Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Copper Pennies Carrot Salad - Sweet and Sour Carrots

Copper Pennies, an old fashioned chilled carrot salad, made with thinly sliced carrots, sweet onion and sweet bell pepper, soaked in a sweet and sour vinegar marinade made with canned tomato soup.

Copper Pennies Carrot Salad

Just like pineapple, we southerners also love our sweet and sour dishes.  From salads, to green beans, to pickles, that combination of flavor has long been a southern favorite and Copper Penny Carrots are another dish that falls into that category. Named so because they resemble pennies, it is a cold marinated salad of thinly sliced vegetables - carrots, sweet onion and sweet bell pepper - tossed and left to marinade in a hot, sweet and sour mixture of tomato, vinegar and seasonings. Also known as bronze pennies, they are as fabulous as a holiday side as they are at a barbecue, and perfect for the Easter table.

Even though they are loaded with flavor, they are super simple to make. You want the carrots to be fairly thin slices, though I don't like them paper thin so I cut them about 1/8 to 1/4-inch. Use a mandolin to make it an easy job. You'll also want to cook the carrots only to crisp-tender, but not mushy, so while you could use frozen and even canned, raw carrots shine best in this dish. I use the microwave, but you may also cook them any other way, including boiling them. Add a half of a Vidalia or other sweet onion, also thinly sliced. I prefer sweet onion, but use a stronger onion if you prefer, such as a purple onion.

Add half of a thinly sliced green bell pepper. Remove all of the ribs and slice the green pepper as thinly as you possibly can. Toss.

Heat the tomato soup marinade mixture to boiling, reduce and let simmer for about 5 minutes and pour the hot mixture over the vegetables.

Stir, cover and let it marinade in the refrigerator for 24 hours, removing and stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving dish and serve as a cold side salad. This salad will keep nicely in the marinade for several days, so you can make it ahead.

Pictured with about a pound of carrots.

Recipe: Copper Pennies Carrot Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min |Inactive time: 24 hours | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound of raw carrots, peeled and sliced thin*
  • 1/2 of a medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced very thin
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, sliced very thin
  • 1 can of condensed tomato soup
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

Peel carrots, wash and cut them into thin rounds. You should have roughly 4 cups of sliced carrots. Place into a microwave safe bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook on high, about 7 minutes, or until crisp tender. Your microwave time may vary. Drain. Place into a medium to large glass bowl and top with the very thinly sliced sweet onion and bell pepper. Toss.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, whisk together the tomato soup with all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour hot mixture over the vegetable mixture, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving dish and serve as a cold side salad.

*Cook's Note: Carrots may be boiled if you prefer, just remember you only want them crisp tender, not mushy. Onion and bell pepper may also be diced. This marinade can take up to two pounds of sliced carrots, without increasing the marinade ingredients. Use a whole medium sized Vidalia onion and a whole green bell pepper, both thinly sliced, if you use two pounds of carrots. Substitute a stronger flavored onion, if you prefer. Purple onion is especially colorful. Though it's not traditional to me, I am told many families serve this as a hot side dish.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on April 19, 2011
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  1. My Mom used to make these and I always loved them. Had totally forgotten about this recipe. Thanks for the reminder - will be making these soon. I have tried many recipes on your site, and I have yet to have one that didn't deliver tenfold! Thanks.

  2. My step mother used to make these (except I don't think hers had onions and peppers). Everyone always raved about them....yours look super :)

  3. Yum!!! I haven't had these in a very long time... I am printing it out now - think I'll try it on my family for Easter!

  4. I remember when my Ma and SIL threw me a big baby shower for my last baby and they served this salad. It was amazing and every last bit of it went! A true classic.

  5. My MIL introduced me to this yummy salad and it's still a favorite.I don't make it as often as I used to, so thanks for the reminder Mary!

  6. This recipe has been around for so long...three of my relatives submitted for our family cookbook...and yet I've still never tried it. EVER! Maybe for Easter.

  7. Thanks for providing the print option. Happy Trails!

    1. You're welcome! It's a feature I added after I was into the blog pretty well, so I've still got a few older ones to get back to. Slowly but surely!

  8. And here I grew up in Georgia and have never heard of this before. However, it sounds like something I would love to try!

    1. Oh yeah Carla, this recipe is older than the hills! If you typically like marinated salads you'll enjoy it. It's very good!!

  9. One of my Mama's favorites. So happy to find the recipe and this website

  10. I'm so happy you found your way here also. I'm Mary. So nice to meet you - welcome!!

  11. It is interesting that this (and every other I found online) are served cold. I grew up in a southern home, with southern parents and grandparents. We have been having this as long as I can remember, yet we always served it hot, never cold. Give it a try!

    1. It's not traditional that way, but that's not to say that it's not good! I'm guessing that somebody in your family decided to try it hot at some point and liked it! I've only ever seen or heard of it served as a marinated cold salad.

    2. When I lived in south Texas we ate these copper pennies served warm and that's the way I prefer them.

  12. Making this recipe today for Sunday. I live in Texas and prefer to serve them warm as well. Thanks for the recipe! I was happy to see it didnt have celery in it!

  13. Mary, do you put your carrots in an ice bath after blanching them, or just let them cool naturally?
    I made this years ago but gave up on it because neither any member of my family nor my girlfriend really cared for it. The only thing I did differently was that I used Coleman’s Mustard Powder and dill weed. Dill and carrots always seem to go together, in my book. I’m going to have to make this for my wife. She’s the only one, other than my southern friends, who really likes my Carolina Cole Slaw; that took me a long time to perfect and that I’d been making for 30+ years. I’m going to give this awhirl, again. Thank you.
    God bless.

    1. When they come out of the microwave, I add the onion & bell pepper and let them sit while I prepare the marinade, so no ice bath!

  14. We always had these at the house. My Mom would just keep adding carrots as it started to get low in the bowl. They came out on the table every meal. She always made sure the spoon that went in was clean.

  15. Can I use regular vinegar. I had a dish like this in the weekend and loved it but did not get the receipe. Thanks

    1. Hi Faye! You certainly can. I prefer cider vinegar personally for this recipe, but regular distilled white vinegar may be substituted.

  16. it's funny I was raised in the South and never had this until I was at a church dinner in PA, LOVE IT!

    1. Oh that is funny! I'm guessing that carrots maybe weren't a favorite veggie in the family?

  17. I have made this recipe numerous times over the years and really love it. Sometimes I'll gift a few servings of it to our pianist in a seniors choir who is a "southern gal" but moved to Canada with her hubby. She appreciates this taste of home and we all love her for sharing her talents. Another treat is a four bean salad I found on the internet. Great resource and thanks for the recipe.


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