This is a super simple Sweet Carrot Salad Recipe. Quick and easy to make, and loaded with nutrients! The carrots provide a satisfying crunch and a slightly sweet undertone. To enhance the sweetness, the salad includes dried cranberries and grated apples for a juicy and sweet crunch!
Whenever I invite one of my friends over to our house for dinner, she makes sure to ask that I make this salad. Of all the fancy salads, this simple carrot one is her favorite. What's even funnier is when we are invited to their house and I ask her what to bring, she tells me......yes, you guessed it - the Sweet Carrot Salad. So, I make the salad and we bring it over to their house. True story! So cute. 🙂
It really is a great salad. Just like in our Citrus Avocado Salad Recipe or our Asparagus and Mango Salad Recipe, there is no need for fancy dressings or many ingredients - just combine a few simple ingredients and mix in mayonnaise, and you're done.
- Carrot: one large carrot, grated using a box grater or a vegetable shredder.
- Lettuce: I used Romaine lettuce, but any lettuce will work. Make sure to finely dice the lettuce, so it blends well with the shredded carrot.
- Apple: seeded and grated (using a box grater or vegetable shredder). Like in this Sweet and Crunchy Beet Salad, apples add juiciness and a little tart and sweet flavors. For a sweet carrot salad, it's best to choose apples that are crisp and sweet. Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious are all great choices.
- Dried Cranberries: 1 cup of dried cranberries. They may be substituted for raisins, but I find that craisins work better in the salad. They add that little bit of extra sourness/tartness.
- Mayo: one tablespoon is plenty, the juices from the apple will add natural moisture to the salad.
See recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities
Substitutions and variations
- Dried Cranberries: you can use raisins instead of the dried cranberries, or you may also like to use a combination of both.
- Mayo: you can also use a combination of mayo and sour cream. Or, to make it even more healthy, you can use one tablespoon of neutral tasting oil, such as vegetable oil or avocado oil, a little bit of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt: I don't usually add salt to the salad because the cranberries and apples add natural flavors. But, you can add a pinch of salt to enhance flavor.
- Pineapple: diced pinapple will add a burst of sweetness and sour flavor. It can definitely enhance the dish.
- Add nuts: for an extra layer of texture, toasted nuts or seeds, such as slivered almonds or sunflower seeds, can be sprinkled on top. Like in our Eggplant Salad Stuffed Tomatoes recipe, nuts add crunch and a nutty flavor that complements the sweetness of the other ingredients.
- Add lemon Juice and herbs: enhance the flavor of the mayo by adding a splash of citrus juice (lemon or orange) or a bit of zest. It adds a touch of freshness with chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. This can balance the richness of the mayo and add depth to the overall flavor.
- Make it vegan: Replace mayo with vegan mayo or a simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, vinegar, and mustard.
STEP 1: add the shredded lettuce, dried cranberries, and grated carrot and apples to a large mixing bowl.
STEP 2: Add the mayonnaise and stir well to combine. Add salt to taste (optional). If you have the time, chill the salad before serving (15-30 minutes).
Frequently Asked Questions:
Yes, you can prepare the ingredients ahead but wait to add the dressing until just before serving to maintain freshness and crunch.
Toss apple slices in a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning. Alternatively, add them just before serving.
Yes, feel free to customize the mayo dressing with a splash of citrus juice, Dijon mustard, honey, or apple cider vinegar for added flavor.
Keep wet and dry ingredients separate until just before serving to maintain the crispness of the lettuce and other veggies.
Serve the salad slightly chilled, or at room temperature.
The salad is great with a side dish of Oven Roasted Potato Cubes or 3-Ingredient Baked Potato Wedges and a meat dish, like these Super Easy Sauteed Chicken Thighs or a seafood dish, such as this Baked Seafood-Stuffed Salmon.
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Sweet Carrot Salad Recipe
- 1 carrot large, peeled and coarsely grated
- 2 apples peeled, cored and grated - choose a sweet apple
- 1 cup Romaine lettuce diced
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Peel the carrot. Peel and core the apples (see notes below for how to core an apple). Coarsely grate the carrot and apples, using a box grater or a vegetable shredder. Transfer the grated carrot and apple to a large mixing bowl.
- Finely dice the Romaine lettuce. Transfer the lettuce to the mixing bowl.
- Add the dried cranberries and mayo to the mixing bowl and stir all ingredients together to combine. Add more mayo if desired - the apples do release juice, so be careful not to add too much mayo.