Raw Carrot Salad with Feta & Shallot Vinaigrette
This raw carrot salad is such a pretty, easy side dish! With ribboned carrots, salty feta, nutty pistachios, fresh parsley, and shallot vinaigrette, this is a super flavorful, but simple, salad that’s perfect for BBQs, weeknight dinners, and more. (Originally posted April 16, 2018).
Once spring hits, I officially enter ‘salad mode’ which I promise is a lot less boring than it sounds. Around here, ‘salad’ is a very loose term and basically means includes anything that vaguely represents a veggie with some kind of dressing. Such is the case in my antipasto tortellini pasta salad. But, I digress. Today, we’re talking about carrot salad!
Honestly, I don’t think we appreciate carrot salad enough in the states, because I’ve never really see them here unless I’m at a European deli or something. But, it’s one of my favorite side dishes. Like. I’ve probably eaten this salad at least 12 times in the past month. I’m honestly hoping this habit eventually upgrades to a spinach obsession.
Anyways, if you are new to carrot salads, may I suggest you start with this one? It’s so pretty and has everything going for it. Sweet carrots, crunchy pistachios, salty feta, and a tangy vinaigrette. Let’s make it, friends!
Why you’ll love this salad
Carrot salad recently went viral on TikTok, but it’s nothing new. Back in culinary school, we used to make it as a topping for sandwiches. But, this specific recipe has been my favorite ever since I started making it in 2018!
- Carrot salad only has a handful of ingredients. And they’re all easy to find!
- The recipe is simple and comes together in minutes.
- It’s a great side dish for BBQs, dinner parties, or weeknights.
- This salad is fresh, tangy, flavorful, and perfect for spring or summer.
- Carrots – for this recipe, I like picking thicker carrots, because it will make them easier to peel. Go with fresh carrots for sweetness and crunch!
- Feta – I recommend freshly-crumbled for the best flavor and creamy texture.
- Pistachios – go for shelled, roasted pistachios for a nice, nutty crunch. You can also buy shelled raw pistachios and toast them yourself.
- Parsley – chopped Italian parsley will add a nice pop of freshness.
- Shallots – just a little bit of shallot will give the dressing a delicate, sweet onion flavor.
- White wine vinegar – for a little tanginess. You can also use red wine vinegar.
- Greek yogurt – this will make our dressing a bit creamy. You can also use sour cream.
- Dijon mustard – I add mustard to most salad dressings for a little spice and extra flavor.
- Honey – to add some sweetness and balance the tanginess in the dressing.
- Olive oil – olive oil makes for a richer, balanced salad dressing.
- Salt & pepper – I use Morton Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper.
How to make this salad
- To make the dressing, add the diced shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to a food processor. Pulse until smooth.
- Next, with the food processor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture until emulsified.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a jar, cover, and refrigerate.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long ribbons.
- Then, toss the carrots with the dressing until coated.
- Transfer the salad to a platter and garnish with feta cheese, pistachios, and parsley. Enjoy immediately.
How to make the carrot ribbons
To make the ribbons, all you need is a vegetable peeler! Here’s how I do it:
- Start by peeling the skin off of the carrots. This isn’t entirely necessary, just my preference!
- Next, lay the carrot against a cutting board (for safety).
- Then, use the peeler to peel down the length of the carrots until you can’t get anymore ribbons off of it. Repeat with the remaining carrots until you have a bunch of ribbons.
What should I do with the leftover carrots?
After you shave the carrots, you’ll have a bunch of random little carrot chunks that can’t be ribboned anymore. But, you definitely shouldn’t throw them away, because they’re still useable! Here’s a few things I like to do with the leftovers:
- Slice them into sticks to enjoy with hummus.
- Dice the carrots and freeze them for soup or stir-fry.
- Roast them with butter and fresh herbs.
- Grate them in a food processor to add to meatloaf or carrot cake.
- If you have a juicer, run them through for fresh carrot juice.
Storing & make-ahead
To store leftover salad, spoon the leftovers in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. Keep in mind that the pistachios will soften as they sit in the dressing, so if you expect to have leftovers, I recommend adding the pistachios to each individual serving.
To make the salad in advance, start by making the dressing and storing it in the fridge for up to 5 days. To prep the carrots, place the ribbons in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel or linen, gently pressing it against the carrots. Cover with a bowl cover or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Right before serving, toss the carrots with the dressing, garnish with feta, pistachios, and parsley and enjoy immediately.
This shaved carrot salad is super versatile! Here are a few ways I like to switch it up depending on what ingredients I have on hand:
- Herbs – sometimes, I will use basil, mint, dill, or chives.
- Cheese – queso fresco, goat cheese, or cotija would all work too.
- Nuts – try toasted walnuts or smoked almonds for a nutty crunch.
- Nut-free – for a nut-free version, use roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds.
- Chicken – roasted or grilled chicken are some of my favorites to serve with this salad!
- Steak – grilled tri-tip or even pan-seared steak would be so delicious!
- BBQ – serve this salad with ribs, pulled pork, burgers, brisket, or grilled pork chops.
- Vegetarian – enjoy with halloumi sandwiches, BBQ jackfruit, or grilled veggies and beans.
Tips & tricks
- Use fresh carrots. Not only are they easier to peel, but they are also more crisp and have the best flavor!
- To make this salad vegan, simply leave out the feta cheese. You’ll also want to replace the honey in the dressing with maple or agave syrup.
- For the best flavor, I recommend making the salad a couple of hours in advance. It will give the carrots time to soak in the dressing without making them soggy.
- Sprinkle the pistachios over the salad right before serving. They will get soft as they sit in the dressing.
Can I prep the carrots in advance?
Yes, you can prep them up to 1 day in advance! Just keep in mind that they will dry out a bit in the fridge if they aren’t stored properly. To keep them from getting dry, cover the bowl with a damp paper towel or linen, pressing it against the top of the carrots. Then, cover the bowl with a bowl cover or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Can I grate the carrots instead?
Definitely! I’ve used grated carrots in this salad many times. You can grate them with a box grater or with the grater attachment on a food processor. If you have a veggie spiralizer, that would work great too!
Will pre-shredded carrots work?
I honestly don’t recommend using pre-shredded carrots. When I’ve tried it in the past, the carrots are always flavorless and dry. I would definitely shred your own carrots or make the ribbons instead!
Is this salad good for you?
Let me start off by saying that I am 100% not an expert and health is very subjective. Overall, I love eating shaved carrot salad at lunch or dinner because of the health benefits of carrots. They have lots of beta carotene, fiber, potassium, and other stuff that helps your body thrive!
More easy side dishes
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Carrot Salad with Feta & Shallot Vinaigrette
- 1 small shallot, peeled & roughly chopped
- 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed, & peeled
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted & roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- Vegetable peeler
- Add the shallot, white wine vinegar, Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, and honey to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pulse until the mixture is smooth.
- With the food processor or blender running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the shallot mixture until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Transfer the dressing to a jar, cover, and refrigerate for later.
- First, ribbon the carrots. Start by laying a carrot against a cutting board (for safety). Then, use a vegetable peeler to peel down the length of the carrots repeatedly until you can't get anymore ribbons off of it. Repeat with the remaining carrots until you have a big pile of ribbons.
- Transfer the carrots to a large bowl and add half of the dressing. Toss until combined. Taste, and add more dressing, if desired.
- Spoon the carrots onto a platter and garnish with the feta, pistachios, and parsley. (Alternatively, toss the feta, pistachios, and parsley into the large bowl of carrots.) Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
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