Sometimes you just want to eat all the colours. If that’s you, then this beautiful but easy rainbow salad will absolutely deliver. All the rainbow colours, none of the guilt. Vegetarian, gorgeous and filling. Perfect on days when you’re craving something wholesome but quick.
Rainbow salad for the win
The first time I made this was on a Friday, at lunchtime, when I was working from home and watching the kids, and trying to do approximately 87 other things at the same time. #mumlife, you know.
I looked into the fridge and it was kind of like gazing into your wardrobe and seeing nothing to wear. Lovely Asian pork roast, tick – now, what veggies to serve with it? The fridge was looking a little empty, with only a few veggies left. Then I remembered this brilliant recipe I saw in David Frenkiel’s cookbook Green Kitchen at Home – flatbread sandwiches with hummus and carrot slaw – and thought I’d give it a go.
Hmm, only two slices of bread left for two kids and me. Gah – start again! And then I thought, well, salad it is – let’s check the fridge again. A quarter of some lovely purple cabbage from the farmer’s markets, carrots, corn, lemon juice – yes!!
What you need to make this rainbow salad
- purple cabbage – the base of this recipe, along with carrot. I just slice it finely with a knife. Purple cabbage is a great source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that help protect against cellular damage.
- carrots – grated in, they provide a fabulous shot of orange in this salad. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.
- pear – I like to grate it in, juice and all, for a lovely layer of sweetness. Pears are rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, and dietary fiber and pack all of these nutrients in a fat-free, cholesterol-free, 100-calorie package.
- herbs – I like mint and basil, because that’s what I have growing on my window sill at the moment, but feel free to use whatever herbs you want, for a pop of green and to aid digestion.
- raisins – another little addition of sweetness. Raisins are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are naturally sweet and high in sugar and calories, but they’re beneficial to our health when eaten in moderation. In fact, raisins can aid digestion, boost iron levels, and keep your bones strong.
- corn – here comes the yellow! Corn is a good source of antioxidant carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which may promote eye health. It’s also a rich source of many vitamins and minerals.
- lemon juice – the first ingredient in this simple dressing. Lemons contain a high amount of vitamin C, soluble fiber, and plant compounds that give them a number of health benefits. Lemons may aid weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease, anemia, kidney stones, digestive issues, and cancer.
- olive oil – the second part of the dressing. The predominant fatty acid in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, making up 73% of the total oil content. Studies suggest that oleic acid reduces inflammation and may even have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer.
- feta cheese (optional) – I like to crumble this over the top of the salad (not pictured but delicious). Compared to other cheeses, feta is low in calories and fat. It also contains a high amount of B vitamins, phosphorus and calcium, which can benefit bone health, beneficial bacteria and fatty acids.
And there you have it, simple ingredients, beautiful uplifting colours and all good for you!
Why I love this rainbow salad
I will be honest – when I first made this, it was supposed to be a filling for a sandwich but I honestly devoured nearly the whole thing (I shared with the kids, otherwise it would have been 100% mine) straight out of the bowl. It’s that good.
I have made it a few times since and just love the vibrancy of the colours, the textures, the sweetness which comes from the carrot, pear and the raisins, the sharpness from the lemon juice.
If you use the feta on top (and I definitely recommend that you do), it adds a gorgeous smooth counter balance to the crunch of the cabbage.
How I changed the recipe
While I was inspired by David Frenkiel’s recipe, I have given this recipe a twist of my own. The original recipe is a slaw and uses onion instead of cabbage. We are currently going through a phase of absolutely loving red cabbage in everything so I used that instead. I also added the pear, the corn and the feta cheese but kept the dressing pretty much as is and used similar amounts of ingredients.
If you don’t already have The Green Kitchen at Home cookbook (or the other two Green Kitchen cookbooks), I can heartily recommend them – they have some wonderful recipes in them. I am in the process of making a fermented cabbage recipe from this cookbook and will let you know how that goes. So excited to be fermenting something at home (finally)!
Easy rainbow salad
- About 1/8 small head of purple (red) cabbage, sliced or chopped
- 1.5 – 2 small or medium carrots, grated
- 1 small ripe pear, grated
- a small handful of mint and basil leaves, snipped with scissors into thin strips or chopped
- a small handful of cooked corn kernels
- a small handful (about 2 tbsp) of raisins
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil (I used olive oil infused with garlic)
- pinch of salt
- about 2-3 tbsp of crumbled feta cheese (optional)
- Place all ingredients (except for feta cheese) in a bowl and mix together.
- Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes to let the flavours blend and fuse together.
- Top with the crumbled feta, if using, and serve.