Carrot Salad with Tahini Lemon Vinaigrette
on Apr 14, 2022, Updated May 31, 2023
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This crunchy carrot salad has pistachios, scallions and cilantro all tossed in a lemon tahini dressing. Serve it as a salad or a side dish.
If you’re craving carrots, you can also try this Moroccan Carrot Salad.
If you haven’t ever gotten into eating raw carrots, spring is just the time to start. And I’m not talking about those pre-peeled and cut baby ones you can have as a snack.
I always like roasted carrots for a side, and sautéed with onions and celery, I have to give this trio credit for being the first ingredients in countless soup recipes. But next time try skipping the cooking because carrots make a fantastic base for salads. They are a good alternative to the expected lettuce and leafy greens.
Types Of Carrot Salads
Generally there are 2 directions you can go with a shredded carrot salad:
- The classic French carrot salad has lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and fresh herbs. In France you can find this salad prepackaged in groceries and on restaurant menus. It’s fresh and light.
- The traditional Southern carrot salad is much different. It has pineapple, raisins, a little sugar and nuts. The dressing is tangy with both mayo and sour cream to balance out the sweetness.
For my version, I go more with the French style keeping the crisp texture in mind. The tahini in the dressing does thicken it and adds some creaminess, but it isn’t meant to hide the bite of the carrots. That, with a combination of spices, gives the salad hints of Moroccan taste and flavor.
How To Cut Carrots
The carrots for this salad are cut into matchsticks. I don’t mind using my knife to take care of this task. No matter what tool you do use, peel the carrots and trim the ends before you begin.
Then cut the carrots into 2 to 3-inch lengths. Halve them lengthwise. Then cut them into slices, and finally slice them into matchsticks. It really isn’t that tough. And once you get going, you will pick up speed.
Another option is to use a julienne peeler. This probably won’t save you that much time, but if you feel more confident with this kind of gadget, then go for it.
Also, you can shred the carrots with the large holes of a box grater, but the strands will come out thinner and shorter. The same is true if you run the carrots through a food processor with the shredding disc.
And before you ask, yes, you can buy a bag of shredded carrots in the produce section at the grocery store for the ultimate shortcut.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This is what you need:
- Carrots: I love the colors of rainbow carrots, so that’s why I prefer using a mix of orange, purple and white carrots. It doesn’t impact the flavor as much as it gives it such a vibrant and dynamic look.
- Scallions: These green onions are my favorite type of onion to add to salads because they are crisp and not too strong.
- Pistachios and carrots go so well together. I am a big fan of adding chopped nuts to salads. You can also use walnuts or almonds instead.
- Cilantro: The salad has plenty of fresh herbs with chopped cilantro. You can go with fresh parsley or a mix of both herbs if you can’t decide.
- Tahini: This sesame seed paste is the star ingredient of the vinaigrette. It makes it a little bit creamy.
- Lemon juice is bright and citrusy. Vinaigrette needs an acid component. That can be the obvious vinegar or it can be citrus juice.
- Olive oil: For every salad dressing you make, always use extra-virgin olive oil.
- Maple syrup adds a smidge of sweetness. You can mix in honey instead if you don’t mind if the recipe is not vegan.
- Cumin is an earthy dried spice that gives the salad of touch of something North African or Middle Eastern.
- Salt & pepper season the vinaigrette.
How To Make This Carrot Salad Recipe
- Cut the carrots. First peel the carrots and trim the ends. Then use a knife or julienne peeler to cut the carrots into matchsticks. Or shred them with a box grater or food processor. You can skip this step if you are using pre cut packaged shredded carrots.
- Combine the salad ingredients including the carrots, scallions, nuts and cilantro in a large bowl.
- Make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, cumin, kosher salt, pepper and olive oil.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette into the carrot salad. Toss to combine, so the ingredients are evenly dressed.
- Chickpeas: Go ahead and add a can of chickpeas that you have drained and rinsed. This is when the recipe definitely goes toward that Moroccan carrot salad.
- Cheese: As it is written, the recipe is vegan, but if you do eat dairy, you can add crumbled feta or goat cheese.
This is an excellent choice for a potluck salad and side dish in a single recipe. Since it doesn’t have greens, there is no chance that it will wilt.
You can store leftovers in the fridge up to 2 days in an airtight container. If you know that you aren’t planning to eat the entire salad in a single meal, don’t toss it in the dressing. Actually store them separately. Give the dressing 10 minutes or so at room temperature before you then toss it with the carrots. This gives the oil a chance to turn liquid again if it’s solid from the cold of the refrigerator.
More Salad Recipes
Carrot Salad with Tahini Lemon Vinaigrette
- For salad
- 1 pound carrots
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- For vinaigrette
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Peel and trim the ends of the carrots. Cut them into matchsticks using sharp chef’s knife or a julienne peeler. You can also use a box grater or food processor and shred the carrots.
- Combine the carrots, scallions, pistachios and cilantro in a large bowl.
- For the vinaigrette, whisk together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, cumin, kosher salt, pepper and olive oil in a small bowl until fully combined.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette into the salad, tossing to combine.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.