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This French carrot salad recipe proves that French cooking can be simple, flavorful, and fast! I first tried an authentic French version when we were on our honeymoon in France — and I’ve tried to recreate it at home. Like my cucumber tomato avocado salad or three bean salad (but with very different veggies), it combines fresh herbs and veggies with a quick lemon dressing. And it’s so easy to pair with all your favorite meats and mains!
What Is French Carrot Salad?
This dish, known in France as salade de carottes râpées, is not like typical southern American carrot salad recipes with mayonnaise and raisins. Rather, it blends finely grated carrots with fresh herbs and a bright lemon Dijon vinaigrette. It’s common to find this side dish everywhere from restaurant menus to supermarkets in France.
Why You’ll Love This French Carrot Salad Recipe
- Lightly sweet and lemony taste
- Crisp, lightly crunchy texture
- Uses basic grocery store ingredients
- Ready in 15 minutes
- A delicious addition to cookouts, potlucks, and everyday meals
Ingredient & Substitution Notes
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for French grated carrot salad, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Carrots – Grate carrots fresh to a fine consistency for this dish — pre-shredded ones still work, but the texture is not as good. You can use a food processor with a grate attachment, large holes of a box grater, or the grating attachment for a stand mixer to get the correct consistency in your vegetables.
- Olive Oil – Remember, this is one of those carrot salad recipes without mayonnaise! Olive oil makes up the bulk of the salad dressing instead, so use a high quality extra virgin variety. Some of the oil will also help toast the pine nuts.
- Lemon Juice – For the best, brightest flavor, use fresh squeezed juice. Bottled lemon juice works in a pinch, but the flavor is not as good. White or red wine vinegar would make a good substitute.
- Whole Grain Mustard – You might also see it called old style mustard — it’s the kind with large granules. You can also use Dijon mustard for a smoother texture in your dressing, but the whole grain kind is a classic for French carrot salad.
- Pine Nuts – For extra texture and crunch. You can easily swap these with sunflower seeds or pistachios, if desired.
- Fresh Parsley – For a little extra zing, you could add or substitute green onions or chives.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – To season all the fresh vegetables.
How To Make French Carrot Salad
This section shows how to make carrot salad French, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Make dressing. In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, mustard, and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
- Toast pine nuts. Heat more olive oil in a pan on low heat. Toast pine nuts until golden and fragrant.
TIP: Watch pine nuts closely.
Since they can burn easily, keep a close watch over the pan while they toast.
- Assemble. In a large bowl, mix carrots, pine nuts, and chopped parsley.
- Dress. Add dressing and mix to combine. Season your French carrot salad to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill for up to 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.
- Add spices – Although delicious in its simplicity, you can add even more flavor with 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin in addition to salt and pepper.
- Make it sweeter – Add in up to 1/2 cup raisins or 1-3 teaspoons of your favorite conventional or sugar-free sweetener, or replace the dressing with sugar-free honey mustard dressing.
- Add cheese – Consider crumbled feta or blue cheese sprinkled into this salad.
- Store: Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Meal prep: Make dressing, toast pine nuts, and shred carrots. Store components separately until ready to assemble and serve.
- Freeze: Like most salads, freezing carrot salad recipes is not recommended, as the textures will change too much.
What To Serve With Carrot Salad Recipes
Serve recipes for carrot salad with a simple French main for an easy and comforting meal! Try it with these recipes:
More French Inspired Side Dish Recipes
Once you master this easy carrot salad recipe, see how easy French style cooking can be with these simple sides:
French Carrot Salad Recipe
French Carrot Salad Recipe (15 Minutes!)
With a few basic ingredients, this French carrot salad recipe adds easy elegance to any meal — and it takes only 15 minutes!
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, and mustard. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pine nuts and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant.
In a large bowl, combine the grated carrots, toasted pine nuts, green onions (if using), and parsley.
Pour the dressing over the carrot salad and mix to combine. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
If you have time, refrigerate the salad for 20-30 minutes to let the flavors develop.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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My family loved this carrot salad. It goes great with so many dishes and we will definitely make it again.