This easy carrot salad is a refreshing, crunchy, and versatile recipe you can serve as a holiday side dish or bring to picnics and potlucks.

This recipe is inspired by French carrot salad and combines sweet elements into an otherwise savory dish.

The result is a vibrant, exciting, and colorful carrot salad with the perfect balance between savory, sweet, and tangy.

Carrot salad in a white bowl with pineapple

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fat.

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What is carrot salad?

carrot raisin salad with chickpeas and almonds

Our raw carrot salad recipe is inspired by a classic French carrot salad recipe called carottes râpées.

Unlike our Moroccan carrot salad and lentil carrot salad where we cook the carrots, here we use crunchy, raw, freshly grated carrots and a simple but flavor-packed, creamy mustard dressing.

It’s the same dressing you loved in our lentil salad, green bean salad, cauliflower lentil salad, and chickpea salad.

Overall, the recipe will remind you of our creamy coleslaw and broccoli salad because of the crunchy texture of the raw vegetables.

The beauty of this shredded carrot salad is that the carrots absorb the dressing’s flavor and become juicy, sweet, and tasty while retaining a nice crunch.

carrot salad

You’ll love this recipe because it uses simple ingredients without mayonnaise and can be customized to your taste by adding your favorite add-ins.

Our tip? Add something sweet, like apples, raisins, or even better pineapple pieces.

This carrot salad recipe makes a delicious side dish for a weeknight dinner with the whole family, potlucks, or barbeque.

You can also serve it next to a special holiday main, such as roasted butternut squash, lentil loaf, or mushroom Wellington.

It’s the perfect side to add color, flavor, and crunch!

Ingredients and substitutions for carrot salad

ingredients for carrot salad

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Carrots

Get fresh whole orange carrots to shred at home; they are crunchier and juicier than pre-shredded carrots in a plastic bag.

There are several ways of shredding carrots.

Some use a julienne peeler or a knife to cut the carrot into julienne strips.

That’s fine; however, julienned carrots, while looking beautiful, are a little too stiff for this carrot salad recipe and don’t absorb the flavor of the dressing as much as freshly grated carrots.

We recommend finely shredding 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.

Shallots

They add a nice tang to the salad. They should be finely chopped.

Substitute red onion or green onions for shallots.

Fresh parsley

Fresh parsley adds freshness and a light, herby flavor.

Substitute fresh cilantro for parsley.

Mustard Dressing

Honey mustard dressing and spoon
  • Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil is best, but regular olive oil works too.
  • Lemon juice: freshly squeezed. Substitute red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or orange juice for lemon juice.
  • Ground cumin: it’s a key ingredient and should not be replaced. If you don’t like cumin, you can omit it, but we recommend trying at least a small amount.
  • Maple syrup: substitute honey, agave syrup, or sugar.
  • Mustard: we tried it with Dijon mustard and American mustard; both were delicious.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

The dressing is 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.

We tested it with all the add-in variations we recommend here, and it fits in with every single one.

Optional Add-ins

carrot salad add-ins

Pick one or more from:

  • Chopped pineapple – to add sweetness and juiciness (this is our favorite)
  • Cucumber – for crunch and freshness.
  • Chopped apples – for tartness, sweetness, and crunch.
  • Raisins or dried cranberries – 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, pumpkin seeds, 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 all the add-ins listed above, and we can guarantee they’ll taste delicious with your raw carrot salad recipe.

Please share in the comments below if you come up with more, and we’ll make sure to try them!

carrot salad with apples

How to make carrot salad

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

1. Prep the vegetables

Peel the carrots with a vegetable peeler.

Grate the carrots with:

  • A food processor with a shredding disc with small holes.
  • A box grater.
  • The fine grinding cone attachment of an electric salad shredder.
  • A julienne peeler.

Add the shredded carrots to a large bowl.

shredded carrots

Finely chop the shallot and the parsley.

Tip: If you add one or more of our recommended add-ins, you can prep those too. This is how we like to cut them.

carrot salad add-ins

2. Make the dressing

To a small bowl, add extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, ground cumin, maple syrup, mustard, salt, and black pepper.

Whisk fast until emulsified.

Tip: Alternatively, add the ingredients to a small mason jar, close it, and shake it until combined.

dressing in a bowl

3. Mix the salad

Pour the dressing over the shredded carrots, add chopped parsley and shallots, then toss well.

Let the flavors meld by refrigerating the carrot salad for 15 minutes and up to 2 hours before serving.

simple carrot salad

Serving suggestions

Here’s our favorite plant protein to go with it. It’s delicious with:

Another way to serve this French carrot salad is with pita bread or focaccia, part of a salad buffet, potluck, or brunch buffet with other delicious salad recipes such as:

Alternatively, you can serve the carrot salad as a side dish to various mains such as:

For more ideas, we put together a roundup post with our best easy vegan dinners for you to choose from.

Variations with add-ins

Carrot salad with pineapple

carrot salad with pineapple

Carrot salad with pineapple is so tasty, 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). Chop it into small bite-size pineapple chunks.

To make the salad even yummier, add a couple of tablespoons of pineapple juice from the canned pineapple.

Ps. This is Louise’s favorite variation; she does have a sweet tooth.

Carrot salad with apples

carrot salad with apples

This is my (Nico) favorite variation.

The apples add a nice crunch, sweetness, and a slightly tart flavor, making the whole salad pop.

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; tossing it in lemon juice slows oxidation, 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

carrot and raisins salad

This is a classic variation made by adding a handful (1/4 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 our delicious carrot cake recipe.

If you want to try this carrot and raisin salad with a different dressing, you can replace the lemon juice with orange juice.

The salad will be sweeter and very aromatic.

This is also delicious, with Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt stirred into it to make it more like an old-fashioned grandma salad.

Carrot and chickpea salad

carrot and chickpea salad

Carrot and chickpea salad has a Mediterranean twist thanks to the chickpeas.

We use a 15-oz can of chickpeas (230 grams drained), a couple of tablespoons of toasted 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

carrot salad

Carrots and cucumbers are great together, and we often pair them as we did in our cucumber and tomato salad.

We love adding cucumbers because they freshen things while adding a nice crunch to the shredded carrot salad.

You can use garden cucumbers, English cucumbers, or Persian cucumbers.

Peel the cucumber or leave the peel on; that’s up to you.

To chop it, first slice it in half lengthwise, then in half again, and finally chop it into small bite-size pieces.

Add other ingredients, such as chickpeas, raisins, and toasted slivered almonds, to make this variation more interesting.

Creamy carrot salad

carrot raisin salad with mayo

Add a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt or unsweetened non-dairy 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.

Questions

What is carrot salad made of?

A classic carrot salad consists of shredded carrots in a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, pepper, parsley, chopped shallots, cumin, mustard, and maple syrup.

Why is carrot salad good for you?

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.

Can I make carrot salad ahead of time?

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.

Therefore, we recommend prepping the carrot salad not more than half a day in advance.

Storage & make ahead

Make ahead: For the best flavor and texture, we recommend making this salad up to 2 hours before serving it. It lasts longer than that in the fridge, but the texture degrades after a couple of hours.

Refrigerator: Keep carrot salad leftovers in an airtight container for two days.

Freezer: This recipe is not suitable for freezing.

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:

Looking for more ideas? Check out our compilation with 20+ delicious carrot recipes.

More Salad Recipes

Carrot salad with apple, parsley and raisins in a bowl

Carrot Salad

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 5 votes
This easy carrot salad is a refreshing, crunchy, and versatile recipe you can serve as a holiday side dish or bring to picnics and potlucks.
This recipe is inspired by French carrot salad and combines sweet elements into an otherwise savory dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Appetizer, Brunch, salad
Cuisine: American, French, International

Equipment

  • Food processor with a shredding disc attachment or a box grater, julienne peeler, or an electric salad shredder with fine grinding cone attachment.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots
  • ¼ cup parsley finely chopped
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 5 slices pineapple canned or fresh, cut into chunks (optional)

DRESSING

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or American
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • teaspoon black pepper

Instructions 

  • Finely chop 1 shallot and ¼ cup parsley.
    Peel, then grate 1 pound carrots with:
    Food processor with a shredding disc with small holes.
    Box grater.
    – Fine grinding cone attachment of an electric salad shredder.
    Julienne peeler.
    Add veggies to a bowl.
    shredded carrots
  • Chop 5 slices pineapple into bite size chunks. Add to bowl.
    Tip: Substitute pineapple with your favorite add-ins.
    See "Variations" chapter linked in the notes below for more ideas.
    carrot salad add-ins
  • To a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper.
    Whisk fast until emulsified.
    simple carrot salad
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss well.
    Let the flavors meld by refrigerating for 15 minutes up to 2 hours before serving.
    carrot salad with pineapple

MAKE IT A MEAL

  • Make this carrot salad a meal by adding a can of chickpeas and serving it with warm pita bread.
    carrot salad with chickpeas

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 large serving of carrot salad out of 4 servings.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make ahead: For the best flavor and texture, we recommend making this salad up to 2 hours before serving it. It lasts longer than that in the fridge, but the texture degrades after a couple of hours.
Refrigerator: Keep carrot salad leftovers in an airtight container for two days.
Freezer: This recipe is not suitable for freezing.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 549mg, Dietary Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 19328IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 65mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 84µg, Calcium: 70mg, Folate: 50µg, Iron: 1mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 34mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I absolutely love your recipes and the way that you present them – so tempting and mouth watering. Thank you

    1. Hi Carol-Anne,
      Thanks so much for your heartwarming comment, it means a lot to us that our recipes are appealing.
      Have a wonderful day ahead and all the best from both of us.
      Louise