This healthy Carrot Raisin Salad is made with no mayo. Yup! I swapped the creamy dressing for a lighter, healthier infused olive oil vinaigrette. In addition to the tasty vinaigrette, this salad is packed with freshness from cilantro and scallions. And to finish, this salad gets a nutty toppings that adds a deep nutty flavor and SO much crunchy texture.
A Better (Healthier) Carrot Salad
A better carrot salad—what does that mean? For starters it means kicking the creamy mayo or sour cream-based dressing to the curb and opting for an infused olive oil vinaigrette. Less saturated fat, more heart-healthy fat.
Infusing the oil for the vinaigrette works double time. Not surprisingly it infuses the oil with tons of flavor, but it also creates a toasty, crunchy topping which adds both flavor and desperately needed texture.
Even though they contain chopped walnuts or pecans, most carrot salads lack serious texture. Which is why I call for toasting them in oil. Toasting the almonds in oil is key to achieving a crunch that won’t soften immediately once tossed with the salad.
To set this salad apart from others I added a hearty dose of fresh cilantro (you can use parsley) and scallions, and infused the oil with coriander seeds, orange, bay leaf, and garlic. There is certainly no shortage of flavor here!
Ingredients in Carrot Raisin Salad
- orange—you can also use lemon
- extra-virgin olive oil
- dried bay leaves
- garlic clove
- whole raw almonds
- coriander seeds—cumin seeds would be a great option as well
- white wine vinegar—tarragon, rice or champagne vinegar would also work
- Dijon mustard
- shredded carrots—I recommend shredding the carrots by hand or using a food processor because the shreds are thinner and smaller than what you can buy pre-shredded. Need this done ASAP? Buy the pre-shredded stuff—it won’t make that much of a difference.
- raisins—I kept it classic with regular raisins. You can also use golden raisins or try using currants or chopped dates instead.
- Cilantro—parsley will also work if cilantro tastes like soap to you.
How to Make Carrot Raisin Salad
- Shred the carrots.
- Infuse the oil by sizzling the olive oil, orange peels, scallion whites (save those greens for the salad!), bay leaves and garlic together.
- Once the orange peels start to curl and toast, add almonds and cook until golden brown and toasted.
- Remove the pan from heat and add coriander seeds, let toast off heat for 1 minute.
- Strain the oil into a large bowl and transfer nut/seed mixture to a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt.
- Mince the browned garlic clove and one orange peel; transfer to the bowl with oil. Add vinegar, Dijon, and orange juice and whisk to combine (this is the vinaigrette).
- Add the reserved scallion greens, carrots, raisins and cilantro; toss to combine then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the salad to a serving bowl and top with the nut/seed mixture, making sure to tuck some into the salad.
How to Store Carrot Salad and for How Long
This salad is best served immediately and enjoyed within the first couple of days. It will last up to five days stored in the refrigerator in a container with a tight fitting lid.
If you give this Carrot Raisin Salad recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!
Healthy Carrot Raisin Salad
- 1 orange
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 large scallions 1 bunch, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 garlic clove smashed
- ½ cup whole raw almonds chopped
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds lightly crushed
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 6 cups shredded carrots 1 ½ lb.
- ¾ cup raisins
- ¾ cup chopped cilantro or parsley
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel four 3-inch strips of orange peel, making sure to avoid white pith; reserve orange for later. Add orange peels to a small skillet with oil, scallion whites and light green parts, bay leaves, and smashed garlic; stir to combine.
- Heat skillet over medium and cook oil mixture, stirring occasionally, until orange peels start to curl and toast, about 3 minutes. Add almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until almonds are browned, 2–3 minutes. Off heat, stir in coriander seeds and let sit 1 minute.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve set in a large bowl; reserve oil. Pour nut mixture onto a paper towel-lined plate, making sure to get all of the coriander seeds; season with salt and let cool.
- Once cool, discard bay leaves and mince garlic cloves and one orange peel. Add minced garlic and orange peel, vinegar and Dijon to large bowl with reserved oil. Juice reserved orange (should measure at least ¼ cup) and add to large bowl; whisk until emulsified.
- Add reserved scallions greens, carrots, raisins, cilantro, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss to combine then season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer salad to a serving dish and sprinkle nut-seed mixture over top, making sure to tuck some into the salad.