Carrot salad is a refreshing, crunchy, and sweet French-inspired recipe you can serve as a side dish for the holidays or bring to picnics and potlucks.
Learn how to prepare it without mayonnaise and how to make it yours with tasty add-ins. In less than 20 minutes, you'll have a delicious and healthy salad people will love.
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Our raw carrot salad recipe is inspired by a classic French carrot salad (carottes râpées). We make it with crunchy raw shredded carrots, or grated carrots, and a simple mustard vinaigrette.
The best way to shred the carrots is with an electric salad shredded or food processor, but a box grater or a julienne peeler works too.
The beautiful thing about this shredded carrot salad is that the carrots absorb the flavor of the vinaigrette and become super juicy, sweet, and flavorful while retaining their crunch.
Also, we'll show you how to customize this recipe with several delicious add-ins. So pick one or more of our recommendations to make this recipe yours.
Our favorite add-ins are:
- Carrot salad with pineapple
- Apple and carrot salad
- Carrot and raisins salad (also good with chopped dates or dried cranberries)
- Cucumber and carrot salad
- Chickpeas and carrot salad (also good with lentils)
- Creamy carrot salad with plant-based or greek yogurt
- Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- Crumbled feta
- Crushed walnuts, pecans, or shaved almonds.
Anyhow, you'll see that this recipe is super simple and healthy yet packed with flavor.
Even kids will love it because of its naturally sweet taste, bright color, and fun crunch. So let's see how to make it!
Get fresh whole carrots to shred at home; they are far crunchier and juicier than pre-shredded carrots that come in a plastic bag.
There are several ways of shredding carrots. Some use a julienne peeler or a knife to cut the carrot julienne. That's fine; however, we find that julienned carrots, while looking beautiful, are a little too stiff and don't absorb the flavor of the dressing as much as shredded carrots.
Our recommendation is to finely shred the carrots with the fine grating cone attachment of an electric salad shredder.
You can also use a food processor with a shredding disc with small holes.
We make a quick mustard dressing made with:
- Lemon juice: replace it with white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or orange juice for a sweeter dressing.
- Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil is best, but regular olive oil works too.
- Fresh parsley: you can replace it with cilantro (fresh coriander).
- Shallots: you can also use red onion, green onions, and spring onions.
- Ground cumin: it's a key ingredient and should not be replaced.
- Maple syrup: we use maple syrup instead of honey to make this salad suitable for vegans. You can also use agave syrup or regular sugar.
- Dijon mustard: we tried with dijon and regular American mustard; both were delicious.
The dressing is sharp, tangy, slightly sweet, and aromatic. The ground cumin is a perfect flavor match for the carrots, so try to add it. It makes this grated carrot salad very special.
And don't worry, we tested it with all the add-ins variations, and it fits in with every single one.
Pick one or more from:
- Chopped pineapple - to add sweetness and juiciness.
- Cucumber - for crunch and freshness.
- Chopped apples - for tartness, sweetness, and crunch.
- Raisins - for sweetness. You can use regular or golden raisins.
- Chickpeas - to add protein and overall nutrition. You can substitute canned lentils for chickpeas.
- Toasted walnuts, pecan nuts, slivered or shaved almonds, and pine nuts: for crunch, nutty flavor, and healthy fats.
- Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt: we use yogurt instead of mayo to add creaminess and freshness. Our favorite is unsweetened soy yogurt.
- Crumbled feta
- Mixed seeds
We tried these add-ins, and we can guarantee they'll taste delicious with your raw carrot salad.
Please share in the comments below if you come up with your add-ins, and we'll make sure to try them!
Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler. Shred them with the fine grinding cone attachment of an electric salad shredder and add them to a large bowl.
You can also use a food processor with a shredding disc with small holes, a box grater, or a julienne peeler.
Add the ingredients for the dressing to a small jar and shake well: freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, chopped parsley, finely chopped shallots, ground cumin, maple syrup, and mustard.
If you don't have a jar, you can add ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until combined.
Pour the dressing over the shredded carrots, toss well, and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.
To make our variations, first, make our basic carrot salad recipe, then add your favorite add-ins to the carrot mixture.
The mustard dressing works well with all variations, so there is no need to change it unless you want to try something different.
Carrot salad with pineapple
Carrot salad with pineapple is almost as good as dessert, except that it is super healthy and nutritious. The pineapple adds a touch of sweetness and makes the salad even juicier.
To make it, you can use fresh pineapple or canned pineapple (we use canned). Add as much as you like (we usually add half a can) but chop it up before you do so, making small bite-size pineapple chunks.
You can add a couple of tablespoons of pineapple juice from the canned pineapple to make the salad even yummier.
Ps. this is Louise's favorite variation; she does have a sweet tooth.
Carrot salad with apples
This is my (Nico) favorite variation. The apples add crunch, a little sweetness, and a slightly tart flavor that makes the whole salad pop in your mouth.
First, slice the apples into wedges, then each wedge into thin slices. The trick with this salad is to toss the apple pieces in lemon juice before adding them to the shredded carrots.
Apple turns brown quickly, and tossing it in lemon juice slows the oxidation process, and your salad will look prettier.
You could toss in a handful of raisins to add sweetness to this one.
Carrot salad with raisins and walnuts
This is a classic variation made by adding a handful (¼ cup) of raisins to our basic carrot salad recipe.
To jazz it up, we also like to add crushed walnuts; they taste delicious with carrots and raisins and remind us of a tasty carrot cake.
If you'd like to try this carrot and raisin salad with a different dressing, then you can replace the lemon juice in the dressing with orange juice. The salad will be sweeter and very aromatic.
This one is also delicious with Greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt added to make it more similar to an old-fashioned grandma salad.
Carrot and chickpea salad
Carrot and chickpea salad has a Mediterranean twist thanks to the chickpeas. For this one, we use a 15-oz can of chickpeas, a couple of tablespoons of toasted shaved almonds, and a handful of raisins.
We love to have this as a quick and healthy lunch or even for a brunch buffet with our tofu scramble and avocado spread with some crusty focaccia bread.
Carrot cucumber salad
Carrots and cucumbers are great together, and we often pair them as we did in our cucumber and tomato salad.
We love adding cucumber because it freshens things while adding a nice crunch to the shredded carrot salad. You can use garden cucumbers, English cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers.
You can peel the cucumber or leave the peel on; that's up to you. To chop it, slice it in half lengthwise first, then in half again, and finally chop into small bite-size pieces.
To make this variation a little more interesting, add other add-ins such as chickpea, raisins, and toasted slivered almonds.
Creamy carrot salad
Add a few tablespoons of greek yogurt or unsweetened plant-based yogurt to make this salad more similar to an old-fashioned carrot salad with mayonnaise.
The yogurt makes it super creamy and refreshing. We also add crips, apples, and golden raisins to this variation to add that tart and sour slaw flavor and texture.
The best way to serve this French carrot salad is as part of a salad buffet, potluck, or brunch buffet with other delicious salad recipes such as:
- Creamy green bean salad
- Avocado pasta salad
- Moroccan carrot salad (with garlic, cumin, and lentils)
- Couscous salad with crunchy veggies
- Avocado Spread
- Moroccan eggplant salad (Zaalouk)
- Crusty sourdough bread
We love loading our plate with three or four salads and having them as a tasty lunch.
Alternatively, you can serve the carrot salad as a side dish to various mains. We put together a roundup post with our best easy vegan dinners for you to choose from.
Keep carrot salad leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 36 hours. The next day the salad will be a little less crunchy, but it'll still be delicious.
A classic carrot salad is made of shredded carrots dressed in a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, parsley, chopped shallots, cumin, and optionally mustard and maple syrup.
Carrot salad (without mayonnaise) is good for you because carrots are packed with fiber and antioxidants that offer a wealth of health benefits such as:
- they are good for your eyes
- they can lower your risk of cancer
- are good for the heart
- support your immune system
- help in controlling diabetes
- reduce constipation
- and more.
Carrot salad is best when fresh, after cooling it in the fridge for up to 2 hours. After that, it loses texture and moisture as time passes.
For these reasons, we recommend prepping the carrot salad not more than half a day in advance.
More Carrot Recipes
If you have surplus carrots in your fridge, or simply like cooking with carrots, have a look at the carrot-packed recipes:
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- 1 pound carrots
- 1 tablespoon mustard Dijon or American
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup 100% pure
- 3 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
OPTIONAL ADD-INS (pick one or more)
- 1 apple sliced
- 5 slices pineapple canned or fresh in small chunks
- ½ cucumber chopped
- 1 can (15oz) chickpeas or lentils
- ¼ cup raisins or chopped dates, or dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup walnuts or pecans, slivered almonds, or pine nuts
- ½ cup greek yogurt or plant-based yogurt
- 3½ ounces feta crumbled
- 2 tablespoons seeds
- Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler. Shred them with the fine grinding cone attachment of an electric salad shredder and add them to a large bowl.You can also use a food processor with a shredding disc with small holes, a box grater, or a julienne peeler.
- Add the ingredients for the dressing to a small jar and shake well: freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, chopped parsley, finely chopped shallots, ground cumin, maple syrup, and mustard.
- If you don't have a jar, you can add ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until combined.
- Pour the dressing over the shredded carrots, toss well, and let the flavors meld in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.
- To make a variation, first, make the basic carrot salad recipe, then add your favorite add-ins to the carrot mixture. You can mix and match one or more add-ins.The mustard dressing works well with all variations, so there is no need to change it.
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