Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas

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Shredded carrots get oomph from a simple dressing of orange juice and spices with pepitas adding some crunch.

Years ago, almost twenty in fact, I lived in France for a year. It was a fabulous experience. I ate some of the best meals of my life while living there.

One of the things that I observed was that, contrary to popular belief, everyday French food does not have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, fresh, in-season produce played a central role in many of the meals I enjoyed with French families. One such dish was the carrot salad.

It is probably everyday kind of boring to many French folks, but it certainly was not anything my mom had ever fixed. Yet, it’s amazingly easy to prep and makes a delicious first course or side salad. My version here adds some south of the (US) border flavor with cumin, oregano, pepitas, and cilantro.

Carrots are definitely a good cheap eat. Full of vitamins and minerals, this spring vegetable is very affordable. I regularly find the organic variety for about fifty cents a pound in bulk at Costco. Now is the time to snag carrots on sale.

And make this salad.

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Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot, carrot salad, carrots
Servings: 8
Calories: 90 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 10 ounces shredded carrot
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrot, pepitas, and cilantro.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the orange juice, cumin, oregano, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream.
  3. Toss the dressing with the carrot mixture. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

Promptly store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Nutritional values are approximate and based on 1/8 the recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 90 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 25mg1%
Potassium 145mg4%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 5936IU119%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 14mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Kristal says

    I grew up eating my grandma’s carrot salad(mayo&raisins) and once on my own started experimenting with my own, healthier and more savory versions. Our favorite is an Asian inspired carrot salad with ginger, soy, rice vinegar,and chili paste. I sometimes add cilantro to that one. I try to keep shredded carrots around because they are easily added to dishes:). And you can’t go wrong with costco’s price on them!

    • AJ's Mommy says

      @Kristal, Your version sounds yummy Kristal! chili paste means siracha? what are the proportions you use?

  2. this sounds so delicious!

  3. Ooh, I was contemplating a carrot recipe for Easter dinner and this sounds so good! My dad is a chef so it’s tough to “out do” his cooking, but this just may do it! Thanks!

  4. Shannon says

    Oooh! I just finished reading Bringing up Bebe and she mentioned a shredded carrot salad as a first course for French families. Seeing yours in picture gives me a better idea what it looked like (yes, I envisioned the mayo/raisin/pineapple version of my childhood – yuck!) I think something similar might make it to our dinner table on Sunday where I needed something bright. Thanks!

    • Jessica says

      @Shannon, I keep hearing about that book. I might need to check it out. Did you like it?

      • Shannon says


        I’m not sure one way or the other. On one hand I loved hearing about a whole society that has similar values around parenting. I think the word is cadre, meaning a framework. The French culture places a lot of importance on balance, good foods, manners, etc. However, a part of me felt like it was one more thing to make me feel guilty about the choices I make within my own societal framework. Does that make sense? I’m still thinking about it and once I get it back from my sister I’m going to re-read it to see what I glean from a second go-around.

        I do know that I loved the food part – lunch is the protein rich meal so dinner is lighter & typically a pasta meal, there is only one snack a day around 4 p.m., they give their kids GOOD hot chocolate & good breads, dinner starts with a vegetable course (such as the carrot salad) while the parents fix the rest of the meal. It just seemed fairly easy and less complicated than what I’ve established for our family. I’m working hard to make some changes in our life that pick up some of those elements (w/o having to done a beret, of course!) 🙂

  5. KimH says

    Yum… some of my very favorite things.. carrot salad, pepitas, & cilantro. I would never have thought to put them together but it sounds divine. I have all the ingredients so I think Im having this for supper! Thanks & Have a great day! 🙂

  6. Christine says

    Shannon, that is so funny – I’ve been serving shredded carrot salad since reading the same book last month. Delicious!

    I had similar reactions to the book. It seems to champion values which are not mine (that the less attached a young child is to the mother, the better , for example). On the other hand, why didn’t I do the food their way????

    • Jessica says

      I would agree — without having read the book. When it comes to food, the French know their stuff. Other areas of life? Maybe not so much. 😉

  7. Stacy says

    I made a Moroccan carrot salad that was a little like this one, last summer. The cumin and orange juice were a nice combination. I was out of orange juice and used margarita mix, but it was still good. 🙂 We almost never make margaritas or drinks, so the mix ends up sitting around forever and ever, anyway.

  8. Carla says

    What is a pepita?

    • Jessica says

      It’s a Mexican pumpkin seed.

  9. Jennifer says

    Where would I find pepitas? I went to Trader Joes today and they didn’t have them… I’m thinking I could just use pumpkin seeds?? They’re a bit bigger, but probably similar in taste? Thanks.

    • Maybe TJ’s has labeled them differently? I buy them at Trader Joe’s. I think they say both on the label here. Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

  10. Demi says

    How far in advance could I make this?

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