This rainbow salad bowl with maple Dijon dressing makes a colorful and light main course salad. And, even more important for those busy weeknights, composing this rainbow salad can be as quick and simple or as involved as you want.
You could also serve this rainbow salad as a side salad to accompany a simple main course like these cast iron chicken breasts or a roast. Or bring a large rainbow salad to a potluck and brighten everyone’s day.
The key, as with my rainbow fruit tart, is to use produce that is fresh and in season locally. If there are ingredients in my rainbow salad that you can’t find or are being shipped from the other hemisphere, please substitute a similarly-colored ingredient.
Tips and tricks for this recipe
Prepping the rainbow salad ingredients
Chop and slice the vegetables into your desired sizes and shapes. For salads, try to cut things into single bite-sized pieces.
If you want to create some sort of design on your plate or bowl, even one as simple as stripes or concentric circles, it is helpful to lay out your pattern beforehand. That way you can see how the colors work together and do any necessary rearranging before you start.
Composing the rainbow salad
The base of most grain and salad bowls should be a layer of greens. Pick a handful or two of your favorites, wash the leaves with several rinses of cold water, and spin them dry. Drying the lettuce helps the maple Dijon salad dressing cling better to the leaves.
I personally like romaine and butter lettuce, spinach, and kale. But I would recommend almost anything over iceberg lettuce, which has little nutritional value.
Next, add your vegetables in rainbow order. That’s red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Add some slow-roasted pumpkin spice chickpeas, a can of beans, or some chopped leftover chicken for protein and turn this into a main course salad.
Making the maple Dijon dressing
Homemade salad dressing is one of the easiest things you can make. This maple Dijon dressing is just a simple vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, a bit of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
This recipe does work best with balsamic vinegar, because the sweetness of the balsamic complements the maple syrup. You don’t have to use the most expensive balsamic you can find. But it’s true that the better your olive oil and balsamic vinegar, the better your vinaigrette.
While the classic ratio for vinaigrette is three parts oil to one part vinegar, this recipe is written as two to one. Feel free to increase the amount of oil to three-quarters of a cup if this recipe is too tangy for your taste.
Dijon mustard is just a style of mustard that originated in Dijon, France centuries ago. You can definitely also feel free to experiment with other mustards.
FAQs about this rainbow salad bowl with maple dijon dressing
Here are some color-based ideas for other ingredients you could include in your rainbow salad:
Red – beets, carrots
Orange – carrots, roasted pumpkin or orange sweet potato
Yellow – carrots, squash, yellow tomatoes,
Green – green beans, green onions, green pepper, peas or snap peas, zucchini
Blue – a challenge!
Purple – purple onions, purple kale, purple beans or snap peas
The dressing can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for a week or so. Clean jam jars are great for storing salad dressings because they can be securely closed if you need to re-emulsify the dressing.
Rainbow Salad Bowl with Maple Dijon Dressing
- 4 cups lettuce, spinach or other leafy greens washed and dried
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup broccoli florets lightly steamed, if desired
- ½ cucumber, washed and sliced
- ½ cup blueberries, washed and dried
- ½ cup red cabbage, chopped
- 2 radishes, washed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup roasted chick peas, can of beans, or cubed chicken optional
- ½ cup roasted red or orange beet, peeled and cubed optional
Maple Dijon Dressing
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Prepare all of the salad ingredients and arrange them on a plate or baking sheet if you are planning to arrange them in a pattern in your bowls.4 cups lettuce, spinach or other leafy greens, 1 carrot, peeled and sliced, 10 cherry tomatoes, halved, 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped, 1 cup broccoli florets, ½ cucumber, washed and sliced, ½ cup blueberries, washed and dried, ½ cup red cabbage, chopped, 2 radishes, washed and thinly sliced, ½ cup roasted chick peas, can of beans, or cubed chicken, ½ cup roasted red or orange beet, peeled and cubed
- Place half of the greens in your bowls or on your plates. Arrange the remaining bowl ingredients in a stripe or circular pattern over the greens.
Maple Dijon Dressing
- Add all of the maple dijon dressing ingredients in a jar and shake or whisk vigorously to mix the dressing together.½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- Taste and adjust as needed, adding more oil or vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Shake or whisk again immediately prior to serving.
If you make this rainbow salad bowl or the maple dijon dressing, please leave a comment and a 5 heart rating!