Bright, crunchy, fresh and flavourful, this unique grated Carrot Salad with Sesame Maple Vinaigrette transforms a few simple ingredients into a quick side dish or starter.
Looking for easy side salads to go with your barbecue? There are so many quick ‘n’ tasty salad options here on the blog. Like this delicious combination of mint and feta with sweet snap peas in Snap Pea Salad with Goat Feta. Or, go full on Greek with a traditional Greek Village Salad.
Carrot Salad with Sesame Maple Vinaigrette
Fifteen minutes is all it takes to grate your way to the perfect carrot salad. It’s crunchy, healthy, and bursting with the incredible flavour of a simple Sesame Maple Vinaigrette.
Forget the raisins, this fresh take on a crunchy carrot salad is nothing like the old school carrot salad recipes.
This is the perfect side dish for any meaty main; from chicken to beef and everything in between. Additionally, it is outstanding as part of a vegan feast too. This is a salad that will please everyone at the table.
This salad can be made all year long, as carrots are hardy root vegetables that store well while retaining their characteristic sweetness.
As always, I recommend quality ingredients to get the most flavourful dish. This is especially important when a dish has very few ingredients. Quality gives maximum bang for your buck!
- Cilantro or Parsley
- Sesame Oil
- Maple Syrup
- Olive Oil
- Soy Sauce
- Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- Sesame Seeds
There’s no doubt about it, carrots are the star of this dish. For a striking, mulitcoloured salad, choose carrots in different colours; red, orange, yellow, purple, and white. They all have the same flavour and texture, so orange carrots can work in this recipe too.
Pistachios add a nice nutty crunch to this salad which mirrors the sesame oil. Chopped peanuts would make an excellent substitution for the pistachios.
Cilantro adds a nice bright, herbal note to this dish. However if you don’t like cilantro, feel free to substitute fresh parsley in its place.
Toasted Sesame Oil is derived from toasted sesame seeds and has a distinct nutty flavour. It is a key ingredient in many cuisines both for cooking and as a flavour accent. Cold pressed sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds and will not work in this recipe.
Use any neutral flavoured vegetable oil, including extra virgin olive oil, in this carrot salad recipe. This includes avocado oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and even peanut oil as the flavour will match well.
Have you ever given thought to the quality of soy sauce in your pantry? Cheap brands, such as China Lily, use caramel colour and are full of salt to enhance their poor flavour profile. Try to seek out naturally brewed soy sauce and you will have a delicious umami rich seasoning for every dish.
When choosing carrots, look for smooth skins with no blemishes or bruises. They should be firm and inflexible, not rubbery. Give them a sniff. If they smell bitter or old, do not use them in this recipe.
How to Shred Carrots for this Recipe
Simply put, use what you got…honey! A low tech box grater or a mandoline will work just fine for grating carrots, just watch your fingers. Or, if you have a food processor, attach the shredding blade and your carrots will be good to go in seconds!
Shredded carrots will keep in an airtight container filled with cold water for up to a week. That means, you could meal prep the heck out of this salad. Just don’t add the other ingredients until the day you will be eating the salad. Drain the carrots well before mixing in the dressing.
Putting it All Together
Shredded carrots…done. Now let’s move on to the dressing. There’s no need to break out a blender, just whisk all the ingredients (Sesame and Olive oil, maple syrup, soy sauce, and seasoned vinegar) together in a small bowl or shake them in a mason jar with a lid.
Place the shredded carrots in a large bowl, then add the pistachios, most of the cilantro, and mix in the dressing. Top with more fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. That’s it! You have a the most simple and delicious carrot salad
Variations and Subsitutions
If you are like me, you love to play around with flavour and ingredients. Any vegetable that you can shred (broccoli stems, daikon, radish, beets, celeriac, jicama, or turnips.) would be great in this salad. Even red or green cabbage works!
As for the dressing, that’s open to interpretation too. Use your palate to determine what kind of flavours work for you. Adding dijon mustard helps to emulsify the vinaigrette, while honey makes a great substitute for maple syrup.
Mirin, black vinegar, or shao xing wine would add interesting hits of acidity to this salad and don’t forget you can always bring the heat with crushed chili pepper, Sambal Olek, or other spicy sauce.
Storage and Leftovers
This salad is best eaten as soon as it is mixed together. However, sometimes leftovers cannot be avoided. Store the leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a day.
If you forget about it…and find it a few days later, no problem! This leftover carrot salad would be a great addition to any stir fry or fried rice dish.
Carrot Salad with Sesame Maple Vinaigrette
Crunchy, fresh and flavourful, this unique Carrot Salad transforms a few simple ingredients into a quick and delicious side dish or starter.
- 8 medium carrots; multicoloured or not
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup pistachios; chopped
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro; chopped
- Peel and grate the carrots using a box grater or food processor.
- Combine sesame oil, olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, and soy sauce together in a small bowl or large measuring cup.
- Place the carrots, most of the cilantro, and pistachios together in a large bowl, drizzle dressing over all and stir.
- Garnish with remaining fresh chopped cilantro.
To add a little heat, use crushed chili pepper, Sambal Olek or other
spicy sauce to your liking.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 69Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.
Now THIS is my kind of carrot salad! It’s soooo much better than the weird tomato juice one my Mom makes. Thank you! I’ll be bringing this beauty to the next family gathering 🙂
Tomato juice? I haven’t had that one yet!!
Such a delicious salad! I made it last night as an appetizer, and it was such a big hit. I love the sesame vinaigrette; the whole thing was so refreshing. I will make it again for sure. Thanks so much!
So great to hear you loved it as much as we do Jenny!
This is my new favourite side salad, fresh and crunchy, full of flavour and easy to make! In other words..perfect!
Simple, yet so effective!
I love making salads like these and I love how you added a maple vinaigrette, it adds such a beautiful flavour to the salad! When I make this salad next time I will make sure to make a maple vinaigrette just for a change. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Great to hear. Sometimes change is good! In this case, delicious.
It’s nice to change things up once in a while. Enjoy!
This is my favorite way to enjoy carrots! Shredded in a salad with a wonderful dressing to add flavor and interest! This goes so well with so many other dishes!
What a bright and happy salad! I love this combination of maple and sesame! Can’t wait to make this!
It is a tasty combo…then add on the sweetness of the carrots! So good.
I have carrots in the fridge but julienned ones. Can use them instead for this salad. I am planning to this for lunch today.
Sure, I don’t see why not Gunjan. Let me know how it goes please!
What a fantastic salad for summer. I love all these different carrots and the flavours. A perfect spring and summer side. Pinning for later.
It is delicious beside barbecue or roasted meats, or on its own. Very versatile
My wife will love this Carrot Salad with Sesame Maple Vinaigrette! It looks really scrumptious.
Thanks Dennis! I hope you make it for her.
I love a crunchy salad and the addition of the pistachios was a wonderful idea. I have to confess, though, I added raisins. Perfect!
hahahaha, oh no! JK I’m not a raisin hater but they have their place.
This is a delicious and simple carrot salad recipe but what makes it stand out is the Maple Vinaigrette on top.
I agree! The vinaigrette really makes the salad.
I love the colors and brightness of this salad. I also love the pistachio crunchiness! Will make any tie soon! The sooner the better!
That is great to hear, I hope your really enjoy it.
Gorgeous and delicious! Can’t beat that combo!
This looks absolutely amazing.
Thanks for stopping by Kim.
I do like the maple syrup and the pistachios in here Can’t wait to try it !
It’s a wonderful flavour combo!