Recipes » Salads » Old Fashioned Copper Pennies

Old Fashioned Copper Pennies

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5 from 2 votes
This delicious vintage recipe for Old Fashioned Copper Pennies is a sweet-sour combination of carrots, onions, and peppers that will keep your guests coming back for more!
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Copper pennies salad in a serving bowl.

Old fashioned, vintage recipes are the very best in my book! One of my favorites from years gone by is this recipe for Old Fashioned Copper Pennies. It’s a simple combination of marinated sweet and sour carrots, onions, and bell peppers that may be served as either a side dish or salad.

Copper pennies salad in a serving bowl.

I’m showing my vintage side today with this recipe. It’s one of those oldie-goldies that most southern cooks my age have in their recipe box. This recipe has been served at more church suppers and company dinners than you could count. It was one of my grandmother’s favorites – I think about her every time I make this.

Since it’s been around for so long, I don’t know if anyone can really say where this Old Fashioned Copper Pennies recipe originated. I suspect it came from the 1940s or early 1950s time period since that’s when the Campbell’s Soup company started producing the condensed tomato soup used in the recipe. And it was a long time favorite of my grandmother who would have been in her 30s around that same time.

I’ve seen this same recipe referred to as Sweet and Sour Carrots and as Marinated Carrot Salad. Whatever you wish to call it, it’s simply tender carrots, with crunchy onions, and bell peppers in a sweet and sour marinade, but it takes its name from the carrots, obviously, which become the “copper pennies” of the dish.

I’ve served Copper Pennies both cold and warm at all seasons of the year. It’s as good for a summer picnic as it is for Thanksgiving dinner. It goes very well with fried chicken, roast turkey, or pork chops.

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Ingredients You’ll Need

All ingredients needed for the recipe.
  • Sweet Onions (The sweeter the onions the better in this recipe. Look for Vidalia or Walla Walla onions in your grocery.)
  • Condensed Tomato Soup (I always recommend Campbell’s brand.)
  • Oil (Use any mild tasting oil such as vegetable oil, canola or corn oil.)

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Copper Pennies

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Prep and Cook the Carrots

STEP 1. Peel the carrots and cut them into ¼” rounds.

COOK’S TIP 
If you don’t have a vegetable peeler, use a sharp knife to scrape the carrots.

STEP 2. Place the carrots in a medium saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until just barely tender, approximately 8 minutes. Remove the carrots from the heat and drain in a colander.

Prep the Onions and Pepper

STEP 3. Thinly slice the green pepper. Cut the onions in half then thinly slice and separate the onion into rings.

STEP 4. Combine the cooked carrots, onions, and bell pepper in a large bowl.

Make the Marinade

STEP 5. In a separate bowl, add the tomato soup, vinegar, sugar, oil, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Stir or whisk to combine well.

STEP 6. Pour the marinade mixture over the vegetables. Toss so that all the vegetables are well coated with the marinade.

Refrigerate for Several Hours

STEP 7. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Serve

Using a slotted spoon to remove vegetables from the marinade.
STEP 8.

STEP 8. To serve, remove the vegetables from the marinade using a slotted spoon and serve in a lettuce lined bowl (optional). Keep the marinade for refrigeration.

Storage

Return any leftover vegetables to the marinade and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

COOK’S TIP 
Some people swear you can keep this in the refrigerator for up to six weeks, but I’m not going along with that. After about 4 days the onions start getting too mushy for my taste. Besides, it’s usually gone after one or two meals, anyway :-) !

Copper pennies marinated carrot salad in a blue and white serving bowl.

Recipe Tips & Variations

  • Make a healthier version by using a sugar substitute such as Splenda and cutting the cooking oil in half.
  • To cut prep time, purchase the “crinkle cut” carrots from your grocery’s produce section and skip the peeling and cutting steps.
  • For a different version, try roasting the carrots instead of boiling them. Peel them, then toss in a little olive oil and roast them whole. Cut the carrots into rounds after they cool.
  • Use rainbow carrots for a really pretty look.
  • Some recipes call for one teaspoon dry mustard in the marinade. Add that if you like.
  • Swap out the green bell pepper for any other colors you like.
  • Add a teaspoon of finely chopped parsley, thyme, or chives.
Wooden spoon holding a bite of marinated carrot salad.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d prefer not to use canned soup. Is there an alternative?

As an alternative to canned condensed tomato soup, you can use canned stewed tomatoes that have been pureed along with their juice. After pureeing, measure out 10.75 ounces to substitute for the soup.

Can this be made ahead?

Actually, it must be made ahead. The carrots need to marinate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Can I substitute a different kind of vinegar?

You can substitute cider vinegar or white white vinegar for the plain white vinegar in the recipe.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d love for you to give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card and/or in the comments section further down.
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Recipe

Copper pennies salad in a serving bowl.

Old Fashioned Copper Pennies

This delicious vintage recipe for Old Fashioned Copper Pennies is a sweet-sour combination of carrots, onions, and peppers that will keep your guests coming back for more!
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Text It
Course: Side Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots
  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 10.75 ounces condensed tomato soup
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Peel the carrots and cut them into ¼” rounds.
  • Cook the carrots in a small amount of salted water until barely tender, approximately 8 minutes.
  • Cut the onion(s) in half. Thinly slice and separate the onion.
  • Thinly slice the bell pepper.
  • Combine the cooked carrots, onions and bell pepper in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine well.
  • Pour marinade over vegetables. Toss so that all vegetables are coated with the marinade.
  • Cover and allow to sit in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  • Remove vegetables from the marinade using a slotted spoon and serve in lettuce lined bowl (optional).
  • Return any leftover vegetables to the marinade and keep in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

Ingredients —
  • The sweeter the onions the better in this recipe. Look for Vidalia or Walla Walla onions in your grocery.
  • I always recommend Campbell’s brand tomato soup.
  • Use any mild tasting oil such as vegetable oil, canola or corn oil.
Tips and Variations —
  • Make a healthier version by using a sugar substitute such as Splenda and cutting the cooking oil in half.
  • To cut prep time, purchase the “crinkle cut” carrots from your grocery’s produce section and skip the peeling and cutting steps.
  • For a different version, try roasting the carrots instead of boiling them. Peel them, then toss in a little olive oil and roast them whole. Cut the carrots into rounds after they cool.
  • Use rainbow carrots for a really pretty look.
  • Some recipes call for one teaspoon dry mustard in the marinade. Add that if you like.
  • Swap out the green bell pepper for any other colors you like.
  • Add a teaspoon of finely chopped parsley, thyme, or chives.
As an alternative to canned condensed tomato soup, you can use canned stewed tomatoes that have been pureed along with their juice. After pureeing, measure out 10.75 ounces to substitute for the soup.
You can substitute cider vinegar or white white vinegar for the plain white vinegar in the recipe.
After serving, save the marinade and add the veggies back into it before storing in the refrigerator. Keeps very well for at least 4 days (some people say it keeps for weeks).

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 306mg | Potassium: 566mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 15319IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Copper pennies salad in a glass serving dish.
Copper Pennies

— This post was originally published on January 18, 2011. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

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14 Comments

  1. LOVE this! We had this at our church Thanksgiving dinner today and I couldn’t get enough! Came right home to find the recipe on your blog! I’ll be making a huge batch for family dinners this week! Yummmmmmo!

  2. I love this salad! My grandmother used to make it for me… it was the only way I would eat carrots. Thanks for reviving it.

  3. Hehe when I saw this in my reader I had no idea what a food post about “copper pennies” was going to be. Now I know! They look awesome!

  4. Oh my gosh, thanks for bringing back an old memory and an old family favourite of the times! My son when just a youngster, who is now creeping close to 50, would almost swoon when I put this dish on the table! lol!!

    1. I’m so glad I could rekindle that memory for you, Jocelyn. One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is posting an old-fashioned recipe and seeing just that reaction!

  5. you are so right, this one should be back on everyone’s table as it is a wonderful reflection of good, southern food – I have not thought about copper pennies in a long time and I am so glad you brought it back to my attention, there are so few good carrot recipes, and this side is an outstanding one that if I remember, goes well with everything….

    1. Hi Nisrine – This is actually not a pickle. Although it has a small amount of vinegar in the marinade, it is actually a vegetable side dish or can be served as a salad. But definitely not a pickle.

  6. I love all kinds of pickles and I’ve never heard of this! Looking forward to trying it-thanks:@)

    1. I do hope you’ll try it. Although, it’s really not a pickle. It’s served as either a vegetable side dish or as the salad course.