This scrumptious rainbow salad with a Chinese inspired dressing will literally have you eating the rainbow! No less than 12 fruits and veggies in all their glorious textures and colours. This colourful salad is perfectly balanced with sweet vs savoury, crunchy and crisp vs soft and creamy.
I will show you how to go about slicing the fruits and veg for interesting textures and also how to layer the salad successfully.
For more delicious, healthy and filling salads, try this brown rice salad, this Panzanella Toscana or this sweet potato and kale salad.
What's to love about this salad
- Incredible healthy, capturing all the colours to help you towards your 5-a-day
- Simple to make, just chop, slice and throw it all together
- The salad dressing is delicious and can be used for other salads too
- It's the ideal salad to lay out on a large wooden board as a centre piece
- Easily scalable for larger or smaller crowds
- Dairy free
- Gluten free
Key ingredient notes and substitutions
The salad dressing ingredients - Soy sauce, oyster sauce, olive oil, hoisin sauce, honey, minced garlic, grated ginger, sesame seeds and a pinch of chilli flakes.
Rocket - We love rocket leaves for their herby, strong taste, but you can replace it with your own favourite salad leaves.
Red cabbage - Red cabbage adds just another beautiful hue to the salad with it's dark purple leaves. You can use white cabbage too, but bear in mind, this is a rainbow salad!
The berries - We use strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and cherries. Don't let this stop you from adding any berries you like, like raspberries, red currents or even grapes.
Watermelon - Unfortunately good quality watermelon is not always available throughout the year, especially in northern Europe. If you find yourself in this situation, consider replacing it with any other type of melon, like honeydew.
Pomegranate - This is a must for garnishing the salad. It's like scattering precious ruby gems over the salad. If you're a little hesitant to deal with harvesting the seeds from the whole fruit, many supermarkets now sell the seeds only. Have a look in the fruit aisle.
The rest - Celery sticks, cucumber, small tomatoes, avocado and sesame seeds for sprinkling.
How to make the salad
Do the prep:
- Wash and dry all the fruit.
- Chop the red cabbage, thinly slice the celery and cucumber into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, cut the watermelon into small triangles, half the strawberries, half the tomatoes, slice the avocado into thin slices and harvest the pomegranate seeds from the fruit.
Here's how to build the rainbow salad:
Start by scattering the rocket leaves over your board. This will be the base layer or foundation of the salad.
Next, loosely arrange the red cabbage into three piles.
Arrange the celery and cucumber ribbons in piles next to the red cabbage.
Start filling in the gaps with the watermelon triangles.
Add the tomatoes and the strawberries.
Now, add the dark fruits; blueberries and blackberries.
Place the cherries in prominent positions in the salad so they can be seen. Leave the stalks on for some interest.
Arrange the sliced avocado in various places, grouping 3-4 slices together and fanning them out.
Lastly, scatter over the pomegranate seeds and the sesame seeds.
You can now choose whether to drizzle over the salad dressing, or serve it alongside the salad in a bowl so each guest can help themselves.
Other notable additions to the salad
- Sliced peaches
- Mozzarella cheese
- Honeydew melon
- Carrot ribbons
- Flaked coconut
- Poppy seeds
- Micro salad
- Orange slices
- Kiwi fruit
- Dried fruit, like apricot or peaches
- Small red onion rings, or thinly sliced shallots
- Red/orange or yellow bell peppers
The salad is best had on the same day when it's still fresh and crispy. It would still be ok the following day if stored in an airtight container in the fridge, but, remove the avocado as it might go brown and make the whole salad look unappetising.
For the salad dressing
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 0.5 teaspoon minced garlic
- 0.5 teaspoon grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- pinch of chilli flakes
For the salad
- 50 grams rocket
- 0.5 small red cabbage
- 2 celery sticks
- 0.5 cucumber
- 100 grams watermelon
- 100 grams strawberries
- 100 grams cherry or roma tomatoes
- 40 grams blueberries
- 40 grams blackberries
- 50 grams cherries
- 1 avocado
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
Make the salad dressing
- In a small jug, whisk together all the ingredients for the salad dressing
Salad - prepping
- Wash and dry all the fruits and vegetables to be used for the salad
- Slice the red cabbage into very thin slices. Separate each slice so that you end up with a pile of individual 'strands' of cabbage
- Run a vegetable peeler along the length of the celery for long ribbons. It helps to poke one end of the celery stick down on a chopping board with a fork and using the other hand to run the peeler over it, as it's lying flat on the board. Turn the celery as you go to get a combination of thick and thin strands
- Follow the same steps for the cucumber, slicing it in long thin ribbons. Stop when you get to the seeds and watery centre and turn it around to slice ribbons from the other side. We want to avoid the centre part as it will make the salad watery
- Slice the watermelon into small triangles (about two bites worth per piece)
- Half the strawberries. Keep the green parts on for visual interest
- Slice the cherry or roma tomatoes horizontally
- Half the avocado. Remove the pit and carefully run a spoon between the flesh and the skin of both halves to neatly separate the two. Turn each half upside down on a chopping board and slice neat, thin slices along the length
- Break the pomegranate open. Bang the pieces on a chopping board to release the seeds. Scoop them up and set aside
Build the salad (see photos in blog post)
- On a large wooden board or platter, scatter over the rocket leaves. This will be the base of the salad
- Scatter over the chopped red cabbage, loosely arrange it in three piles
- Loosely drop the celery and cucumber ribbons into small piles next to each pile of cabbage
- Start filling in the gaps with the watermelon triangles, strawberries and tomatoes
- Thoughtfully sprinkle the blue and blackberries over the salad so you get a nice even spread of colour, breaking up the greens and reds with blacks
- Place the cherries into prominent areas where they can be seen. Leave the stalks on, it adds interest
- Place a few piles of avocado slices across the board. Group slices of 3-4 slices together and fan them out
- For a final flourish, randomly scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds
- You can now either drizzle over the salad dressing, or serve it alongside the salad in a small bowl so each guest can help themselves
For food safety advice, including guidance on food allergies
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