Carrot Raisin Salad
This vibrant and refreshing Carrot Raisin Salad recipe is full of flavor and simple to prepare. It’s a great make-ahead dish, as it only gets better as it sits. If you’re looking for a delicious side dish that holds up well for picnics, potlucks, and parties, this is the recipe for you. It only takes 10 minutes to make!
I absolutely adore picnics and do them often in the summer. I even have a post for Picnic & Potluck Recipes so I can quickly scan through ideas for what I’d like to pack.
I love the marriage of eating a meal with spending time outside, and I think there is something so restorative about it for the body and soul.
Does it sound a bit romantic? Maybe. But if you ask me, picnicking is totally underrated as an activity. It’s free but still manages to feel so special.
Lately I’ve been making a personal effort to come up with more fresh salad and vegetable ideas, and this Carrot Raisin Salad is one of my new favorite dishes. It’s perfect picnic and party food, as it keeps really well, but is also really refreshing to eat in warm weather.
You can also serve it at a party in a big decorative bowl, or in little party glasses. I made it for Thanksgiving last year and it was a huge hit at the dinner table.
This carrot salad recipe is certainly worthy of entertaining, and so beautiful, vibrant, fresh and flavorful. Everyone always devours it, and it’s a great way to incorporate more healthy eating in the form of delicious salads.
Tips for Best Results
Use curly parsley – Most of the time I choose flat-leaf parsley over curly, but for this dish I think the curly parsley looks better and also provides a more interesting texture. If you can’t find it, using flat-leaf is fine too!
Toast the pine nuts – Toasting nuts is one of those tasks that I always grumble inside about doing because of the extra step, but I always do it because it makes a massive difference in texture and flavor. It’s worth it.
Let it sit – While the carrot raisin salad can be enjoyed right away upon making it, I like to let it sit for an hour, so the flavors can meld together more.
Step by Step Overview:
To make the dressing, combine extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, ground cinnamon, paprika, ground cumin, a pinch of salt, and black pepper in a large bowl:
Not that I have anything against mayonnaise, but it’s nice to have this carrot and raisin salad without mayo. The spices and carrots shine through a bit more that way.
Whisk until smooth:
Next, shred a pound of carrots. I like to remove the carrot peels first with a vegetable peeler, but if they look clean after washing, you don’t have to.
I like to do this in the food processor with the shredding disk (the grating blade is likely too fine):
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a box grater (though it’s more time consuming), or purchase pre-shredded carrots from the store in the bagged veggies section.
Also, feel free to use rainbow carrots here for a variety of colors, if you wish. I love doing that when I make Roasted Carrots, though here I like the classic look of the orange and the pops of color from the raisins and parsley.
Add the shredded carrots to the dressing, along with raisins, toasted pine nuts, and fresh parsley:
Go Fancy with the Raisins
This recipe works great with the standard, smaller raisins that you find at any grocery store. However, feel free to go fancy with the raisins if you’d like! You can try a medley, use jumbo golden raisins or flame raisins, or whatever variety you prefer. Trader Joe’s has some great choices.
Also, while I insist on using pine nuts as the superior nut to add here, toasted walnuts would be my second choice. They’re good too.
Toss all the ingredients together:
Like most non-lettuce salads, the carrot salad is best when it has been allowed to sit for at least an hour, so the flavors can meld together. You’ll find that the flavors coat the grated carrots pretty well.
However, it can certainly be enjoyed right away as well!
Recipe Tips and FAQ
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The raw carrot will lose its freshness after that.
Not recommended, since this is a raw preparation. The texture will not come out well upon thawing.
I know pine nuts are expensive, but they are SO worth it here. You only use 1/3 cup, and of all the nut choices, they are the superior choice for flavor and texture. However, my second choice would be toasted walnuts.
For a less sweet alternative, you can replace the 2 tablespoons of honey with orange juice, pineapple juice, or even pineapple tidbits. You can also substitute maple syrup. The fruit options will give a more subtle sweetness that accentuates the natural sweet flavor in the carrots.
Carrot Raisin Salad
- 1 lb carrots
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil*
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped curly parsley
- Wash and peel the carrots, then shred them using the shredding disk of a food processor. You could also use a grater but that might take a while.
- In a large bowl, whisk to combine the olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, cinnamon, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add the shredded carrots, pine nuts, raisins, and parsley. Toss well to coat.
- If possible, let the dish rest for an hour before serving, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator, so the flavors can meld. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.