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Winter Carrot Salad with Cranberries

It began with a recipe. It usually does. It was a simple recipe with carrots and raisins and a simple citrus vinaigrette. And then I spotted the beets in the fridge, and the apples in the fruit bowl, and–gasp!–those dried cranberries! And I knew I was abandoning the recipe.

We eat salad with nearly every dinner. Usually it’s a raw salad, something like one would order off a menu at any american restaurant, with leafy greens and cabbage and carrots and cucumbers. I usually include at least one “challenge” ingredient for my kiddos (beets, or chayote squash, or radishes) and at least one “bribe” ingredient (cucumbers, or cherry tomatoes, or oranges). But in the middle of December those leafy greens and tender lettuces are kinda expensive, not to mention looking less than fresh. So I turn to other kinds of salads to freshen up the family table.

Enter the chopped salad. Combine any sturdy winter veggie (in this case, carrots) with something sweet (dried fruit), something savory (shallots) and toss it all with a tasty vinaigrette. Tada! Salad.

This is the direction I was heading in, that afternoon as I was prepping dinner. Having departed from the simple recipe before me, I gleefully rummaged deep into the fridge to see what else I could find. This winter salad is what I ended up with. And it is stunning.

Use whatever apples you prefer, or (as in my case) whatever’s in the fruit bowl. I used Braeburn apples, which added a nice sweetness, but they tend to get mushy in salads like this. You could also use a Granny Smith or some other crisp apple that will hold its texture.

The beet addition is my most current attempt in the ongoing saga known as getting-my-family-to-like-beets. None of us, myself included, are beet fans. But we keep trying. We’re getting there, I think. At least no one complained about the beets in this salad.

You can serve this salad immediately, or put it away for an hour or two and serve it later. If you eat it right away, the veggies and the fruit are still crisp and have a nice crunch. But if you serve it later the flavors really develop and bloom. I find that letting it sit on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour strikes a nice balance between texture and flavor, but you should do whatever suits your taste, and your schedule.

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Carrot Salad with Beets and Cranberries

You should feel free to adjust ingredients and quantities to your family’s preferences.

Source: Erin at Plan to Eat

Course: Paleoish-Salads and Sides

Main Ingredient: Vegetables



  • 4 carrots
  • 1 small beet
  • 34 cup fruit-juice sweetened cranberries or raisins
  • 12 shallot minced finely
  • 2 small apples
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger grated or finely minced
  • 1 orange juiced and zested
  • 14 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar


  1. Shred the carrots and the beet (a food processor will make quick work of this job); add to a large bowl with the cranberries and shallot.
  2. Shred the apples and toss immediately with the juice of the lemon. Add to the bowl of carrots; toss to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the ginger through the vinegar and whisk well. Pour over the veggies and toss to combine.
  4. At this point you can refrigerate the salad for a few hours if needed; or serve it right away. Toss again before serving.

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