Carrot salad makes a great side dish for meals any time of the year, as it can be served hot or cold, and prepared in a number of different ways depending on preferences. Some people like to prepare carrot salad as more of a traditional vegetable salad, such as with vinaigrette dressing or other spicy seasonings such as garlic and onion. Others choose to go in a completely different direction, and prepare it with more of a sweet theme, adding apples, raisins, and honey, for example. Depending on the other dishes being served at the meal, and the taste preferences of the people eating it, either type of salad can work well.
The first thing to determine when making a carrot salad is how to prepare the carrots. Shredding the carrots is pretty easy, and these can generally just be mixed with a simple salad dressing or oil and vinegar mixture. Carrots may also be sliced, or cut in longer strips, known as julienne. Aside from shredding the carrots, the different styles of slicing them do not really change the texture of the salad, so it is largely a matter of personal preference.
It will also be necessary to decide whether or not to cook the carrots when preparing the carrot salad. This will dramatically change the texture of the dish, as it will make the carrots much softer. In general, sweeter carrot salads, such as those containing apples or honey, will taste better with cooked carrots, than the more savory salads will. Of course, there is no rule, and some people prefer the softer texture of cooked carrots. Using uncooked carrots shortens the preparation time, however, and makes the whole process much simpler.