Maria's Best Carrot Salad

Mom's carrot salad is an easy dish made with fresh carrots that are cooked to a quick boil until they are perfectly tender to bite, then tossed with a sweet vinaigrette made with fresh garlic, oregano, extra-virgin olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar. These ingredients make a vibrant and delicious salad with texture, enticing flavors and gets rid of all the notions of the so-called "boring" vegetable.

The garlic and oregano give a distinctive but subtle favor, creating a reaction to ask-" What's in this salad?" And the longer the carrot salad sits, the more the vinaigrette will infuse its flavors into the carrots themselves making them taste AMAZING!!

I have been making this carrot salad all summer long, and even though we posted this one years ago, I finally got around to taking new photos, giving it a fresh look.  I felt I had to post this one again, since everyone's been asking for the recipe.

This happens to be our mom's recipe and we think it's the best carrot salad is the world!  She puts her heart and soul into everything she makes. We even put her name on this one, Maria's Carrot Salad, just because we know it's always a huge hit at every gathering we bring it to.

We think this is a versatile dish to serve with practically anything.

Mom cuts her fresh carrots into sticks, similar to the size of French-fries.  The carrots are gently boiled until they are al-dente, tender to the bite.  Then she tosses them with her freshly homemade vinaigrette and sets her salad aside to marinate for a while. You can make this salad up to 2 days ahead, only need to set it out at least 1/2 hour before serving.

Mom has been making this classic Neapolitan carrot salad known as "insalata di carrote" as long as we can remember.  She used to make this salad weekly for Dad, it was his absolute favorite salad. Now, every time I make it, I think of him.

Her fresh carrot salad always brings a bright color, along with the refreshing taste of a carrots to the table. They're neither bland nor boring.  Just a simple recipe to use your carrots in an interesting salad as well as getting your family to eating more of them! 

Enjoy!  .... and Thanks for stopping by!

Here's a Tip: Mom always makes her salads using fresh carrots. However, if you are short for time, you can use frozen carrots, but you need to remember to under cook them because if you over cook them, they will lose their flavor, become soggy, and they won't taste good.

Maria's Best Carrot Salad
  • 1 pound bag of fresh carrots, (about 10-12 small carrots)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • pinch of ground cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste

Peel carrots and cut into rectangular sticks, about 2 inches in length.  Place carrots in a medium pot of water, and bring water to a boil.  Add a pinch of salt and boil the carrots for a few minutes, about 3 to 4 minutes, until the carrot are tender to the bite. Do not over cook the carrots, they should be crisp and tender.

Drain, and quickly blanch them in ice cold water for a few seconds to stop the cooking.  Place the carrots into a colander and allow them to drain well.

Place them into your salad bowl or platter, drizzle with olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, add fresh minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss the carrots, until well combined.  Cover and set the salad aside at room temperature to marinate, at least one hour before serving.

Before serving them, I always recommend to taste the carrots once more, they may need a little extra olive oil and vinegar since the carrots will absorb some of the vinaigrette while it sits and marinates.
Best served cool or at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8
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