Does the viral Raw Carrot Salad really live up to its “hormone-balancing” hype? Find out a Registered Dietitian’s thoughts. Plus a new spin on the recipe featuring crunchy carrots in a dill mustard dressing.
Have you heard about “Raw Carrot Salads?” This viral Tik Tok trend has people raving about its “life-changing” effects. But is any of it fact or is it just another fad?
Let’s break it down from a Registered Dietitian’s perspective.
About The Trend
What is Raw Carrot Salad?
As seen in videos online, it is simply a salad made of raw shaved or shredded carrots mixed with oil (usually coconut or olive), apple cider vinegar, sea salt and black pepper. Eaten daily, raw carrot salads are rumored to boast some serious benefits.
What are the Health Benefits?
Among many claims, online influencers are mainly promoting this salad for its “hormone-balancing” effects. Originating from claims by American biologist Ray Peat, he states carrots contain a “specific fiber that rids the body of excess estrogen”, supposedly balancing hormones and decreasing related symptoms like migraines.
But is any of this actually true? Currently, there is no scientific research showing a link between raw carrot consumption and estrogen levels in humans. However, that doesn’t mean that raw carrot salads aren’t good for you in other ways.
Is Raw Carrot Salad Good For You?
While the raw carrot salad might not change your life, carrots are still a highly nutritious food. They are a good source of beta-carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A), Vitamin C and dietary fiber. Fiber is especially important for good digestion and has been linked to lower levels of many chronic diseases.
Are Raw Carrots Healthier Than Cooked?
Luckily, if you don’t enjoy eating them raw you can still get the same benefit from cooked carrots. While a small amount of vitamins can be lost during cooking, the nutritional difference between raw and cooked vegetables is not huge. In fact, cooking can actually make vegetables easier to digest so our bodies can better absorb their nutrients.
To get the most out of cooked veggies, avoid boiling for long periods of time or use cooking methods like steaming, roasting or stir frying. But remember, what’s more important than cooking method in the end is to eat a variety of vegetables in a way that you actually enjoy.
Raw Carrot Salads are not a “magic superfood”. Hormones are complex and are affected by much more than nutrition and diet alone. Getting adequate sleep, managing stress and moderating alcohol and caffeine are all important for healthy hormones. Carrots – raw or cooked – are still highly nutritious and make a great addition to a healthy diet.
Although only recently viral, carrot salads are not new. Unlike classic American versions, my take on the recipe contains no mayo, raisins or pineapple. It is closer to a French bistro-style salad with a light Dijon mustard dressing and fresh herbs that pair perfectly with the naturally sweet and earthy flavor of carrots.
Why You’ll Love This Salad
- You only need 6 ingredients (which you probably already have on hand)
- It’s easy to prep
- It’s vegetarian, dairy-free and easy to make vegan
- It’s crunchy, fresh and perfect for spring!
Ingredient Tips & Substitutes
- Shredded Carrots: grate your own at home or buy pre-cut julienne carrots from the store for a great time-saving hack.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: substitute with equal amounts of lemon juice or white vinegar.
- Dill: while nothing beats fresh dill it is not always available year-round. Substitute with a tablespoon of dried dill or use another fresh herb like parsley, basil, fennel or thinly sliced green onions.
- Honey: to make this recipe vegan, sub the honey for equal amounts of maple syrup.
How to Make Raw Carrot Salad (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Throw this salad together in only 15 minutes with these super simple steps:
1. Peel and shred the carrots (see FAQ – How do you shred carrots?).
2. Roughly chop and add the fresh dill.
3. Whisk dressing ingredients together in a bowl
4. Add the dressing and mix well to combine!
Refrigerate your salad at least 30 minutes before you plan to serve it. The carrots will get the chance to soak up some of the dressing but will still remain crunchy and delicious.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
There are a few different ways to easily shred carrots. Whichever way you choose, first wash your carrots well and use a peeler to remove the skin.
Box Grater: place the grater on a flat cutting board and scrape the carrot against the large holes in a downward motion. Be sure to stop when a few inches are left so you don’t cut your fingers!
Food Processor: set up your food processor with the shredding blade and turn it on high. Make sure to trim the ends off your carrots before feeding them through the machine. This method is great when you need to shred a lot of carrots!
Julienne Peeler: once you’ve peeled your carrots, switch to a julienne peeler to create long thin shreds. You could also continue using a regular peeler to make carrot ribbons.
This dish is super versatile and goes well with most proteins like chicken, salmon or even lentils. It would also make a great side to an Easter ham or turkey, or as a fresh accompaniment at your next spring barbeque. Switch it up completely and stuff this salad into a sandwich or wrap, or use it as a slaw on burgers or tacos.
Yes! But in order to keep the salad from getting soggy, mix with the dressing no more than thirty minutes before serving.
While this salad will stay good 2-3 days, it is best enjoyed the day it is prepared. Similar to other shredded salads, like coleslaw, the vegetables will continue to soften as it sits.
Another Carrot Recipe For You To Enjoy
Raw Carrot Salad with Dill Mustard Dressing
- 1 pound carrots, about 5-6 medium
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped (Note 1)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, (Note 2)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, (Note 3)
- 2 teaspoons honey, (Note 4)
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper, to taste
- Peel and shred the carrots and add to a large mixing bowl. (Note 5)
- Roughly chop the fresh dill and add to the bowl of carrots.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey and mustard.
- Pour the dressing over the carrots and dill and mix thoroughly to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Refrigerate 30 minutes before serving and enjoy!
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