Shredded Rainbow Salad is loaded with crisp, vibrant, colorful veggies. Perfect for easy meal prep with a delicious no oil homemade dressing. A unique and beautiful way to get your greens in.
Eat the rainbow…because that’s where all the vitamins are! Rainbow salad is a delicious way to get in more fiber and veggies. Plus it’s easy to adapt a colorful salad to use what’s in season.
It’s always better to get your phytonutrients from fruits and vegetables than from supplements. Eat a variety of colors for the best benefits, including protection from environmental toxins. Eating the rainbow is vital for longevity in muscles, joints, skin and brain health!
Fresh vegetables contain copious amounts of fiber which helps normalize bowel movements, lower cholesterol and helps control blood sugar levels. Here are some great ideas for your rainbow salad:
- RED: Loaded with antioxidants that help fight heart disease, some cancers, and reduce the risk for stroke and macular degeneration. Find these benefits in radishes, beets, chopped or roasted red peppers, kidney beans, tomatoes,
- ORANGE: High in vitamins A, C, K potassium and folate. Good choices include carrots, orange peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash and pumpkin.
- YELLOW: Great source of nutrients (manganese, vitamin A & C, phosphorus and potassium) and antioxidants that are good for processing fats and carbs plus they’re good for the heart, eyes and bones. Consume yellow peppers, roasted squash, shredded golden beets, sun-gold tomatoes
- GREEN: Leafy greens are an essential part of a healthy diet. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose a leafy green for your base: spinach, kale, romaine, collard greens, beet greens, swiss chard, red/green leaf lettuce or arugula. Add in fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. Incorporate cooked green veggies like broccoli, brussels sprouts, asparagus or zucchini.
- PURPLE: Buy them for their beauty and consume them because they improve brain health, lower inflammation and fight cancer and heart disease. Healthy choices include red cabbage, purple cauliflower, purple radish, purple onion purple asparagus or cooked blue potatoes.
Focusing on the colors of the rainbow is a good way to make sure you get variety in your salad…but don’t forget about texture and taste.
Use different methods of preparing your veggies to add crunch, cook some of your veggies for a softer bite, add in fresh herbs for extra flavor.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Delicata Squash: A delicious and easy choice because the skin is edible…that means no peeling and extra fiber! Plus it roasts up quickly so it will be ready by the time you’re done prepping the veggies and dressing.
- Beets: a great twofer….the beet are loaded with healthy nutrients and are super anti-inflammatory plus the greens are a tasty addition to the rainbow. Simply wash, stack and thinly slice the greens. The red beets are loaded with phytonutrients, folate, magnesium vitamin C and fiber. They are awesome blood pressure regulator and healthy when eaten raw, which is easy to do when they’re shredded.
- Radishes: Slice thin, or shred. Use a box grater or a mandolin to make quick work of it.
- Carrots: Chop, slice, or shred. You can also buy these already grated in the supermarket to save time.
- Cabbage: I used both purple and green. I used the food processor, but it’s simple to slice thin by hand.
No Oil Salad Dressing
Red kidney beans make a nutritious and colorful easy dressing. Tahini means extra calcium and no need to add in extra oil. I love to add miso paste for some vegan umami. I used fresh oranges for their zest and juice, but you can save time by using orange juice. Raw garlic is easier to digest when grated with a microplane.
How to make this easy salad
- Roast the delicata squash. No need to peel, yay!! Just wash, slice off ends, halve lengthwise, then scoop out seeds. Cut into ½″ dice, sprinkle with olive oil, S+P and roast at 425 for 20 minutes.
2. Prep Veggies. I’ll show you how to make this for meal prep and place in a glass container in the fridge. You can then use it for this rainbow salad whenever you want, or just grab and handful of your faves for salad all week long! If you use a food processor (or box grater), start with the lightest color veggies and one at a time shred and then put into container, no need to wash in between!
3. Build your salad! Start by laying greens out on a platter. Then add one color at a time in stripes, keeping the rainbow in tact. Don’t forget any cooked veggies, if you’ve made some!
4. Make the dressing! Zest and juice the orange (or use OJ to save time), add everything to food processor and blend until creamy. Use more water for a thinner dressing. OR….use no water at all, cut the juice in half and use it as a dip….YES a delicious and healthy dip!!
5. Drizzle the dressing onto the rainbow salad. Sprinkle on some sunflower seeds for added crunch!
Why you will love this salad
- Beautiful…you know, because we eat with our eyes first!
- Healthy. A salad a day….keeps your bowels moving regularly.
- Versatile: totally adaptable to go with what’s in season, what is available where you live, veggies YOU LIKE and you HAVE on hand.
- Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
- EASY MEAL PREP: yes!!! The best kind of salad is one that you’re actually going to make!!
- DELISH!! The crunch, and the dressing…OMG simple and flavorful.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- Definitely prep extra veggies. Store in glass container with a lid to to use in salad or in grain bowls or a stir fry, all week long!
- Although it’s quick and easy to shred the veggies using a food processor, I often chop it by hand…I find it oddly meditative. Instead of “I have to” meal prep, try “I get to” tune everything else out for a bit here with my knife and cutting board.
- Make sure to use a baking tray large enough to fit all delicata squash cubes in one layer. This will enable them to roast, rather than steam. No parchment plus single layer creates an environment that will encourage caramelization.
- Change it up and use my everyday salad dressing for the same salad with a totally different taste…YUM!
- Take the dressing ingredients and make a dip instead by eliminating the water and cutting the juice in half. Not only is it a beautiful color, but something a bit different than hummus and super healthy.
- Use a glass trifle dish and layer the colors vertically….SO MUCH FUN!
- Use a tall mason jar for a “to go” salad. Put dressing in the bottom and then layer the colors one at a time, saving the more perishable items (like greens) for the top.
More colorful recipes you’ll adore:
- Balsamic Roasted Veggies
- Ultimate Chopped Salad
- Easy Mexican Street Corn
- Chopped Salad Miso Dressing
- Vegan Lentil Salad
- Oven Roasted Mexican Cauli-Rice
- 1 large delicata squash
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch radishes
- ¼ green cabbage
- 3 carrots
- ¼ head purple cabbage
- 2 red beets with greens
- 2 cups arugula
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
Dressing: for 2 cups
- 15.5 ounce can red kidney beans* rinsed and drained
- 2 oranges zested and juiced*
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon light miso
- 1 clove garlic zested
- ¼ cup water*
- Preheat oven to 425.
- PREPARE DELICATA SQUASH: Wash and dry outside of squash. No need to peel. Cut off ends and then slice through vertically to halve the squash. Use a spoon to scrape out seeds. Lay cut side down on cutting board and cut into ½" strips and then cut horizontally to create ½" cubes. Place squash cubes on rimmed baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with S+P. Roast for 20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.
- PREPARE VEGGIES: wash and trim radishes, peel and trim carrots, ¼ and wash cabbages, trim and peel beets. Wash beet greens and salad greens.
- Lay salad greens out on the bottom of platter. Stack beet greens, roll and slice thinly. Put aside to use as the "green color" in your rainbow salad.
- Use a knife, a box grater or a food processor to shred veggies. Shred in order, lightest to darkest colors, red beets last), radishes, green cabbage, carrots, purple cabbage, red beets. For food processor, use grater attachment and push each item through, pull each out after shredding and lay each one out on platter to form a rainbow. No need to wash bowl in between.
- If making for meal prep, place each veggie into a glass storage container one at a time as they’re shredded for easy salad making all week long!
- MAKE DRESSING: Place beans, tahini, vinegar, miso and garlic into bowl of food processor. Use a microplane to zest the oranges over the processor bowl. Squeeze oranges* into bowl. Process. Scrape down sides. Process again until smooth. Use a spoon to test pourability and add water until desired consistency. You may need up to ¼ cup. An immersion blender or regular blender will also work well to make this dressing.