Somewhere over the rainbow

A celebration of salads
In celebration of the lockdown summer I am writing a series of blog posts on salad-making. Not just salads as a side serving but as a meal in themselves – as protein-rich, good-fat and low-carb as you like, brimming with vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. If you don’t want to addle your mind with all that nutrition and food science simply go for a variety of differently coloured plant-based ingredients and you can’t help but benefit from a nutritional boost and a taste sensation.

Follow the yellow brick road
Starting with a Rainbow Salad you can either create one rainbow plate singing with colour or put together a selection of salads in harmonising parts. The more colours of the rainbow you include the greater the range of phytonutrients, your mood will be boosted and taste-buds energised.

Sing a rainbow
The sum really can be greater than the parts. This blog post is dedicated to my SingitBig community choir family. Zoom singing and salads have both helped to keep me going during lockdown when we have all been looking for rainbows. Connecting through music and spending time together on Zoom has been good for the soul and exercise for the lungs.

Rainbow skies
Use the ingredients lists and tips below to sing your own rainbows. Children too will love to learn about foods – recognising, naming and describing how they look, taste and smell will help their literacy skills and they will benefit from taking part in the picking, preparation and rainbow making. Not to mention the sampling of colour, texture and flavour sensations. The sky is the limit and bluebirds fly.

Salad rainbow maker
Listen with your eyes and sing everything you see. And if you want to sing a rainbow too, sing along with me …

red leaf lettuce – red oak, lola rosa, batavia
rainbow chard
red cabbage
purple kohlrabi
red peppers
radish / radicchio
pomegranite seeds
sweet potatoes
butternut squash
edible flowers
black olives
dried fruits

lettuce or salad leaves
roquette or arugula
cress / watercress
micro-greens/ peashoots
kale / spinach
cabbage – white or green
cauliflower / broccoli
cucumber / courgette
green beans
garden peas
fresh herbs – chives, parsley, basil, mint
potatoes / pasta
green olives
kiwi fruit

Tips (not rules) for creating salads over the rainbow

  • keep the majority of your salad ingredients plant-based
  • shop local to keep down the food miles
  • choose organic where available and affordable – reduces the risk of your salad harbouring unwanted chemicals
  • go for plenty of raw – less is more where processing is concerned
  • variety is the spice of salad life, but don’t overload with too many competing flavours, colours and textures
  • make use of whole grains – egs bulgur or couscous (regular or the over-sized maftoul), barley, rice, barley, freekeh, siyez, quinoa (officially a seed, although it looks and behaves like a grain and so I include it here)
  • throw in or eat with some good quality protein – eggs, tofu, hummus for vegetarians or a complementary selection of nuts, beans or grains
  • add extra zip with something fruity, fresh or dried – egs orange, apple, pear, blueberries, melon, kiwi, dates, raisins
  • don’t be seen with a salad unless it’s well dressed – even if only a generous drizzle of good olive, avocado or walnut oil and a liberal squidge of lemon juice
  • top with a sprinkling of something nutty or seedy for a crunchy nutrient pop – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and flax seeds, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, brazils or walnuts – dry toasted in a frying pan until lightly browned