This vibrant and refreshing Carrot Raisin Salad 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!

Carrot Raisin Salad - On a Blue Plate with Fork

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. The salad is worthy of entertaining, and so beautiful, vibrant, fresh and flavorful. I recently had my little brother and a few friends over, and everyone devoured it.

Carrot and Raisin Salad - With Parsley On Top of Blue Plate

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, salt, and pepper:

Olive Oil, Mustard, and Spices in Bowl with Whisk

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:

Whisked Carrot Salad Dressing in Glass Bowl

Next, shred a pound of carrots. I like to do this in the food processor with the shredding disk:

Shredded Fresh Carrots in Food Processor Bowl

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:

Shredded Carrots in Bowl with Pine Nuts, Raisins, and Curly 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 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:

Grated Carrot Salad in Bowl with Raisins and Parsley

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. However, it can certainly be enjoyed right away!

Suggested Pairings

This is a great fresh side dish to enjoy with other light dishes like bruschetta chicken and tabbouleh. The flavors in this Carrot and Raisin Salad also go beautifully with lamb. Try it with Leg of Lamb, Rack of Lamb, or Braised Lamb Shanks.

For more picnic and potluck-friendly dishes, try Caprese Pasta Salad, Salmon Salad, Cranberry Chicken Salad, or this delicious Egg Salad. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips and FAQ

How do you store Carrot Raisin Salad?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Can you freeze Carrot Salad with Raisins?

Not recommended, since this is a raw preparation. The texture will not come out well upon thawing.

Can you substitute the pine nuts?

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.

Did you enjoy the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page.

Carrot Raisin Salad On a Blue Plate with Fork

Carrot Raisin Salad

This gorgeously vibrant Carrot Raisin Salad is full of flavor and simple to prepare. It’s a great make-ahead dish too, as it only gets better as it sits.
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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

*Use a fruity and sweet olive oil. Don’t use a bitter or robust one like an Arbequina.
Storing leftovers: Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezing: Not recommended.
Nut Choices: Pine nuts are the superior choice here, however toasted walnuts would also pair nicely.
How to toast nuts: Spread the nuts out on a sheet pan and place into a 350F oven. Timing will vary depending on the size of the nuts. Pine nuts should only take 3-5 minutes (watch them closely for burning), whereas walnuts usually take closer to 6-8 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then they are ready to use.

Nutrition

Calories: 334kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 397mg, Potassium: 662mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 20280IU, Vitamin C: 27.6mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 2.4mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.