Plate of carrot raisin salad with lemon vinaigrette topped with pan-fried tofu

Carrot Raisin Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

I have a lame graduate student confession to make. The summer is nearly over and I have spent the majority of it at home, by myself, reading. I am ¾ of the way through the first comprehensive exam of my PhD. A comprehensive exam is sort of like a really long take-home exam that you write on a list of books and articles that you are given to read. This first one for me is about food and risk, so I have been reading a lot about things like meat industry regulation, salmonella and e-coli outbreaks, genetically modified organisms, and dietary fads.

Now, I love reading, especially when it is about food. And it is pretty nice to be able to work from home, on things that I am genuinely passionate about. But, all of this reading means that I have missed out on much of the summer sun, and that I don’t have as much time as I would like for cooking and baking.

Bowl of shaved carrots
Counter filled with bowls of shaved carrots, raisins, chopped broccoli

Having trouble finding the time to cook is not a problem that is exclusive to graduate students. On the contrary, this is something that I am sure most people grapple with at one time or another (I cannot even wrap my head around how people with children and jobs manage to get food on the table three times a day). Lately my approach to this problem has been – just make a really big salad. So, like I did last month with this beet salad, this week I made this carrot raisin salad and ate it for lunch throughout the week.

What I like about this salad is that it has fresh, crunchy vegetables, sweetness from the raisins, and sourness from the lemon vinaigrette. And, it incorporates one orange, and one green vegetable. Getting at least one green and one orange vegetable every day is a recommendation from Canada’s Food Guide that I generally attempt to follow. I realize that there are problematic elements of official food guides, but I don’t think that the fruit and vegetable recommendations are one of them. I’d say this rule is a safe bet, and a simple one to follow, especially for people (like me) who are trying to eat more vegetables.

Big bowl of carrot raisin salad next to a mason jar of lemon vinaigrette

I must confess I am not particularly skilled with tofu -yet, I'm working on it. With this salad I really just wanted to add some protein so I could eat it as a main throughout the week, so I chopped some drained tofu into cubes, threw some salt and pepper on top, and fried it off in a bit of oil until golden. There is probably a better, more flavourful, way of doing this, but it worked out fine. You could substitute with your favourite way of cooking tofu, or leave it off altogether.

Plate of carrot raisin salad
plate of carrot raisin salad topped with cubes of pan-fried tofu

Carrot Raisin Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

A quick and easy summer salad.


For the Vinaigrette:
For the Salad:
  • 6 Cups Carrots, Ribboned
  • 1 2/3 Cups Broccoli, Finely Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon Hemp Hearts
  • 1 Package Firm Tofu, Pressed


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a pan or skillet. Add carrots and sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. (Optional) cut tofu into ¾ inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Fry tofu cubes in heated pan, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides.
  3. Toss carrots with broccoli, raisins, chia seeds, and hemp hearts. Top with tofu, if using, and dress with the lemon vinaigrette.
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