lunch if I get the chance.


Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella January 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Hubby would adore this salad and it sounds nice and simple to make yet tasty! :)


gleek January 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm

yum! that sounds delicious!


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