Marinated Carrot Salad

Sometimes called Copper Pennies Salad, this Carrot Salad is big on color and flavor. The perfect bbq side dish in the summer or an easy side dish recipe any holiday table, Marinated Carrot Salad salad is made without mayo making it a fresh vegetable salad.

a white bowl of marinated carrots with a wooden serving spoon on a white background

Family recipes. They’re passed down from generation to generation, right? And sometimes when you’re used to seeing them on the table holiday after holiday or year after year, you get used to them. This Marinated Carrot Salad comes straight from our family recipe box. Because the one year that it isn’t on the holiday table is the year there’s going to be lots of complaining.

chopped carrots on a brown cutting board

Best Type of Carrots for Salad

You can use any kind of carrots you like for this salad. Such freedom! Purple, red, orange…the choice is yours! White carrots work especially well and look so pretty. And their flavor is a little sweeter actually. 

To make this salad even better looking, use a crinkle cutter to make those awesome ridges for the dressing to cling to. A crinkle cutter will take your next vegetable tray to a whole other level. Or cut your kiddo’s pb&j sandwich with it and make some waves (literally) at the lunch table.

white basket tray of rainbow carrots on a cream background

Peeling Carrots  – yes or no?

There is lots of discussion about whether carrots need to be peeled or not.  For me, it comes down to two things: taste and aesthetics. Carrot peels tend to be bitter and a little sandy so if you haven’t washed them well, your salad may have some extra texture or some unwanted flavor. And unless you’re roasting them, carrots look better when they’re peeled. 

That’s just one girl’s opinion.

If you need some more justification for not peeling carrots, The Kitchn has a great article about 5 times you don’t have to peel carrots. And if you need to understand the why peel carrots POV, Cook’s Illustrated has the flipside.

a large white bowl and small bowls of marinated carrots with a wooden serving spoon on a white woven platter and white fork

No Mayo Carrot Salad

The best thing about this recipe is it doesn’t require mayonnaise. Mayonnaise-heavy vegetable salads seem like an oxymoron to me and are anything but healthy. Plus, when you cover vegetables with a bunch of mayo, all you taste is well…mayo.

What’s the point?

This best thing about this carrot salad is it’s vinegar based with some oil and yes, some sugar. You can play around with the sugar amount because carrots are sweet to begin with.

cooked rainbow carrots in a silver colander on a cream background

The Instructions

  • Peel, chop and cook the carrots for about 8 minutes in boiling water. The carrots give in to the acid from the vinegar and get perfectly soft yet crisp.
  • Chop your onions and peppers into nice thin slices.
carrot salad in a ziploc bag in clear bowl on a wooden cutting board with a knife and onion
  • Add the now cooled carrots, onions and peppers to a ziploc bag. Place the bag into a bowl upright. Trust me. You don’t want carrot salad dressing all over your fridge. It sucks. Or at least I’ve heard that.
salad dressing ingredients and cooked carrots in a colander
  • Meanwhile mix up all your marinade/dressing ingredients in a bowl. 
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables mixing it up to make sure everything is covered and cozy.
  • Get all the air out of the bag and seal that baby up and put the whole thing in the fridge. 


This salad keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge. You gotta love any salad that keeps on giving like that. 

a large white bowl and small bowls of marinated carrots with a wooden serving spoon on a white woven platter and white spoon

Serving Tips

Think of Marinated Carrot Salad as the bff to your favorite burger, especially this juicy turkey burger, chicken sandwich or three salad plate. 

Yes, “three salad plate” because why have one salad when you can have three?

Here are two salads to pair with your Marinated Carrot Salad: 

Farro and Oranges Salad

Blueberry Sunshine Salad

For a crowd or a few: Because this salad makes a lot and is meant to accessorize whatever menu item is the star, people don’t take heaping portions of it. So just make the recipe as is and enjoy!

a white bowl of marinated carrots with a wooden serving spoon on a white background.
5 from 1 vote

Marinated Carrot Salad

A marinated carrot salad that makes the perfect party dish, summer barbecue recipes or holiday side.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:8 minutes
Marinating Time:4 hours
Total Time:4 hours 18 minutes
Servings 12


  • 3 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced thin (see notes)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 small green pepper, slivered (see note)
  • 10 oz. tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon set aside in a small bowl
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp celery salt
  • ½ cup canola oil, can use avocado or olive
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard, can use Dijon
  • ½ cup sugar, (can use less – like 1/3)
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Bring a 4 qt. saucepan of water to boil and cook carrot until softened approximately 8 minutes. Don't let them get too soft. You want a little crunch.
  • In a mixing bowl, first mix the 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce with the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to make a slurry.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine.
  • Drain carrots and toss with the marinade in the mixing bowl or large ziploc bag.
  • Cover the bowl tightly or seal up the mixing bag removing all the air.
  • Refrigerate a minimun of 4 hours or overnight.


  • Feel free to use a variety of colored carrots.
  • This carrot salad will last in the fridge in a sealed bag or container for a couple of weeks.
  • You can change up the pepper (i.e. red or yellow for the green)
  • Add some sliced jalapenos for a spicier version.
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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