I was a little saddened when I heard about the removal of Chick-fil-A's Carrot Raisin Salad from their menu, last year. I was not A LOT sad because the closest restaurant to me is a little over 300 miles and to hop in the truck for a quick Chick-fil-A trip is not going to happen anytime soon. For all of you Chick-fil-A lovers out there who are within a stone's throw from a restaurant, enjoy a chicken sandwich for me, please.
CARROT RAISIN SALAD
I began the search for a recipe that tasted just like the famous carrot raisin salad. Most of the recipes that come up in a search are basically all the same, with a few minor changes. While some were not sweet enough, others had way too much pineapple in them.
Last Saturday morning, I went to town with my husband. While we were there, we stopped off and bought several pounds of locally grown carrots and other goodies. Would you believe my husband thought I was buying the carrots to feed to the rabbits? :) Carrot cake and carrot raisin salad is all I had to say to this idea.
One thing I learned about trying the several versions of the recipes ~ NEVER use pre-grated, bagged carrots. I had a bag in the bottom of the refrigerator last fall that needed to be used, so I used it in the salad. That bright idea quickly turned into a bowl of uneaten, almost loss of love for carrot raisin salad. FRESH grated carrots is the secret to this recipe!
While testing the recipes, I added the required lemon juice to each batch. To me, all I could taste was lemon. There's no lemon juice in this recipe. ;) Another thing, every recipe recommended chilling all the ingredients except for the sugar and mixing the sugar and pineapple. Yeah, that didn't work for me either, I ended up with super sweet and gritty pineapple.
I also found that a 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple to be a little too much. So I used a small eight ounce can of crushed pineapple plus three pineapple slices which I chopped up and added to the little can. But you could definitely not add the three pineapple slices.
While I remember my cute little Chick-fil-A bowl with a little juice at the bottom, I knew I wanted to have just the right amount of pineapple juice in my salad. I drained the pineapple has much as possible (pressing it in a fine mesh strainer). The next thing I did was mix the mayonnaise, sugar and almost all the pineapple juice together and set it aside. I placed the carrots, raisins, and pineapple in large bowl and tossed them a little. I poured the dressing over the carrots and continued mixing everything together. I even ended up adding the last of the pineapple juice so the salad would stay juicy.
Even at room temperature, this recipe tasted just like Chick-fil-A's. Once the salad was chilled, it was out of this world!
Carrot Raisin Salad
4 cups fresh carrots, finely shredded
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup mayonnaise
4 Tablespoons sugar
Drain as much of the pineapple juice out as you can and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss the carrots, raisins and pineapple together.
In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and most of the juice together, mixing well. Pour the dressing over the carrots and mix until coated. If needed add the rest of the pineapple juice and keep mixing. Cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled.