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In this simple carrot salad, crisp matchstick carrots, walnuts and sweet craisins come together to make a fresh and vibrant salad with wonderful flavors and textures. Finish with a light lemon vinaigrette for an incredible side dish!

From savory to sweet, carrots add such deliciousness to recipes. They provide flavor, texture and nutrition. Some of our favorite recipes with carrots are Carrot Soup, Carrot Cake Roll and these wonderful classic Glazed Carrots.

Carrot Salad Recipe

Looking for a light, bright dish that goes with everything? Give this carrot salad a try! It’s made with simple, nourishing ingredients and it’s fantastic for springtime, but it’s actually great to enjoy all year round. It only takes 20 minutes to prepare, and it’s also really tasty chilled, making it perfect to prep ahead of time! It’s my go-to for bringing to any potluck or get-together!

Trust me when I say that you’ve got to make this recipe! It’s a crowd-pleaser that will make everyone ask for a second helping. It’s also versatile enough to pair with so many main dishes! Try it as a side dish paired with honey-glazed hamair fried chicken or even salmon.

What’s in a Carrot Salad?

This carrot salad recipe comes together with wholesome, fresh ingredients that taste great! The dressing is the perfect finishing touch to really make this dish shine! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Carrots: Look for carrots that are firm and free of cracks or splits. Use multicolored or tricolored for a gorgeous presentation!
  • Walnuts: Adds a nutty crunch!
  • Craisins: The sweet, chewy dried fruit is a great complement to the earthy, crisp carrots.

Dressing

  • Lemon Juice: Zesty and fresh, lemon juice adds the right amount of citrus to this salad.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Helps to brighten the salad and give it a nice little tang.
  • Olive Oil: Gives the dressing the perfect consistency.
  • Honey: 1 tbsp for just a hint of sweetness.
  • Dijon Mustard: For some zippy flavor! It also binds to the oil and vinegar to keep the vinaigrette emulsified (mixed), so the oil and vinegar don’t separate.
  • Thyme: Adds a nice herby flavor.
  • Salt & Pepper: 1 tsp of each to enhance the flavor.

How to Make Carrot Salad

Julienning the carrots is the most time-consuming part of throwing this together. It’s really quite simple, though, and so worth it.

  1. Prep: Prepare the carrots by washing and julienning them (thin matchstick cut). Toss the carrots into a bowl with the walnuts and craisins.
  2. Make the Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Toss and Serve: Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or cover and place in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop and soak into the carrots.

Tips and Variations

This carrot salad is amazing as-is, but it’s super versatile, so you can easily change it up. Here are some tips and ideas on how you can make it your own!

  • Change Up the Ingredients: You can substitute the craisins for raisins or dried cranberries or leave them out altogether. Similarly with the walnuts, you can substitute them for pecans, pistachios, or sunflower seeds.
  • Herbs: You can use fresh or dried thyme in this recipe. If using dried thyme, you’ll need about 1/4 tsp. Also, feel free to use another favorite herb like oregano.
  • Type of Carrots: Plain orange carrots work perfectly fine for this recipe, I like the tricolor option purely for presentation.
  • Toast the nuts: We love toasting the walnuts to really bring out the nutty flavor. Add them to a small dry skillet over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re fragrant, about 1 minute.

Recipe Tip

We highly recommend julienning your own carrots. Do not use a bag of pre-cut carrots from the store. You want this salad filled with sweet, crunchy carrots, and bagged ones are often dry and flavorless.

You can julienne the carrots with a julienne peeler or a knife. Julienne peelers are cheap and efficient, you can prep a whole bunch of carrots in just minutes! If using a knife, cut peeled carrots into chunks and cut lengthwise into thin matchsticks. 

Make Ahead & Storing Leftovers

One of the best things about this salad is how easy it is to make ahead and it keeps for so long in the refrigerator. This makes for a great meal prep option! 

  • Make Ahead: Carrot salad is great to make the night before you plan to serve it. All of the flavors intensify and become even more delicious!
  • Storing Leftovers: Place any leftover salad in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

More Salad Recipes

If you love the fresh taste of fruit and vegetable salads like me, you’re sure to enjoy these tried and true favorites. I have everything from savory pasta salads to creamy, sweet salads. The hardest part is picking which one to try first!

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Carrot Salad

In this simple carrot salad, crisp matchstick carrots, walnuts and sweet craisins come together to make a fresh and vibrant salad with wonderful flavors and textures. Finish with a light lemon vinaigrette for an incredible side dish!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound carrots, tri color for presentation
  • cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup craisins

Dressing

Instructions 

  • Prepare the carrots by washing and julienning them (thin matchstick cut). Toss the carrots into a bowl with the walnuts and craisins.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper.
  • Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or cover and place in the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop and soak into the carrots.

Notes

Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
You can substitute the craisins for raisins or leave them out altogether. Similarly with the walnuts, you can substitute them for pecans, pistachios, or sunflower seeds.
This recipe does great being prepared the night before and served the next day!
You can use fresh or dried thyme in this recipe
Plain orange carrots work perfectly fine for this recipe, I like the tri color option purely for presentation.

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 468mgPotassium: 325mgFiber: 4gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 12668IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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