This French Carrot Salad recipe combines raw grated carrots, handpicked fresh herbs, and a tangy lemon Dijon vinaigrette to create a dish that captures the simple elegance of classic French cuisine in every colorful, flavorful bite!
So, it’s no wonder that, as a big fan of raw veggie goodness, the iconic French grated carrot salad is one I crave constantly.
Picture a vibrant medley of finely grated carrots and aromatic fresh herbs united by a delicious homemade lemon Dijon vinaigrette.
It’s the type of dish that turns the humble carrot into a delicacy.
What is Carottes Râpées?
While the exact origin is challenging to pinpoint, this classic French salad, known as “carottes râpées,” has likely been part of French cuisine for centuries.
The dish exemplifies the French appreciation of fresh ingredients and simple preparation by combining finely grated carrots, fresh herbs, and a simple yet flavorful vinaigrette, typically made with extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, and fresh lemon or vinegar.
Whether served as a side dish or a light, refreshing appetizer, carottes râpées is a staple in casual bistros, home kitchens, and upscale restaurants throughout France.
Ready to take your taste buds on a French rendez-vous? Bon voyage et bon appétit!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Here are the top reasons to make this simple salad:
- Quick and easy: This salad is a breeze to make, perfect for busy weekdays or last-minute gatherings.
- Versatile sidekick: Impress your guests at casual and formal occasions, or treat yourself to a raw carrot salad with French flair.
- A healthy twist on tradition: Explore the lighter side of French food with a dish that’s refreshing and full of raw carrot goodness.
True to classic carottes râpées, the ingredients are simple, fresh, and flavorful.
Here is everything you’ll need:
The Main Ingredients:
Here is a brief overview of the main ingredients:
- Carrots – You can go with traditional orange carrots or choose a mix of colors (purple, yellow, or red). Just be sure to choose young, sweet carrots and wash and peel them before grating.
- Parsley – Rarely will you find a classic French dish without fresh herbs. The herbaceous, slightly peppery notes complement the carrots’ sweetness and add complexity to the dish. You can use flat-leaf parsley or curly parsley.
The Vinaigrette Ingredients:
Here is a brief overview of the ingredients you’ll need to make the lemon Dijon vinaigrette:
- Extra-virgin olive oil – This is the highest quality and least processed olive oil. It provides a distinct, rich flavor profile. Look for cold-pressed or first cold-pressed EVOO, as these methods help retain the oil’s natural flavors and nutritional benefits.
- Dijon mustard – Authentic French carrot salad recipes often feature Dijon mustard in the vinaigrette. Its sharp and slightly spicy flavor enhances the overall taste of the dish.
- Lemon juice – The citrusy notes brighten the overall fresh complexity of the dressing. Feel free to add a pinch of lemon zest to intensify the lemony taste.
- Cumin – Cumin is not a common ingredient in French food. However, it adds warmth and a hint of spice to the dish.
- Salt and black pepper – For seasoning the salad to taste.
How to Make French Carrot Salad
Here’s how this simple carrot salad recipe comes together:
Step 1. Prep the main ingredients.
Peel or scrub the carrots and grate them using a food processor with a grating disc. You can also use a standard box grater, Mandoline slicer, or spiralizer. Finely chop the parsley.
Step 2. Prepare the dressing.
Add the olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and cumin to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Or, place everything in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to combine.
Step 3. Toss the salad.
Place the grated carrots and chopped parsley in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the vinaigrette over top, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
Step 4. Marinate and serve.
Place the bowl in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes, and give it a quick stir before serving.
Utilize these tips, and your French carrot salad will taste like it came from a classic French kitchen:
- Aim for fine, uniform ribbons. It’s easiest to do it in a food processor with a grating attachment, but you can also grate the carrots by hand using a standard box grater, Mandoline slicer, or spiralizer.
- Let it marinate. For a more cohesive, full-flavored dish, allow the salad to marinate in the vinaigrette in the fridge before serving.
- Serve at the right temperature. Serve the salad chilled or at room temperature for a delightful dining experience.
Consider this simple carrot salad recipe your culinary canvas. You can add other ingredients to it to customize the flavor.
Here are some delicious variations:
- Add more fresh herbs – Besides fresh parsley, don’t hesitate to incorporate other fresh herbs like chives, green onions, dill, or tarragon.
- Add other raw veggies – You can add thinly sliced shallot and/or radishes.
- Add beans – I ordered carottes râpées once in a restaurant in Quebec City, and it had chickpeas. SO GOOD! Northern beans or cannellini beans would also be great.
- Add a sweet element – Slightly sweeten the lemon Dijon vinaigrette with some honey. Or, toss a handful of chopped dates, raisins, or dried cranberries into this carrot and parsley salad.
- Consider vinegar – If you need a substitute for lemon juice, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar impart a similar bright, acidic flavor.
Storing & Freezing
- Storing: Store leftover grated carrot salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but for optimal freshness, it’s recommended to consume it within the first day or two.
- Freezing: Grated carrot salad with a vinaigrette dressing does not freeze well. It’s best to enjoy this type of salad fresh or refrigerate it for short-term storage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few related questions about this French classic:
What is the difference between grated carrots and shredded carrots?
The terms are often used interchangeably, but there’s a subtle difference in texture. Grated carrots are finer and have a more delicate consistency, while shredded carrots are coarser and maintain a slightly thicker, stringier texture.
Can you grate carrots in advance?
Sure! To maintain their freshness, store the grated carrots in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use them within a day or two before their texture starts to change.
How do you serve French grated carrot salad?
In France, grated carrot salad is often served as a side dish with main courses like roast chicken, fish, quiche, braised meats, and stews. You can also use it as a filling in sandwiches and your favorite grain bowls.
More Healthy Carrot Recipes
Here are more must-make carrot dishes:
- Mashed Carrots
- Roasted Carrots and Onions
- Peas and Carrots
- Cauliflower and Carrot Soup
- Savory Carrot Muffins
- 1.5 pound carrots (about 5-6 medium carrots), peeled and grated
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- salt and black pepper to taste
- To prep the main ingredients, peel or scrub the carrots and grate them using a food processor with a grating disc, box grater, Mandoline slicer, or spiralizer. Finely chop the parsley.
- Place the grated carrots and chopped parsley into a large salad bowl.
- To prepare the vinaigrette, add the olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and cumin to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour the vinaigrette over the carrots. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.
- Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes before serving.