Sesame and Ginger Rainbow Salad is a mouth-watering medley of crisp and juicy vegetables. It has an impressive variety of ingredients glistening with the sort of dressing you want to drink straight from the bottle.
It’s worth noting that this rainbow salad starts with bok choy. Not only does bok choy hold up when mixed with the sweet sesame dressing, but its flavor is a superb match for the Asian theme of this colorful salad.
⭐ Why it works
- Bok choy makes a great alternative to lettuce.
- Colorful, nutritious salad.
- Fast recipe.
- Make ahead option.
🌈 What is rainbow salad?
Do you eat the rainbow? Or maybe you are asking, what the heck does that mean? I was first introduced to this idea back in the 1970s when eating predominantly raw foods was trending.
Basically, including plants from a full spectrum of colors is an easy way to have gorgeous plates that also keep us strong and vital. Thus, a rainbow salad has nutritious ingredients that represent all the colors of the rainbow.
This real food version blushes all the way from crisp, juicy white jicama and sweet yellow peppers to crunchy red cabbage and savory, purple-black arame seaweed.
If you are curious about science or nutrition, you might enjoy this excellent article. It goes into detail about how each food color group has its own unique phytonutrients.
- Edamame - look for packages of shelled green soybeans in the freezer section.
- Peppers - sweet red and yellow bell peppers.
- Bok choy - adds distinct flavor and crunch to the rainbow salad.
- Purple cabbage - gorgeous color and exceptional nutrition.
- Arame - dried arame seaweed has thin strands that expand when soaked.
- Jicama - stays crisp and juicy when tossed with dressing.
- Carrots - complete the rainbow color.
🌱 What is edamame?
Edamame are young soybeans that are harvested while still green before they have hardened and dried.
The Japanese translation for edamame means beans on a branch, which refers to the whole pods so popular as an appetizer at bars and in restaurants. Have you tried them?
For this rainbow salad recipe, select the shelled edamame in packages in the freezer section of grocery stores.
I admit each time I make the salad, I think to myself, should I include the steamed edamame? That’s only because I am particular about how I eat edamame and don’t enjoy it in all recipes.
But inevitably, I do include it. Ultimately I end up so happy I didn’t leave it out. The little nuggets coated in lightly sweet sesame dressing have the most delightful bite.
They are perfect mixed with the other crisp and crunchy vegetables in this rainbow salad. So, even if you aren’t a big fan of edamame, I invite you to try it in this recipe.
🥄 Umeboshi plum vinegar
Umeboshi plum vinegar has a remarkably unique taste that makes this salad dressing genius. However, if you need to make a substitution, you can mix red wine vinegar with a little maple syrup.
You'll also need to add salt to taste when you toss the salad. That's because umeboshi plum vinegar is exceptionally salty on its own.
🕰 Can it be made in advance?
Yes, absolutely. It's terrific for a make-ahead meal, box lunch, or picnic. Simply pack your bok choy rainbow salad and dressing separately and toss to combine when you're ready to eat it.
Because it's easy to prepare and stores well, I often turn to this recipe when I need to come up with something on the fly.
👩🏻🍳 Expert tip
Jicama can be awkward and tedious to peel if you tackle the whole round root. Start by purchasing squat-shaped jicamas at the market to make your task easier.
Instead of trying to peel it like a potato, cut straight down on the fat cheeks with a wide knife to create a square block without any skin. This slices beautifully into match sticks.
Then, you can more effortlessly peel the lopped-off sections and chop them into small chunks for other recipes. Diced jicama would be delicious tossed into my Quick Homemade Salsa Fresca.
🍉 More colorful recipes
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Sesame and Ginger Rainbow Salad
- 2 cups bok choy coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup carrot julienne sliced
- ½ cup purple cabbage sliced thin
- ⅓ cup yellow pepper julienne sliced
- ⅓ cup red pepper julienne sliced
- ½ cup jicama julienne sliced
- 1 TB dry arame seaweed
- ⅓ cup edamame shelled, frozen
- 1 TB mild-tasting oil
- 1 TB toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger juice squeezed from finely grated ginger
- 1 ½ tsp. umeboshi plum vinegar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- pinch cayenne pepper
- Soak arame in a bowl of water while preparing salad ingredients.
- Boil and drain edamame.
- Rinse and drain the soaked arame.
- Place bok choy, carrot, cabbage, peppers, and jicama in a medium-sized bowl. Add drained edamame and arame.
- Place all the dressing ingredients together in a small jar and shake to mix. Or, combine well with a whisk in a small bowl.
Toss and Serve
- Pour the shaken dressing over the prepared salad and toss until glistening.
- Store salad and dressing separately if you won't be eating them right away. Salad keeps well for 4 days refrigerated.