This delicious rainbow salad is incredible doused with a healthy lemon vinaigrette dressing that's oil-free, dairy-free, super creamy and delicious.
Crunchy, fresh and packed full of veggies, this rainbow salad makes a fabulous side dish or healthy, protein-rich, vegan lunch!
Sometimes my body literally craves high vibrational, healthy, crunchy, fresh food; and I just feel like a BIG rainbow salad. I love the versatility of garden salads - add raw or roasted veggies, beans, quinoa, lentils, dairy-free cheese, tofu, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, and a tasty dairy-free salad dressing. Presto you've got a nourishing, high protein, low carb side dish or light meal to feed your family.
Why this Rainbow Salad Works
- It's Healthy! - loaded with colorful leafy greens like kale, spinach and arugula, carrots, radish, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, purple cabbage, apples or berries - each with its own nutrient profile.
- Quick and Easy - a great nourishing lunch or side dish for dinner depending on the add-ons that can be ready in 10 minutes. Easy to take for lunch - stick the salad in a jar for a convenient grab and go lunch.
- Adaptable - choose a variety of colors and textures, add in leftover baked veggies, beans, marinated tofu or tempeh for an easy protein-rich meal.
- Customizable - add a zesty, creamy, spicy, sweet or cheesy dairy free salad dressing each day of the week. Switch the beans and toppings to create a different salad every day.
Salad Dressing (dairy-free)
More than five years ago, I gave up buying commercial salad dressings. I mean let's be real, they take up a lot of real estate on the fridge door (especially when you've got six, half used bottles hanging around!). They can be expensive (for the same reason), and they usually aren't super healthy. Plus homemade vegan salad dressing is a cinch to make so making my own seemed like a no brainer.
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette takes 3 minutes to make! It's creamy and tangy made with Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and lemon juice. It's an oil-free, gluten-free and dairy-free vegan salad dressing. This is a family favorite.
Creamy Red Wine Vinegar Dressing (or balsamic or white vinegar) is a quick and easy, dairy-free dressing that's one of my go-to salad dressings.
Salad Add Ins
This salad is super delicious just as a regular rainbow garden salad especially with a creamy, vegan salad dressing; but depending on the add ons, you can make this a full meal salad bowl. Here's some ideas to get you started:
- Grains - warm rice, quinoa or lentils
- Beans - baked or raw chickpeas, black beans, brown beans, pintos, etc
- Leftovers - baked veggies (cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli)
- Vegan Meat Replacement - Gardein Crispy Tenders, Field Roast Chipotle Sausage, Baked Tofu
- Something Sour - pickled onions, hot peppers, capers, olives
- Berries or Fruit - blueberries, raspberries, pears, apples
Tips for Keeping Salad Greens Fresh
- Place a paper towel or clean kitchen towel in the bag or container with leafy greens to keep extra moisture away.
- If you buy leafy greens like kale, spinach or arugula in large containers at the grocery store, remove them when you get home.
Place a paper towel in the bottom of the container then add back half the greens. Add another paper towel and the remaining greens.
- If they are packed super tight, place half the produce in a separate container or bag. Air circulation will help keep leafy greens fresh longer.
- Store fresh herbs in a paper towel to keep them fresh and crisp. Remove any tags or twist ties from herb bunches - especially cilantro - before storing.
Fluff the herbs to ensure they are not tightly packed. Loosely wrap in paper towel, and place in container or bag.
What to Serve with Salad Bowls
Vegetable Bean Soup - soup and salad is a classic pairing.
Veggie Pesto Pasta - made with dairy free walnut pesto and roasted veggies.
Lentil Mushroom Bolognese - served on pasta or sweet potatoes.
Vegan Chili Everyone Loves - with Beyond meat and lots of beans!
Homemade Dinner Rolls or Olive Garden copycat Breadsticks - carbs!
Healthy Rainbow Salad with Dairy Free Maple Dijon Vinaigrette (gf)
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Salad Dressing (more options in post)
- 2 tablespoons Vegenaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1.5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or any vinegar)
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons oregano, dry leaves
- pinch hot pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- leafy greens of choice
- cabbage (or bag of coleslaw)
- tomatoes, halves
- radish, sliced
- cucumber, ribbons
- carrots, grated
- 1 avocado, slices or chunks
- nuts and seeds, toasted
- sprouts or fresh herbs
Optional Add Ons (full list in post)
- crispy onions
- Gardein Tenders, crispy tofu, vegan sausage
- If including crispy tenders, sausage or tofu (and you don't have leftovers), pop them into the oven now.
Salad Dressing (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Can be stored in fridge all week.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- For the salad, use a variety of leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, etc), shredded purple cabbage (or bag of coleslaw), shaved Brussels sprouts, pickled beets, cherry tomato halves, thin cucumber ribbons, radish slices, sweet bell peppers, avocado chunks, quinoa or lentils, and your favorite protein rich beans (I used chickpeas this time).
- Add a sprinkle of toasted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds and garnish with fresh herbs or sprouts.
- I enjoy a handful of fresh blueberries, sliced apples or pears in this salad as well.
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