This Carrot Salad requires the simplest of ingredients but packs a punch! The recipe I’m bringing to you today is an all-time classic that’s incredibly quick and easy to whip up.
It’s the perfect side dish for any and every occasion, and surprisingly goes well with so many dishes!
Read along to find out how to make this recipe, and also tips to find the best carrots, and other variations to make this recipe your next family favorite!
What Makes this Carrot Salad So Special?
You’re probably wondering, Muna, why on earth are you so excited about this Carrot Salad? After all, it’s probably just grated carrots tossed with a simple vinaigrette, right?
Nope, that couldn’t be further from the truth! This Carrot Salad is incredibly refreshing and actually does not contain a vinaigrette at all!
We will add a ton of flavor to this salad with the help of mayo, apples, and raisins! What’s best is that this salad is so versatile that you can change up a few things to make it go with just about anything!
Stick around till the end of this post to read how to make this the best side dish for Christmas or even Easter!
I’ve taken this to picnics, packed it for work, and even served it at family dinners. Not only has it been a favorite for adults, but kids seem to absolutely love it too – which is a win-win if you ask me!
Tips to Find the Best Carrots for this Salad
You can definitely pick any carrots you come across! But I’m sure once you give this recipe a go, you’ll want to start experimenting with it and make it even more special.
If that’s the case, then I suggest visiting your local farmer’s market or looking for some organic carrots. Since carrots are root vegetables, they taste even better when they’re grown in compost-rich soil. It only jam packs extra nutrients in them!
If you’re wondering why some carrots tend to be more orange, while others are redder, or even purple, then that has to do with their mix of nutrients!
Orange carrots tend to have lots of beta-carotene, while red carrots tend to have more lycopene (surprise, surprise – it’s the same nutrient we find in tomatoes!).
Regardless of which ones you come across, they’ll be a subtle difference in flavor and they’ll have packed a punch when it comes to nutrients!
How to Prep the Carrots
We need shredded carrots for this recipe, but if you’re looking for an extra crunch you can also julienne them instead.
Here I’ve listed four options you have – starting with the least labor-intensive option and moving upwards. Whichever one you pick, you’ll have the most delicious carrot salad ever by the end of it!
- Food Processor: Probably the easiest option, just attach the grating blade to your processor before using it. Feed carrots through the hole on the top and you’ll have grated carrots in no time.
- Box Grater: You can also use a box grater! Use the side with the large holes and grate away!
- Handheld Peeler: You can use a handheld julienne peeler, though it will definitely be more work than the other two options above.
- Using a Knife: This is definitely the most labor-intensive way of going about it, but you’ll probably get the best julienne cut ever!
What You Need to Make Carrot Salad at Home
You only need six ingredients to make this salad! And this includes salt and pepper!! Here’s what you need to get going:
Carrots: I’ve used 1 ½ cups of shredded carrots for this recipe. Read my tips section above to read more on how to pick the best carrots, and also how to shred them!
Apple: I particularly love using green apples for this recipe. They add a delicious tartness to the salad and go well with the sweetness of the carrots.
Raisins: I love raisins in this salad! I soaked the raisins in hot water for 5 minutes before tossing them with all the other ingredients. Raisins bring out the sweetness of the carrots incredibly well.
Mayonnaise: This makes up the base of the dish. I’ve used ¼ cup in this recipe. It makes everything incredibly creamy, while the carrots and apples add an incredible crunch.
Salt and Pepper: You only need a pinch of salt and pepper in this salad to bring out all the flavors.
How to Make Carrot Salad at Home
This has got to be the easiest method I’ve ever explained on my blog!
All you need to do is prep the ingredients and toss them together in a large bowl. I recommend refrigerating the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving as it’s best served cold.
How Can I Make this Salad Ahead of Time?
Are you prepping for a holiday dinner? Or have guests coming home for dinner and want to prep the side dish ahead of time? Well, I’ve got you covered then!
You can make this salad ahead of time as it keeps well in the fridge for an hour or two. This salad really is the famous coleslaw’s cousin if you ask me!
If you’re looking to make it further ahead of time, then I recommend you grate the apples, prep the apples, and then toss them with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This will prevent them from browning.
Add the mayo and soaked raisins before serving!
Variations Idea for this Carrot Salad Recipe
There are a ton of different variations you can do with this salad recipe to customize it to your flavor palate. Let’s look at them one by one:
- If you want to substitute the mayo, you can use Greek yogurt and add a little bit of honey to it.
- If you’re looking to give it a holiday twist, substitute the raisins for some dried cranberries instead.
- Don’t want to add cranberries or raisins? Then go for some chopped dates and trust me you’ll become a fan!
- To make it have a more savory flavor, you can also add some garlic, cumin, and chopped onions.
- Chopped fresh parsley goes incredibly well with this carrot and adds a beautiful color contrast.
- Some chopped fresh or drained canned pineapple is another incredible option to try in this salad.
- Add some nuts if you’re looking for an extra crunchy texture. Chopped walnuts, pecans and pistachio go well with these flavors.
- To change things up, I love making this salad tangier by adding a teaspoon of Dijon mustard or lemon juice to the recipe.
- Want a French variation instead? To make a French carrot salad, substitute the mayo and raisins for honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh parsley mixture. You can also add some protein to the recipe by including garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in this variation. This is a super popular way of having this carrot salad in France.
- For a Moroccan Carrot Salad, ditch the mayo and go for an olive oil and lemon juice dressing instead. Add some spices to give it a Mediterranean spin by adding cumin, harissa spice blend, and paprika. This really is a delicious combination. Top it off with some finely chopped coriander.
Other Recipes You’ll Love
Coleslaw: Looking for Carrot Salad’s cousin? This Coleslaw recipe is incredibly easy and absolutely delicious! I share the recipe for the perfect dressing too – you have got to give it a go!
Southern Potato Salad: Rich, creamy, and absolutely scrumptious – who doesn’t love a good potato salad? This recipe is a Southern favorite, and I’m sure you’ll love it!
Avocado Chicken Salad: Looking for a healthy, yet filling salad that can keep you full for a long time? Then this is the one for you! Try it out, it might just become your new favorite!
Classic Carrot Salad Recipe – Quick and Easy
- 1 ½ cup shredded carrot
- ½ green apple chopped or shredded
- ¼ cup raisins soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder
- In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, salt, and black pepper, mix well.
- Add the carrot and the shredded or chopped apples and mix until combined.
- Now it is time to add the soaked and drained riasins and after mixing it with the ingredients cover the salad and refregirate for at least 20 minutes before serving.
- Always taste the carrot before using it in making the salad, some have a little bitter taste if old.
- The type of apples to use in this recipe is the green apple because of the crunch and taste, the sweet apples like Gala, will give a softer texture and add more sugar to the salad.
- You don't have to add sugar to this salad, a balanced sweetness comes from the carrot, apple, and raisins.
- The serving is for 2 people but of course, you can double the ingredients. This salad is great with steak.
- This post was originally published in 2017 and is updated with better images and a video.