This beautiful rainbow salad bowl is so refreshing and makes for a tasty light meal or side salad. It is loaded with nutrient dense fruits and vegetables and the orange tahini sauce is deliciously creamy, tangy and earthy. Great for meal-prepping lunches and also completely dairy-free, gluten-free and 100% plant-based.
This healthy rainbow salad bowl is amazing when you are craving more nutrients! It is bursting with fresh veggies and fruits and makes for such a beautiful bowl of colorful ingredients that's so appetizing.
Also features tons of fun contrasting textures such as crunchy bell pepper, soft lettuce, crumbly quinoa, earthy chickpeas and juicy oranges. The sweet and tangy orange tahini dressing is easy and quick and adds amazing creaminess to the salad and brings everything together. Plus, it is made completely without any oil to keep your meal ultra-healthy and lower in added fat.
You can easily swap the ingredients too, of course. To make this recipe super fun, I actually tried to get as many colors from the rainbow, just so it is true to its name! So aim for something purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red to make your bowl extra stunning. Work with the season if you can and use whatever is fresh and available. Getting as many colors in your bowl as possible will help you maximize the variety of nutrients you will be getting as well.
Why you'll love this rainbow salad bowl
- Highly customizable
- Healthy and loaded with nutrient dense ingredients
- Bursting with antioxidants
- Colorful and appetizing
- Great for meal-prep and to batch assemble lunches to-go ahead of time
- Oil-free, dairy-free, gluten-free
Ingredients you'll need
Well, there is a lot of variation possible. You can def use this recipe as inspiration and then use all your favorite nutrient-dense colorful ingredients you prefer or have on hand. But, here is how I make it:
For the bowl:
- Purple cabbage
- Red pepper
- Shredded carrots
For the dressing:
- Tahini: creamy base of the dressing and is used instead of refined oil.
- Orange juice: freshly pressed is best, but you could also use store-bought.
- Apple cider vinegar: for tangy flavor, can also use rice vinegar.
- Garlic: from fresh clove, avoid garlic powder.
- Salt: add to taste
- Optional: sweetener (maple syrup or agave). You may or may not want to use it, depending on how sweet your oranges are. When I use ultra sweet and juicy Navel oranges, I feel like I don't need extra sweetener. So, taste your dressing and adjust flavor as needed.
How to make it
Cook the quinoa
Start by cooking the quinoa: combine the dry quinoa with the water in a small sauce pan and cover. Bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat to low. Keep simmering on low for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit until ready to use.
While the quinoa is cooking, it's also a good time to clean up and chop the veggies.
Make the tahini orange dressing
In a medium bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk well until smooth. Taste and adjust flavor (add sweetener or not) and also add a little water if you want the sauce to be thinner. The dressing will look clumpy at first, but keep stirring until nice and smooth!
Build your rainbow bowl
When ready to eat, simply place all the ingredients in your bowl and drizzle the tahini orange dressing over.
Watch how to make it
Again, use this recipe as a guideline and have fun building your healthy power salad bowl to your preference. But, here are a few more ideas you could choose from:
- Whole grains: I love using quinoa as it is loaded with protein and other nutrients, but also, it cooks quickly and stores well in the fridge. But, feel free to use brown rice, barley, farro or couscous instead. Also, noodles would work great for this bowl. I am obsessed with the noodles from the brand Lotus. No affiliated link, I just truly love this brand and even buy their noodles in large boxes. Their beautifully dark Pad Thai noodles made out of forbidden rice would be such a great choice here.
- Leafy greens: I always have mixed greens ready to go so that's what I used, but baby spinach or crunchy romaine would also work well.
- Veggies: look for the colors! Other good options other than what seen in pictures include blueberries, cherry tomatoes (red or yellow), green or red onions, roasted sweet potatoes, radishes or corn (just thaw some frozen ones quickly in hot water). Another idea includes cooked beets. If you don't want to have to cook them ahead, then you can usually buy some already cooked beets at the grocery store. They are great cold and would work amazingly with the creamy tahini sauce too.
- Fresh herbs: they are amazing in fresh summer salads like this one, so feel free to add a lot and even use a mix of different herbs such as cilantro, mint, basil, dill, etc.
- Healthy fats: definitely try to add healthy fats to your salad to make it more satisfying and filling, such as avocado as seen in the picture, but also olives and nuts, especially walnuts. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds would also add a nice crunch.
- Sauces: if you are not that into tahini, then feel free to use other sauces, such as a Thai peanut sauce, sesame soy dressing, vegan walnut pesto, or avocado green goddess dressing. This tahini balsamic dressing would also work great for this bowl and if you love cajun flavors, then try it with this creamy cajun salad dressing.
- Boost the protein content of your bowl: Using quinoa + chickpeas makes this version very filling, but to make your bowl higher in protein, top with nuts, smoky tofu, other beans or miso tempeh. I also recently discovered this smoky tofu from the brand Wildwood that would be amazing over this salad.
Meal-prep this refreshing salad recipe
You can arrange a few single servings of this salad in containers to go - keeping the tahini dressing apart. This can definitely help you eat more veggies throughout a busy week. Just grab them to go for your lunches or use them as a side salads for dinners.
Other refreshing healthy salads you might like
- Vegan watermelon feta salad
- Creamy chickpea dill salad
- Chili lime bean salad
- Mango cucumber salad
- Thai carrot cucumber salad
- Vegan Waldorf salad
- Vegan fajita bowls
- Vegan green nourish bowl
- Kale crunch salad
- Red lentil pasta salad
- Rice and quinoa Southwestern salad
I hope you like this rainbow salad bowl as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
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Rainbow Salad Bowl with Orange Tahini Dressing
For the dressing
- ½ cup tahini
- ½ cup orange juice - freshly squeezed or store-bought
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 small clove of garlic - crushed
- ½ tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp maple syrup - optional, depending on how sweet your oranges are
For the rainbow salad
- ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa
- 3 cups lettuce and/or baby spinach leaves
- ½-¾ cup purple cabbage - finely sliced
- ½ red pepper - sliced
- 1 large carrots - shredded
- 1 avocado - sliced
- 1 navel orange - diced
- ½ english cucumber - sliced
- 15 oz canned chickpeas - rinsed and drained
- fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley or basil) - to taste
- Start by cooking the quinoa: in a small sauce pan, combine the quinoa with ⅔ cup of water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Then, once boiling, turn down the heat to low immediately and let it simmer covered for about 15 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and keep covered for 10 more minutes or so.
- Make the dressing by whisking the tahini, orange juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic and salt. Taste and add sweetener if desired. Set aside.
- When ready to eat, build your bowl by layering the lettuce, quinoa, vegetables, oranges, chickpeas and fresh herbs. Drizzle the tahini orange dressing over and enjoy!
- Store the leftover tahini orange dressing apart from the produce in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- This salad is so easy to customize! Other ingredients to consider include: blueberries, cherry tomatoes, mint or basil, roasted beets or sweet potatoes, walnuts, olives, corn. Top with smoky tofu, balsamic tofu or miso tempeh to boost your salad with more plant-based protein.
- Other sauces to consider: Thai peanut butter sauce, avocado green goddess sauce or vegan walnut pesto.
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