This Roasted Carrot and Arugula Salad with feta and avocado will soon become your new favorite salad! It’s loaded with different flavors and textures and looks fancy, but is super easy and is a perfect dish for fall and holiday gatherings. Or add some protein on top for a complete meal.
Last updated on November 17, 2020.
I’m a sucker for a good salad. And I mean a good salad – I don’t like weak salads. I need them loaded with all the toppings. And this roasted carrot arugula salad does exactly that. And it touches on lots of different flavors and textures (crunchy, salty, creamy, sweet), which I think is essential for salad.
This roasted carrot salad also has a special place in my heart as it was served at our wedding! It was one of my favorite things we tried at our tasting before we got married (and we tried a lot of good food), but I absolutely loved this.
The best thing is, it’s super versatile too. You can serve it up at a dinner party, make it as an appetizer or side dish for a holiday party, top it with some protein for an easy weeknight meal, or even prep it on the weekend for meal prep. I go everything you need to do for meal prep later in the post.
How to make roasted carrot and arugula salad with feta & avocado
Roasted carrot salad with arugula has different flavors and textures and is oh so flavorful. It takes a little more time than your typical throw together type salad and requires a little prep work. But I promise it is worth the effort!
Here is what you need:
- carrots – I used rainbow carrots
- red onions
- pumpkin seeds
- apple cider vinegar (to pickle the onions)
- salt and pepper
First, roast the carrots. Toss them in with some oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes until they are golden brown. Next pickle the onions. I am using a quick pickle method, but the longer they sit, the more pickled they will be.
To pickle the onions, thinly slice the onion and add to a large jar. Add apple cider vinegar, water, and salt. Place the lid on the jar and shake well to combine. Set aside.
Next toast the pumpkin seeds. Heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Add seeds and toast for 2-4 minutes until they start to brown and get fragrant. Once they start to brown, immediately remove from heat, salt, and set aside.
Then whisk together the lemon honey vinaigrette (see below on how to make the dressing). Dice your avocado, break up the feta, and remove the cilantro leaves from the stem. When the carrots are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.
Finally, add the arugula to a large bowl and add the dressing. Mix well to combine and make sure it’s fully coated. Add the rest of the ingredients and carefully mix together, and serve!
Feel free to change up this carrot salad recipe based on what you have on hand and your preferences. I love it just the way it is, but try these suggestions:
- greens – any kind of greens will work. I love the pepperiness of arugula, but you could use a spring mix or baby kale instead.
- seeds – change out the pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds or pine nuts. A larger seed will work the best.
- cheese – any kind of cheese will work. I would suggest a soft cheese like goat or gorgonzola as a good alternative.
- herbs – I know some people don’t like cilantro so you can use another herb of your choice. Parsley, dill, and basil would be good choices for this carrot salad, or you can do a mix of a few.
Lemon honey vinaigrette
A dressing can really make or break a salad. While there are numerous kinds of dressings out there, they should complement the salad nicely and bring out the flavors. This lemon honey vinaigrette combines a handful of pantry staples for the perfect balance of sweet and tangy and the honey helps balance out the lemon as well as the pickled onions and feta.
Here is what you need:
- lemon juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
To make the dressing, simply whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl or jar. Do not skip the salt and pepper. It helps bring the flavors alive. I believe all salads should be salt and peppered!
How to make this carrot salad ahead of time
If making this carrot salad recipe for the holidays, you can easily prep a few things ahead of time to make the big day that much easier and let your focus be on other things. Here are my suggestions:
- roast your carrots ahead of time – roast and let cool completely. Store them in a tightly sealed glass dish until ready to use. They can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- pickle your onions – the longer pickle onions sit, the better they are! Feel free to make them a few days or even a week ahead.
- toast your pumpkin seeds – toast up to 3 days ahead of time. Store in a tightly sealed container on the counter or in the pantry.
- make the dressing – make the dressing up to 3 days ahead of time and store it in a tightly sealed glass jar on the counter or in the pantry.
When you are ready to assemble, simply toss the dressing with the arugula and then add in the rest of your ingredients. If desired, let your carrots sit out for a few minutes so they aren’t as cold
More healthy salad recipes
- Greek Chickpea Salad
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
- Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
- Butternut Squash Salad with Kale & Pomegranates
- Chopped Tomato Cucumber Kale Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Creamy Balsamic
Roasted Carrot and Arugula Salad with Feta & Avocado
- 8 large rainbow carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks (475 grams)
- 1/2 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced (200 grams)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups packed arugula (200 grams)
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2.5 ounces)
- 1 medium avocado, roughly cubed (150 grams)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup cilantro
- salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Roast the carrots. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss carrots with avocado oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes until crispy and lightly browned.
- While the carrots roast, make the pickled onions. In a large jar add onions, apple cider vinegar, water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Shake well and set aside. This can also be done a few days ahead of time.
- Make the dressing. Whisk together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper in a small jar or bowl and set aside.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds. Heat a small pan over medium-low heat. Add seeds and toast for 2-4 minutes until they start to brown and get fragrant. Once they start to brown, immediately remove from heat, salt, and set aside.
- When the carrots are done, add arugula to a large bowl and pour dressing on top. Mix well to combine. Top with roasted carrots, pickled onions, feta, avocado, toasted pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and a little bit of salt and pepper (if desired) and lightly toss to combine. Enjoy!