Carrot Raisin Salad – A unique pairing of carrots and raisins, overflowing with vitamins and nutrients turned into a healthy side dish and dessert in one. The perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness, and just the right amount of tanginess makes it unusually addicting and gratifying. An easy classic favorite you can make in less than 20 minutes!
A Salad for Veggie Haters (aka. even the kid in you will be happy!) It is very easy to make, inexpensive, and most of all, kid-friendly. It is so versatile that it can be paired with so many dishes. It’s a vegetable in dessert form! How cool is that?
What makes this carrot and raisin salad special is the addition of pineapples. Plus the luscious dressing with a tangy sensation from the freshly squeezed lemon makes it simply irresistible. As you taste all the sweetness, creaminess, and sourness all at once makes you want it more and more. My motto: Everything is better with pineapples.
Background on the Famous Side Dish
Carrot Raisin Salad Recipe is developed by S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chik-Fil-A. They started serving it at the year 1967 and quickly became a popular side dish.
Sadly, they stopped serving it in 2013 to give way to new and modern menus, but released the recipe when she passed away. The nice texture of shredded carrots and chewy raisins complemented the taste as well. Who knew a vegetable can be this good for a dessert? All thanks to Samuel Cathy for coming up with such a great recipe! Below you’ll find my twist on his creation.
To make this rich and creamy carrots slaw with raisins, you’ll only need a handful of ingredients below.
For the Dressing
- Sour Cream – The sourness balances the sweetness from pineapple and raisins.
- Mayonnaise – Most versatile salad dressing.
- Onion – This veggie is great served fresh with its tangy flavor.
- Honey or Sugar (optional) – It adds enough sweetness to the salad dressing.
- Lemon Juice – This adds a bright, citrusy flavor to savory and sweet dishes alike.
- Raisins – The balance of sweet and tangy taste and adds color and texture to the salad making it more appealing.
- Carrots – It has a unique taste and a hint of sweetness. It also adds color and texture.
- Pineapple – This works well in savory dishes and sweet and sour recipes.
- Salt – A basic ingredient that intensifies all other flavors.
- Pepper – What’s salt without pepper right? Add a kick of heat to boost flavor.
- Greek yogurt or pureed cottage cheese – You can replace sour cream with either of these. The difference in taste is very subtle but will still yield the same consistency and texture.
- Craisins or dried cranberries – They are equally sweet and taste similar to raisins.
- Mayo Substitutes – because not everybody likes Mayo, you may opt to use these dressings instead:
- Greek yogurt with a bit of honey
- Lemon juice and honey
- Fresh-squeezed orange juice
- Salad dressing, like Thousand Island or poppyseed
This carrot salad is very flexible. It can be made even healthier and yummier with:
- Orange – be careful with the texture, try to get a less juicy orange so it adds some texture instead of just juice
- Apple – a love a honey crisp apple to any salad, but any accessible apple will do the trick
- Pear – anjou pears and bartlett pears are great – go with what’s ripe or on sale!
- Mango – my favorite addition, to any meal 😉 It’s a nice contrast to the pineapple too.
- Kiwi – add some tang into salad, also super high in Vitamin C
Add Bite and Texture
- Peanut – whole peanuts are great, best thrown in unsalted
- Cashew – a chewier nut and I like to halve instead of dicing them
- Almond – better sliced instead of whole
- Walnut – crumbled or cut
- Pecan – crumbled or cut and much sweeter taste
Reduce sweetness and watch the fats
try this honey-lime vinaigrette by mixing the following:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Note: you can add nuts, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, and parsley for more color and texture.
For Vegan or Paleo Version
- ½ cup raisins
- 8oz (1 can) of pineapple tidbits in 100% juice
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cups shredded carrots (about 4 large carrots)
Making Ahead and Storage Instructions
Prep the shredded carrots the day before. Put them in a dry air-tight container.
- Refrigerated – It can last for up to 3-4 days refrigerated.
- Frozen – 1 month if frozen.
Note: Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice or apple cider to prevent discoloration.
Leftovers (I doubt if there will be any!) can be kept in a fridge for about 3 days in a clean air-tight container. Though, I wouldn’t advise freezing them because the sour cream may curdle and separate.
It’s a Perfect Side for These Dishes
Try these mouthwatering dishes to make your lunch and dinner more exciting.
More Easy Salad Recipes
- Pineapple Cucumber Salad
- Watermelon Salad
- Light Chinese Chicken Salad
- Cornbread Salad
- Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad
How to Make Carrot Raisin Salad
Make the Dressing
- Mix all the wet ingredients – In a medium bowl mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, grated onion, honey, and lemon juice. (Photos 1-2)
- Refrigerate – Place in the fridge until ready to use or mix together with the other ingredients until fully incorporated. This can be made ahead of time.
Prep the Carrots and Pineapples
- Shred the carrots – Grate the carrots (Photo 3) and drain any excess liquid and then add them into a large bowl.
- Cut the pineapple – Drain the pineapple and cut into small dice, (Photo 4) if using canned or fresh pineapple. Place them next to the carrots.
Prep the Raisins and mix all ingredients
- Soak the raisins – in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes or until they plump up. (Photo 5-6)
- Drain – and dry the raisins, and add to the bowl of carrots. (Photo 7)
- Mix and season – Pour in dressing and thoroughly mix with carrots. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Photo 8)
- Chill and serve – Serve immediately or place in the fridge until ready to be served. Enjoy.
Watch How to Make it
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This blog post was first published in March 2015 and has been updated with new photos, and recipe tips.
Carrot Raisin Salad
- ½ cup sour cream, can be replaced with mayonnaise
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon grated onion
- 1-2 tablespoons honey or sugar, adjust to taste (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- In a medium bowl, mix together sour cream, mayonnaise, grated onion, honey, and lemon juice. Place in the fridge until ready to use or mix together with the other ingredients until fully incorporated. This can be made ahead of time.
- Grate carrots and drain any excess liquid from the carrots and into a large bowl.
- Drain the can of pineapple and cut them into small dice, if using canned or fresh pineapple. Place them next to the carrots.
- Soak the raisins in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes or until they plump up. Drain dry and add to the bowl of carrots.
- Pour in dressing and thoroughly mix with carrots.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately or place inside the fridge until ready to be served. Enjoy.
Tips & Notes:
- Always use fresh ingredients.
- You can use pre-shredded carrots.
- Drain your carrots to remove excess water. Skipping this step will make them gooey.
- Plump up raisins by soaking them in warm water and don't forget to drain them after.
- Let the salad rest for about 1 hour to fully incorporate and absorb all the flavors.
- Place in a refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only. Please keep in mind that it is a rough estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary greatly based on the products used.