I never knew I’d be so excited about a raw carrot salad. Then again, I’m not sure I’ve ever had French carrot salad before! Have you? Carrot salads are ubiquitous in France and we’ve been missing out.
I’m generally a fan of big, bold flavor, but French carrot salad (salade de carottes râpées) is a delicate balance of sweet raw carrot, tangy lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard and herbs. This carrot salad is a lesson in restraint and tastes more complex than it is.
I discovered this carrot salad at French Market in Kansas City. The girls behind the counter always have French accents, so you know the place is legit.
They offer a variety of pre-made salads and sandwiches, and I couldn’t resist the glowing orange carrot salad. Their version includes chickpeas, which offer some protein and bulk.
I was really surprised by how much I loved that fresh, crisp-tender, sweet-and-savory carrot salad, so here we are. French carrot salad is a lovely side dish to offer at picnics, in packed lunches, with sandwiches, and so on.
French Carrot Salad Preparation Tips
The carrots account for the predominant flavor and texture in this recipe—so how you prepare them matters. French Market’s carrot salad features tiny, short slivers of carrot that readily absorb dressing, but are difficult to achieve at home. David Lebovitz suggests they’re using a discontinued rotary grater by the brand Moulinex. Here is a similar product, though I haven’t tried it.
I managed to achieve a similar texture by using my julienne peeler (affiliate link) in short strokes, but it was tedious work. You could also run the carrots through your food processor with the grating attachment or grate the carrots on the large holes of your box grater. The finest option on your spiralizer might work, too—please report back if you try!
Don’t stress about how you grate your carrots. I think you’ll enjoy this salad no matter what!
Please let me know how you like this carrot salad in the comments. Looking for more carrot salads? Don’t miss this roasted and raw carrot salad with avocado, masala-spiced lentil salad with roasted carrots, and peanut slaw with soba noodles.
French Carrot Salad
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes (plus 20-minute marinating time)
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: French
This French carrot salad recipe is simple and fresh! You’ll need carrots, olive oil, lemon, honey, cumin, parsley and chives. Chickpeas are optional but recommended. Recipe yields 4 servings.
- 1 pound carrots, peeled
- 2 tablespoons finely snipped chives or chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Optional: 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- To prepare the carrots: You can grate them on the large holes of a box grater, or use short strokes with a julienne peeler, or process them in a food processor fitted with a grating attachment. You’ll end up with about 3 cups grated carrots.
- Place the carrots in a medium serving bowl. Add the chives, parsley and optional chickpeas to the bowl.
- To make the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until completely blended.
- Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and stir until the mixture is evenly coated in dressing. For best flavor, allow the salad to marinate for 20 minutes before serving. Toss again before serving. This salad keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for about 4 days.
Recipe inspired by French Market in Kansas City.
Make it vegan: Substitute maple syrup for the honey.