TIP OF THE DAY:Carrot Salad Recipes International Carrot Day - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY:Carrot Salad Recipes International Carrot Day
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TIP OF THE DAY: Carrot Salad Recipes For International Carrot Day

April 4th is International Carrot Day.

Most people we know eat carrots relatively often, but hows about carrot salad?

Many of us grew up with carrot salad with raisins, celery and mayonnaise.

It was delicious, but it’s fallen out of fashion.

Here’s a way to revive the concept, with fun variations.

The idea here is a DIY carrot salad, where everyone at the table or buffet can customize a version.

You create the basic carrot-raisin salad, and provide toppings or mix-ins for customization.

Option #1: For a gourmet touch, buy different colors of carrots (photo #4). You can often buy them bundled: orange, purple, red and yellow.

Option #2: Instead of grating the carrots, use a spiralizer or peeler to make ribbons (photo #2). If you do so, cut the other vegetables in proportion (i.e., larger pieces).

Option #3: Some people add pineapple, but for this “mix in” approach, it adds too much sweetness.

Option #4: Instead of a mayonnaise-sour cream dressing, consider a Dijon vinaigrette or Moroccan dressing (recipe below).
Ingredients For 8 Side Servings

For The Carrot Salad

  • 4 cups shredded carrots (8 large, 12 medium carrots)
  • 3/4 cup raisins, sultanas (golden raisins*) or dried cranberries
    For The Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar†
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    For The DIY Mix-Ins

  • Apple matchsticks
  • Capers
  • Celery, chopped
  • Chinese crispy noodles
  • Cilantro or parsley leaves
  • Jalapeno, minced
  • Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Green peas, fresh or frozen
  • Nuts, chopped (cashews, pecans, walnuts)
  • Radish matchsticks
  • Red bell peppers, small dice
  • Scallion, chopped
    Variation: Moroccan Dressing

  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sumac‡
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
    For A Lunch Or Dinner Salad

    Provide a base of greens and a topping of grilled or roasted protein:

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Tofu

    1. MAKE the dressing. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl.

    2. BLEND in the carrots and raisins. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving (you can do this a day in advance).

    3. PREPARE the mix-ins (don’t cut the apple until just before serving).

    4. PLACE the mix-ins on a tray or lazy Susan, and set them on the table along with individual servings of the grated carrots.


    Carrot raisin salad is a traditional dish in the Southern United States.

    Grated carrots are mixed with raisins and a dressing made from mayonnaise, granulated sugar, salt and pepper.

    We can’t find a date for the first published recipe, but a recipe that appears in the WPA School Lunch Cookbook shows that the recipe was well established by 1936, the book’s publication date.

    At least from then, and going forward, carrot raisin salad has been on many school lunch menus, its sweetness appealing to children.

    Other countries have long had their own versions of carrot salad.

    Except for Morocco and Tunisia, all are made with grated carrots:

  • Brazil: Carrot salad made with mayonnaise, raw onion, green peas, sweet corn or sometimes chayote squash is served with churrasco (grilled meat), as is potato salad.
  • Bulgaria: Carrots are combined with grated cabbage.
  • CIS (The Commonwealth of Independent States of the former Soviet Union): Ethnic Koreans living in the CIS make spicy pickled carrot salad, known throughout the CIS as Korean-style carrots (Koryo-saram). It is enjoyed by many ethnic groups in the CIS, but was unknown in South Korea until recently.
  • France: Carrots are mixed with a whole-grain mustard vinaigrette.
  • India: Grated carrots are cooked in oil with mustard seeds and green chiles.
  • Middle East: Carrots are mixed with with parsley and lemon juice.
  • Morocco: Cooked carrots are mixed with lemon juice, cumin and often, herbs and garlic.
  • Poland: Carrots are blended with Granny Smith apples, lemon juice, vegetable oil, salt and sugar.
  • Russia: Carrot salad is often served as a side to doner kebab (the Middle Eastern sandwich of rotisseried meat in thin slices).
  • Tunisia: Houria is a cooked, often mashed, carrot salad.


    [1] A carrot-raisin salad (photo © Anaumenko | Panther Media).

    [2] Start with grated carrots, add raisins and optional pineapple, then dress. Refrigerate for a day so the flavors can meld (photo © 5PH| Panther Media).

    [3] Instead of a mayonnaise-sour cream or yogurt dressing, you can marinate the grated carrots in a vinaigrette (Moroccan vinaigrette recipe below (photo © Zolelena | Panther Media).

    [4] Beautiful heirloom carrots. The Homegrown Collective has subscriptions that include specialty produce like these multicolored carrots (photo © Homegrown Collective).

    [5] Burgundy heirloom carrots sliced into ribbons (photo © Art de Fête).

    [6] Another idea: Julienne the carrots (photo © The Foster’s Market Cookbook).



    *Both raisins and sultanas are made from seedless grapes; red and green, respectively. In the U.S., sultanas are also referred to as golden raisins. Grapes darken as they dry, which is why raisins are darker in color than the grapes. Although once made from a different variety of grape, today in the U.S. sultanas are made from the Thompson grape.

    Most raisins produced in the United States are made from seven different types of grapes: Thompson Seedless (which are also the most popular green grapes for fresh consumption), Flame Seedless, Muscat, Sultana, and Black Corinth. It takes about 4 1/2 pounds of fresh grapes to make 1 pound of raisins.

    Golden Seedless raisins or sultanas are made from the Thompson Seedless grape, but are oven-dried to avoid the darkening effect of sunlight. They are also treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their light color.

    †Some recipes add a tablespoon of sugar, but this makes the carrot salad as sweet as dessert. Taste after a teaspoon is added and adjust according to your palate.

    ‡Sumac is a tart, acidic spice. In other recipes, you can substitute lemon zest, lemon pepper seasoning, lemon juice or vinegar. But since this dressing is made with lemon juice, simply skip the sumac.


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