Carrot Raisin Salad

This carrot raisin salad is loaded with quinoa and chickpeas for extra protein and dressed in a bright and flavorful cilantro almond dressing.

I’ve always been into carrot salads. I think the fact that they’re typically studded with raisins is what draws me in — I’m such a sucker for dried fruit! That said, you’ll usually find me eating raisins by the handful rather than spending the time to make carrot salads.

This changed after a picnic lunch where I tried a carrot, chickpea and quinoa salad with Moroccan spices. It wasn’t anything too crazy or different but the flavor was on point and I immediately knew I wanted to recreate the salad at home.

A carrot salad with raisins, quinoa, chickpeas in a bowl with a gold spoon on the right.

Cooking Quinoa for Salad

When it comes to cooking quinoa to use for salad, it’s basically the same process as normal, but I like to make my quinoa a day in advance, let it cool and chill it in the fridge overnight and then use it for the salad the next day.

Prepping it in advance is just so the quinoa doesn’t heat up the other salad ingredients. Of course it’s fine to cook it the same day and just let it cool a bit before using. I do this all the time when I’m in a rush!Large bowl with ingredients for a carrot raisin salad including quinoa, chickpeas, carrots, raisins and cilantro almond dressing.

Ingredients in Carrot Raisin Salad

  • chickpeas the perfect ingredient to add bulk protein. I used canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), but you can cook your own if you have the time.
  • carrots the star of the show here. 
  • quinoa this is the base of the recipe and you can use any type of quinoa you prefer from white, black, red to tri-color. 
  • raisins adds a little sweetness and pairs perfectly with the cilantro. 
  • cilantro almond dressing a super simple dressing made with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, toasted almonds, fresh cilantro, smoky paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.

Substitutions & Notes

Chickpeas – Like I mentioned, I used canned chickpeas because they’re super easy to use! If you don’t like chickpeas you can substitute for another white bean like cannellini beans or Northern beans.

Protein – The chickpeas and quinoa do add a good amount of plant-based protein to this salad but you could absolutely add a grilled protein to this salad to make it even more filling! This apple cider vinegar chicken would be delish.

Raisins – The raisins are what takes this salad to the next level, in my opinion. If you’re not a raisin fan you could swap in dates, dried cherries, prunes or another dried fruit. 

Avocado – Want to add a little creaminess and healthy fats to your salad? Add in some chopped avocado!

Dressing – I love the cilantro almond dressing I created for this salad but any dressing would work if you’re in a pinch. Some options: poppyseed dressing, cilantro lime dressing, white balsamic vinaigrette or lemon vinaigrette.

A carrot salad with raisins, quinoa, chickpeas in a bowl with a gold spoon on the right.

How to Serve Carrot Raisin Salad

I love eating this carrot raisin salad as a mid-afternoon snack or as a side with lunch or dinner but it would also be a great dish to bring to a potluck or summer cookouts.

If you want to meal prep this carrot salad, it can be refrigerated overnight in an air tight container. Just garnish with the toasted almonds just before serving.

More Quinoa Salads to Try:

More Carrot Recipes to Try:

If you try this carrot raisin salad be sure to come back and leave a comment and star rating letting us know how it turned out. Your feedback is super helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers. 

A carrot salad with raisins, quinoa, chickpeas in a bowl with a gold spoon on the right.

Carrot Raisin Salad

Brittany Mullins
This carrot raisin salad is loaded with quinoa and chickpeas for extra protein and dressed in a bright and flavorful cilantro almond dressing.
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 344 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled and coarsely shredded carrots
  • 1 1/4 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Cilantro-Almond Dressing

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds toasted (divided)
  • 1 packed cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions
 

  • Toast almonds: Spray a large skillet with olive oil, add the almonds and toast over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
  • Make dressing: In a food processor, combine the lemon juice with the minced garlic and let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer half of the toasted almonds to the food processor. Add the cilantro, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and pulse until chopped. Add the olive oil and process to a chunky paste. Season with salt and pepper; transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add remaining ingredients: Add the chickpeas, carrots, quinoa, and raisins to the bowl and toss.
  • Serve: Garnish with the remaining almonds and serve.
  • Prep ahead of time: If you want to make the carrot salad ahead of time, it can be refrigerated overnight. Garnish with the toasted almonds just before serving.

Notes

  • Chickpeas – Like I mentioned, I used canned chickpeas because they're super easy to use! If you don't like chickpeas you can substitute for another white bean like cannellini beans or Northern beans.
  • Protein – The chickpeas and quinoa do add a good amount of plant-based protein to this salad but you could absolutely add a grilled protein to this salad to make it even more filling! This apple cider vinegar chicken would be delish.
  • Raisins – The raisins are what takes this salad to the next level, in my opinion. If you're not a raisin fan you could swap in dates, dried cherries, prunes or another dried fruit.
  • Avocado – Want to add a little creaminess and healthy fats to your salad? Add in some chopped avocado!
  • Dressing – I love the cilantro almond dressing I created for this salad but any dressing would work if you're in a pinch. Some options: poppyseed dressing, cilantro lime dressing, white balsamic vinaigrette or lemon vinaigrette.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of recipeCalories: 344kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 9gFat: 14gFiber: 8gSugar: 11g
Keyword carrot raisin salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Cilantro-Almond Dressing – inspired by Food & Wine’s Carrot and Chickpea Salad.

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Recipe Rating




    24 comments
    1. Nadine Bray
      May 1, 2021 AT 5:34 am

      4 stars
      Weird but tasty.

      My tastebuds went into shock mode with the first bite, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Then I realized it’s a positive shock!
      It’s so simple, crunchy yet fluffy!

      Not my personal favorite but my mother is a huge fan!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 1, 2021 AT 8:59 pm

        So glad this recipe was a hit! Thanks for giving it a try and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it!

    2. Mary Beth Schaye
      May 2, 2019 AT 9:10 pm

      5 stars
      I’ve been getting your recipes for some months now but this is the first one I’ve tried. It’s delicious! I can’t wait to try the deconstructed guac salad to use up this cilantro. 🙂 I assumed that the quinoa went in the bowl the same time as carrots, chickpeas and raisins, but the recipe does not actually say that.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        May 3, 2019 AT 11:27 pm

        Ohh yay! I’m so excited that this was the first recipe your tried. Welcome to the world of EBF recipes. 🙂 Thank you so much for catching that oversight. You assumed correctly. I’ll update the recipe right away.

    3. Asra
      January 14, 2015 AT 6:56 pm

      What do we do with the raisins? Do they go in the food processor, or garnish. Looks delish, will definitely try.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 14, 2015 AT 7:29 pm

        I just updated the recipe, but you add them to the mix the same time you add the chickpeas and carrots. 🙂

    4. sarah
      July 27, 2014 AT 9:54 am

      This salad looks so delicious and perfect for the hot summer when turning my oven on isn’t an option. Thanks for sharing this!

    5. Tammi A.
      July 23, 2014 AT 3:09 pm

      I wanted to make this immediately but have no cilantro, so, I used baby spinach instead. I’m sure my dressing turned out way greener than the original recipe. However, I think it still tastes great! I also roasted my chickpeas with tamari using Dreena Burton’s Tamari roasted chickpea recipe. All together, this dish is wonderful. I hope it freezes well because this is too much for me to eat in just a few days. Has anyone tried freezing it?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 24, 2014 AT 8:22 pm

        Oh yum! I love that you used Dreena’s Tamari Roasted Chickpeas with it. I LOVE her recipes! I haven’t tried freezing this recipe (or any similar recipes) so I’m not 100% how well it will freeze. If you do end up freezing it, please come back and let me know if it froze well. Thanks Tammi!

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