This grated carrot salad is an obscenely easy, quick, and healthy side made without mayo. Just carrots, olive oil, and lemon juice. Don’t think it’s boring, though. Trust us.
This grated carrot salad is super quick to make. It is therefore best left until the last minute. Prepare the recipe just before you want to serve it in order to retain the sweetness and crunch of the carrots. [Editor’s Note: Some of our recipe testers chided us for calling this a “recipe,” but we think it deserves that noble title. We dare you to disagree.]–Alain Coumont and Jean-Pierre Gabriel
Grated Carrot Salad
- 4 carrots peeled and julienned or finely grated
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 small pinches salt or less to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the carrots in a bowl and add the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Mix gently, season with a little pepper to taste, and serve immediately.
How To Make This Grated Carrot Salad In AdvanceWe’re all for simplicity in terms of flavors and ingredients and recipes, so long as it doesn’t sacrifice taste. If you prefer to impart a little bling, kindly go ahead and do your thing. Some ways to add a little oomph, off the top of our heads, include a pinch each ground cinnamon and ground cumin a handful dark or golden raisins a pinch garam masala a spinkle of sumac a dash hot sauce (whether Tabasco, Cholula, Tapatío, Sriracha, or what have you) a fistful of fresh herbs a little more lemon Or a little of anything else you please. See? Easy peasy. In Advance Advice Although the author exhorts you to “serve immediately,” several of our more rebellious testers covered and refrigerated the salad for anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours and found the dish to be just as terrific in taste and texture as it was the moment they made it. In fact, one tester deemed it “still fabulous.” He went on to say, “The carrots were still crunchy but they were a little bit sweeter and the oil and lemon were less pronounced but still present. The salad was harmonious and totally addictive. Keeping the salad in the fridge for 24 hours before serving might be too much planning ahead, but why not chill for 30 minutes and see where that gets you?” Well, what are you waiting for?
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I like carrots, so I expected to like this salad. In fact, I found it addictive! First, I ate some of the original recipe. Yum! Then I added a little smoked Spanish paprika to a spoonful. Double yum! The paprika added a little heat and an indefinable complexity to the taste. I tried cumin and cumin and cinnamon together, but no matter how little I added, they overwhelmed the carrot taste. If you have any really special extra-virgin olive oil, save it for a green salad. It would be wasted in this salad.
It may be a cliché, but this unbelievably simple grated carrot salad recipe is really more than the sum of its parts. It’s a great side dish that could, chameleon-like, blend in alongside dishes from many cuisines yet lets the carrots shine through without interference from the trendy ingredient du jour. While you could certainly spice it up by adding something, let me make the case for serving this dish as written, which shows off the wonderful harmony of carrots and fragrant black peppercorns.
Use the best quality, most fragrant—might I say floral?—peppercorns you can buy, and grind them liberally into this salad. Both the carrots and the peppercorns benefit from each other’s company.
This grated carrot salad recipe definitely lived up to its “super quick” description. I finely grated the carrots and assembled everything at the last minute. It was a one-bowl side dish for sure.
We enjoyed the light and refreshing taste of the lemon and olive oil. We tasted it with just the lemon and olive oil and with fresh chives and cumin. The sweetness of the carrots came through both ways and we really enjoyed them. Simple and fast. And everyone has carrots in the refrigerator!
This grated carrot salad recipe isn’t a surprise—just easy, good, fresh, straightforward yumminess. I make this salad frequently, but I usually grate the carrots with a peeler. This time I shredded the carrots with a large box grater and preferred that alternative. I didn’t modify the recipe a smidge, although it’s certainly a good candidate for lots of fun flavor experiments.
I thought this was a lovely grated carrot salad recipe. It’s basic—but sometimes with veggies that’s a good thing. I thought the ingredients were bang on. This dish highlights the carrot without other things competing with it.
For me, it was a tad salt heavy, so I’d likely use a smaller amount next time. I have to say, this is fabulous with crushed pistachios sprinkled over the top.
Simple, quick, fresh, delicious. This grated carrot salad works equally well as a side or an appetizer and adds color to any meal. It’ll span the seasons well, since carrots are happily available year-round. It’s tasty as-is, although to add to the Middle Eastern feel, the pinch of sumac option was excellent. I would similarly want to try the idea of cumin and cinnamon, which might lead to adding some plumped golden or dark raisins, creating something just a bit less simple. Make it the last-minute and plan to eat it all in one sitting.
This grated carrot salad recipe is super easy and very good if you can get your hands on good-quality carrots. I used rainbow carrots from the farmers market and, after washing them carefully, shredded them on the box grater with the colorful skins attached. The first try, I made them as directed, the second time I added a pinch cumin. Both were lovely.
This little grated carrot salad recipe took less than 10 minutes to put together. My CSA box included carrots this week and so this was a perfect way to use them.
Be sure to use a flavorful and good-quality olive oil. With so few ingredients, you want to use the best. The recipe is nice as-is, but I also had some fresh dill that came with my CSA. I added some to the salad as well, and the flavor was nice. Recipes like this remind me that I really enjoy carrot salads.
I saw this recipe and I immediately knew I had to make it. The salad comes together so quickly, especially if you have a food processor. I grated 4 carrots, added the juice of 1 small Meyer lemon and the 2 tablespoons olive oil, and this came together marvelously. The taste was nice and bright. I only added salt and pepper, although I love the recipe variation suggestions.
Simple salads are a favorite in this home, and we love quick dishes with a few ingredients that magically add up to more than the parts would suggest. This grated carrot salad is tasty, light, and we made it in about 5 minutes. Our tasters thought it was delicious. I made it once again for myself, adding two pinches cumin and a good shake celery salt and piling it high atop a bed of greens—yum!
This is a salad that’s almost too simple to require a recipe. It’s fresh and bright, with some sweetness from the carrots and a hit of acid from the lemon. Depending on one’s dexterity, preparing the carrots is the biggest task here. Once the carrots are prepped, it truly is a one-minute salad.
I think it could have actually used just a bit more lemon juice than this called for. (Half a lemon should be about a tablespoon, so maybe a tablespoon and a half.) After testing the salad plain, I added a few sprinkles of za’atar and some freshly minced chives. The chives added color and were good with the lemon, and the spices brought a slightly different dimension to the carrots.
This grated carrot salad recipe is a Testers Choice for me because of its simplicity and how quickly it can be tossed together. After trying it as stated in the recipe, I added some cumin (wasn’t a big fan, even though I like cumin). Next I tried some chili powder, and again, not so good. I went back to the fridge and found a small Thai chile pepper, diced it up and, ta-da! That was it for me—just a little bit of kick that didn’t completely mix into the salad so there were layers of flavor rather than a monochromatic flavor profile.
Although this grated carrot salad recipe is very good as written, we thought it was even better with the addition of some fresh cilantro and a few dashes Sriracha sauce. Love the brightness the lemon lends to the carrots. And the salt and pepper perk it up quite a bit, too, but the addition of cilantro adds a little color and flavor, and the Sriracha helps to bring the salad over the top and spices it up a bit perfectly. It’s quick and easy and so worth it.
Great side dish for almost any meal. I served ours with some cashew chicken and mashed potatoes.
Originally published April 19, 2020
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This grated carrot salad recipe makes a surprisingly simple and great side dish. I like all the ingredients separately, and was honestly not expecting much from the few ingredients listed in this recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even without any added extras, the simple ingredients alone make for a very good and flavorful dish.
I opted to use my julienne peeler for the carrots, which gave it a really nice look. I’ve actually made this a couple times now, and each time I have the intention of adding a couple extra seasonings, but never do—the simple flavors alone are quite nice!