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.

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The “try it once, come back for seconds” salad

chopped carrots on a brown cutting board

There are a few reasons why this salad is so popular and has stood the test of time:

  1. The sweet and sour flavor. Think of sweet and sour chicken. The dressing kind of has that tang and it’s unforgettable.
  2. It’s easy to make. Sure there’s a little chopping. But get some help and have a gab session.
  3. No mayo. This is a carrot salad without mayo so that might appeal to those who aren’t a fan of mayo vegetable salads.
  4. Make ahead benefits. Make the whole salad about 3 days before you plan to serve. Perfect party salad!


white basket tray of rainbow carrots on a cream background

The main ingredient list is pretty simple:

  • Carrots. 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. 
  • Peppers. Green are the preferred but if red, orange or yellow feel better to you, go for it!
  • White onions. The bite from white onions soaks up all that dressing in the best way.
  • Tomato soup. It’s the base for the dressing.
  • White vinegar. Add the acid.
  • Sugar. To balance the tomato and white vinegar.

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.

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. 

The Instructions

chopped carrots on a brown cutting board.
cooked rainbow carrots in a silver colander on a cream background.
salad dressing ingredients and cooked carrots in a colander.
carrot salad in a ziploc bag in clear bowl on a wooden cutting board with a knife and onion.
  • Peel, chop and cook the carrots [1] and then cook for about 8 minutes in boiling water [2]. The carrots will give in to the acid from the vinegar and get perfectly soft yet stay crisp.
  • Meanwhile mix up all your marinade/dressing ingredients in a bowl and chop your onions and peppers into nice thin slices [3]. 
  • Add the now cooled carrots, onions and peppers to a ziploc bag. Place the bag into a bowl upright [4]. Trust me. You don’t want carrot salad dressing all over your fridge. It sucks. Or at least I’ve heard that.
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables mixing it up to make sure everything is covered and cozy [4].
  • Get all the air out of the bag, 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. 

Serving Tips

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

Marinated Carrot Salad can be the BFF to your favorite burger (hint: this juicy turkey burger), chicken sandwich or three salad plate. Seriously, why have one salad when 3 is clearly better?

Here are two salads to round out your 3 salad plate:

Farro and Oranges Salad

Blueberry Sunshine Salad

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!

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
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  • 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!
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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