This carrot salad is a flavorful and colorful side dish to serve with a holiday meal, everyday dinner, or your next cookout. For winter holidays, you can replace the raisins with dried cranberries. Pineapple chunks are an excellent addition as well, especially with a Christmas or Easter ham dinner. Even though the salad is a simple preparation with just a few basic ingredients, the flavors are amazing.
Multicolored carrots make a beautiful salad if you can find them. Look for them at local farmer's markets and grocery stores when they're in season. Trader Joe's sometimes has "rainbow carrots."
- 6 to 8 medium carrots, about 3/4 pound (multicolored if you can find them)
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Optional: Black pepper to taste
- Peel the carrots, rinse under cold water then dry them with paper towels.
- Using a food processor with a shredding disc or a box grater/shredder, shred the carrots coarsely. A julienne peeler would also work well to make coarse shreds.
- In a large bowl, combine the carrots with the raisins.
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
- Add the dressing to the shredded carrots and raisins and toss to mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and chill until serving time.
Variations and Tips
This is the type of recipe that will be delicious with a few minor changes. Try one of these versions:
- Carrot salad with honey—Omit the sugar and add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of honey.
- Carrot salad with pineapple—Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of drained pineapple chunks or drained crushed pineapple in addition to the raisins.
- Carrot salad with apple—Peel, core, and chop or shred a medium sweet apple and add it to the salad along with the raisins.
- Carrot salad with cranberries—Replace the raisins with dried cranberries or "Craisins."
- Crunchy carrot salad—Add about 4 to 5 tablespoons of blanched slivered almonds or sunflower seeds for some extra crunch.
- Carrot salad with raisins and cabbage—Add about 1 cup of shredded green or purple cabbage to the carrots. Just keep in mind purple cabbage will color the mayonnaise, so it should be added just before serving.
- Make Ahead—Prepare the salad up to 48 hours in advance. Cover the bowl and keep the salad refrigerated until serving time.