Craving a really big fresh salad, I scrounged around in the refrigerator to find a variety of colors in order to try to create a winter-themed rainbow salad. Here’s what I came up with for a fresh-as-possible salad: mixed greens (fresh), blood oranges (fresh), red cabbage (possibly weeks old), carrots and apples (both possibly months old). There were other things in the fridge as well such as beets that looked decently fresh, cilantro that wasn’t totally wilted, not-yet-ripe avocado and oranges that looked like they should probably be tossed out.
Of all the items in the fridge the red cabbage seemed worst off; it was possibly molding. I cut off all ends to get to the inside; the inside seemed fine-ish. It didn’t smell or anything. The apple had what I would consider to be a questionable feel but when I cut into it there was no bruising so into the salad it went. And carrots must last forever. I believe this same bag of carrots has been in the fridge since the end of January. I peeled off the skin and used this cute little handheld julienne cutter to make nice long even slices of carrot.
The point of making a rainbow salad is to get as many colors of the rainbow as you can into your salad. There is literally nothing I could think of that’s blue besides blueberries, and blueberries are not a winter fruit. But if you have access to decent blueberries this time of year I say go ahead and toss them in if you’re truly looking for all colors of the rainbow. And anyway, apparently fruits that are purple are considered to be blue-purple/red-purple so blue is one and the same as purple and red, apparently.
I chose a winter themed salad because although it’s technically spring right now there is still plenty of time to get your winter fruits and vegetables on your plate. And also because the fruits and vegetables on hand were winter fruits and vegetables. I paired my winter salad with the Blood Orange Vinaigrette I just made and some chopped toasted almonds (which, incidentally, may also be not the most fresh). The salad was so good I practically licked the bowl clean.
For your winter rainbow salad use the guidelines below or throw in whatever color of the rainbow fruits or vegetables pleases you, regardless of the time of year.
- mesclun greens, spinach, kale, arugula etc or your favorite mix of greens
- 1 to 2 winter yellow fruits or veggies (roasted acorn, butternut or delicata squash; lemon, ugli fruit, star fruit, quince)
- 1 to 2 winter orange fruits or veggies (sweet potato, carrot; oranges, clementines, tangerines, persimmons, papaya)
- 1 to 2 winter red fruits or veggies (red onion, radishes, beets, raddichio; grapefruit, blood oranges, pomegranate, dried cranberries, red apple, red grapes, rhubarb)
- 1 to 2 winter blue/purple fruits or veggies (purple cabbage, turnips; purple grapes, blueberries, if you have access)
- 1 to 2 winter green fruits or veggies (cabbage, shredded raw brussels sprouts or roasted brussels sprouts, avocado, broccoli, asparagus; kiwi fruit, green apple, green grapes, pear)
- 1 to 2 winter other fruits or veggies (artichoke hearts, steamed or roasted cauliflower, garlic, roasted potatoes, parsnip; passion fruit)
- healthy fats: nuts and/or seeds, avocado, eggs, omega-3 rich fish, olives
- dressing: a light tasting vinaigrette such as Blood Orange Vinaigrette
- Add your greens to a large bowl. Toss in whatever fruits and vegetables you’re adding. Drizzle with salad dressing or throw all the ingredients into a large ziplock bag and shake to incorporate.
- Sprinkle with your favorite fat and freshly cracked black pepper, if you please.
As I write this I’m reminded of why I never eat a healthy salad (on its own) for dinner: I get hungry about two hours later. I ate this salad about two hours ago and am already hungry (hmmph) which is why the recipe only gets 4 apples; 5 apples for taste.