Carrot Sesame Slaw – A Fun + Colorful Carrot Salad Recipe

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Ever find yourself staring at a bunch of carrots and thinking, “What on earth can I make with these that doesn’t involve a peeler and a pot of boiling water?” Well, hold onto your hats (or your salad spinners), because I’ve got a carrot salad recipe that’ll make those humble carrots the star of the show. Introducing the Carrot Sesame Slaw – a dish so vibrant and flavorful, it’s like eating a rainbow, assuming rainbows taste delicious and don’t require you to chase them down first.

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Recipe card and description updated 2/7/24.

carrot slaw - an easy carrot salad recipe

Eat the Rainbow (Carrots)

Rainbow carrots are lovely, aren’t they? Lovely in the way that you really don’t need to do much to make them look and taste really spectacular and special–because they already are. Lovely in the way that somehow, just by flashing a fancy color, an ordinary root vegetable is transformed in to something extraordinary. Lovely in the way that in about the five minutes it takes to julienne them, you can have a crisp and tasty slaw that goes well with just about anything….but I’m really getting ahead of myself here.

First it’s necessary to pull off those green stems and give them a good scrub. Rainbow carrots shouldn’t be peeled (or only peeled very lightly) because the brilliant purple color is only on the outer layer. So just make sure they are good and clean and any little root fibers are rubbed off.

Then comes the small matter of julienning them. I have a mandoline, which is perfect for a job like this, if you like doing dishes. But come the end of the day, I have usually been doing dishes for hours and hours so that is not something I really look forward to. Nor do I have the impeccable knife skills required to cut such long slivers of carrots (and I have the scars to prove it). So luckily, I found this peeler that actually slices the carrots into julienne strips and fits into my dishwasher’s silverware compartment. Cool, right? Alternately, you can cut the carrots into thicker ribbons using your regular vegetable peeler, which isn’t as slaw-ish, but also does the job.

carrot slaw with rainbow carrots

How to Make this Carrot Salad Recipe

This slaw isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill salad that you push around your plate pretending to enjoy. Oh no, this is the kind of salad you actually want to eat. Made with julienned carrots (that’s fancy chef speak for “cut into thin strips”), this slaw gets its zing from lime juice, its nuttiness from toasted sesame oil, and a hint of umami from tamari and fish sauce. And let’s not forget the honey for that touch of sweetness, because life’s too short to eat salad that tastes like punishment.

Serves: 4 people, or just you, because let’s be honest, you’re not going to want to share.


  • 1 bunch of rainbow carrots, because we’re fancy like that
  • Juice from 1 lime, for that tangy kick
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, for a touch of nutty goodness
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari sauce, check the label!
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free fish sauce (or more tamari, if you’re not into fish sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon honey, to balance out the sass
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for that extra crunch
  • A handful of chopped cilantro, for a pop of color and flavor


  1. Take those carrots and show them who’s boss by cutting them into long, thin strips. This is your chance to practice those knife skills you brag about but rarely use.
  2. In a battle of bowls, take the smaller one and whisk together lime juice, sesame oil, tamari, fish sauce, and honey like you’re concocting a potion.
  3. Drizzle your magical dressing over the carrots, and toss them until they’re all happily mingling. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty – it’s part of the fun.
  4. Shower the salad with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro, because we eat with our eyes first and this needs to look as good as it tastes.

Serve this slaw immediately if you’re impatient, or let it sit in the fridge if you’re all about that delayed gratification. It’s said to taste even better the next day, making it the rare salad that doesn’t wilt at the sight of a dressing.


Can I use regular orange carrots?

Absolutely! While rainbow carrots turn this salad into a work of art, standard orange carrots are just as delicious. It’s the inner beauty (and taste) that counts.

Is this carrot salad recipe hard to make?

Hard to make? Please. If you can wield a knife and whisk a few ingredients together, you’re more than qualified. This is as easy as it gets, folks.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, and you should! This slaw is like fine wine; it gets better with age. Well, up to a day or two, at least. The flavors meld and marry, making your slaw even more delicious, if that’s possible.

What if I don’t have sesame oil?

While toasted sesame oil adds a unique flavor, if you’re in a pinch, you can use another mild oil. Just know that you’ll be missing out on that signature nutty taste that makes this slaw stand out.

So there you have it, the Carrot Sesame Slaw – your new go-to salad that’s as easy to make as it is to devour. It’s light, it’s refreshing, and it’ll make you look at carrots in a whole new light. Go ahead, give it a try, and watch as your dinner table turns into the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

rainbow carrot slaw topped with sesame seeds

More vibrant salads to inspire you!

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Carrot Sesame Slaw – An Easy Carrot Salad Recipe

Alison Needham
This recipe is spectacular with rainbow carrots if you can find them (your farmers’ market or natural foods store is your best bet), but it works equally well with the standard orange variety as well. I love this salad as a light lunch or as a side dish at dinner time. It keeps very well and I think it tastes even better the next day.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine American, Thai
Servings 4 servings
Calories 84 kcal


  • Mandoline or a sharp knife



  • Julienne the carrots using a mandoline or a sharp knife. Place the carrots in a medium bowl. In another smaller bowl, whisk together the lime juice, sesame oil, tamari, fish sauce and honey.
  • Drizzle over the carrots and toss well (I use my hands).
  • Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro and serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Serving: 1portionCalories: 84kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 260mgPotassium: 290mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 14200IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 1mg
Keyword carrot salad recipe, carrot slaw, rainbow carrot recipe
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  1. Beautiful slaw! Looks delicious. Love the combo of sesame and tamari. I’m excited to grow carrots in our garden again this year. We had a bumper crop last season!

    Cheers, Pete

  2. Your photos are spectacular! Love when yellow and purple carrots arrive at the farmers market

  3. Can you use raw julienned beets for half the carrots?

  4. Pingback: Carrot Sesame Slaw

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