{Recipe} Rainbow Salad


It can be difficult to muster enthusiasm for raw salad vegetables during winter. Drinking my greens (in green smoothies) on chilly mornings does not hold much appeal either. I prefer warming, cooked foods- toast and porridge for breakfast; soup, stir fries and curries for dinner.

So, I aim to prepare enticing salads to accompany our cooked meals. Salads that are irresistible, despite the cool weather.


Vibrant and colourful, Rainbow Salad is perfect for winter. It combines baked vegetables with raw salad vegetables and leafy greens. It features dry-roasted nuts, beans, seeds, freshly-picked herbs, and a citrus-based dressing.

It takes advantage of the winter abundance of oranges – and the baked vegetables bestow a touch of warmth. Rainbow salad serves five as a side-salad, or two as a meal.



(Serves 5 as a side-salad)

2 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and dried (I use a salad spinner)

1 cup diced sweet potato (I leave the skin on)

1 cup diced butternut pumpkin

a generous 1/4 cup finely chopped carrot

a generous 1/4 cup diced red capsicum (bell pepper)

1/3 cup canellini beans, cooked or tinned

1 Tbsp finely chopped purple cabbage

the kernels of one cob of sweet corn OR 1/4 cup tinned corn kernels, rinsed

10 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup raw brazil nuts (about 9 nuts)

1 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1 Tbsp mint leaves

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp ground cumin


freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1/2 tsp sesame oil


1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/390F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the pumpkin and sweet potato. Add olive oil and cumin, and mix well. Spread vegetables on a baking tray, and bake for 15 minutes. (Rotate the tray after 10 mins in the oven.)

3. (Skip this step if using tinned corn kernels.) Remove the husk and wash the corn cob. Hold the cob vertically, and slightly diagonally, on a chopping board. Use a sharp knife to slice the kernels from the cob, moving from the top of the cob to the bottom. Slice until all kernels are removed. Place the kernels in a colander, and pour boiling water over them (I use boiled water from an electric kettle). Leave the corn in the colander for a few minutes.

4. Heat a non-stick fry pan or skillet, and add the brazil nuts. Dry roast until the brazil nuts begin to brown. Remove the nuts from the heat, then chop roughly.

5. In a large mixing bowl, add the baby spinach leaves, carrot, capsicum, beans, cabbage, corn kernels, tomatoes, and brazil nuts.

6. Add the baked vegetables to the mixing bowl once they have finished baking. Mix well.

7. Prepare the dressing: In a metric jug, add the orange juice, tamari and oil. Whisk with a fork. Pour the desired amount of dressing over the salad (I used 2 tablespoons).

8. Tear or chop the parsley and mint leaves, and add them to the bowl. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients.

9.  Transfer to a serving bowl.

* Store leftover dressing  in a glass jar in the fridge.

Rainbow Salad with Quinoa & Sesame Balls and sweet chilli sauce.

Rainbow Salad with Quinoa Balls and sweet chilli sauce.

Tiny Vegans’ Verdicts

My daughter added extra dressing to her salad, gobbled it up, then asked for a second helping.  I should have doubled the recipe! Master 6 (AKA our Least Adventurous Eater) was reluctant, initially, to eat his salad. He’s not a fan of baked pumpkin and raw tomatoes.

I heard him declare: ‘Cherry Tomato Alert’.

Yes, we know… you don’t like tomatoes.

‘I just ate three’, he announced proudly.

Really? (Three halves, I suppose.) Do you like the salad? 

‘Uh huh, I do’.

Ah, wonders will never cease!


* The recipe for Carrot and Coriander Quinoa Balls is available here.

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Every Monday, I feature a delicious vegan recipe that is enjoyed by my own family – I hope your family enjoys it too!



About Ally
Mamma. Vegan. I blog at Made of Stars.

23 Responses to {Recipe} Rainbow Salad

  1. susykat says:

    NICE! 🙂 Looking forward to the quinoa balls recipe!

    • Ally says:

      Thanks Su. 🙂 I hope to have it up next Monday, or the one after. As you know, I’m not a big fan of quinoa, so I have been experimenting with it to come up with recipes that I like. I usually just add it to minestrone soup. One packet lasts months in our pantry. The quinoa balls are based on the rice ball concept. 🙂

  2. Noooooo!!!! Don’t juice the oranges, chuck them in. See my ensalada de Axarquía. As you’ve already got sweet content (pumpkin and sweet potato, and carrot) any fruit would work well, eg pineapple or peach. And no, I still haven’t posted up the chick peas and peach recipe 😀

    I use lemon juice on my salad, he prefers vinagre de Jerez. Sometimes I’ll add a mustard dressing especially for potatoes (I have managed to post that recipe, I think).

    I’m salading up to the eyeballs at the moment, as he’s back to work, so takes two different salad pots every day. A carb based one eg potatoes, shallots, capers, parsley and a protein eg cooked tempeh, and a salady one of um, cherry tomatoes (!), cuc, gherkin, garden lettuce, basil, olives, garden spinach, roasted pimientos in garlic dressing etc etc.

    I’m running out of salads!!

  3. uberdish says:

    This is a beautiful and delicious looking salad, Ally! I love it. I’m going make it next weekend at the family cottage. Looking forward to your quinoa balls recipe, too. My kids are a bit older at 14 and 10, but they still love their finger food. It looks like they will travel well, too, as we end up eating many meals at the french fry infested skating rink. 🙂

  4. narf77 says:

    This salad looks amazing and appears to be full of just about everything a vegan could ever imagine in a salad. A real “kitchen sink” of a meal :). Can’t wait to crib away that coming recipe for quinoa balls either 🙂

  5. It’s not winter here, but I still want to make this salad! I love the colors – I’d say you have found an enticing winter salad. Celeste 🙂

    • Ally says:

      Hi Celeste!

      Thanks. Oh, the last thing you would want to do on a hot summer’s day is use your oven. Leave out the baked vegies! 🙂

  6. Yum! This looks so good! It’s supper time and I’m starving! Kudos for getting kids (especially a picky eater) to eat rainbow salad!

  7. liveblissful says:

    That looks delicious! I know what you mean about being too cold to go raw. I have had to stop having raw juices and smoothies in the morning before work because it chills me from the inside.

    • Ally says:

      Hi! We have been having our smoothies or juices later in the day when it is really cold. But, if Mat is offering to make it, I’ll take it whenever it comes!

  8. This looks great, Ally! I keep cooking roast vegies, which are great, but this would be a welcome change. We’ve just had a Crisp salad shop open up near work, and the other day I had a salad with spinach, tofu, cannelini beans, walnuts (and vegies) with a tahini dressing. It was really nice and wintery. There’s something about tahini (and sesame oil too, actually) that I find earthy and warming, even if the food is cold.

    Glad you’re going to post the recipe for your Quinoa Balls. I noticed them in the back of the photo and wondered what they were. Yum!

    • Ally says:

      Oh your salad sounds delicious. I love tahini dressings.

      You might like this one:

      4 Tbsp tahini
      1/2 tsp ground cumin
      3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
      4 Tbsp water
      1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
      1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
      1/2 tsp maple syrup
      a pinch of sea salt
      a pinch of cayenne pepper
      Process all of the dressing ingredients in a blender (I use an immersion blender). Alternatively, mix the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, using a fork.

      The quinoa balls will probably go up next Monday. 🙂

  9. Pingback: {Recipe} Tempeh and Potato Curry with Spiced Brown Rice | Made of Stars

  10. Whoa, that looks sensational! I would eat that at any time of year, but what a fabulous vitamin-packed winter meal.

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