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Rainbow salad illustration-2.jpg

Rainbow Salad with Orange Sesame Dressing

By Alyna O'Hanlon

April 22, 2020

Color walking is an exercise I learned about from the wonderful RadioLab podcast. Developed by William Burroughs to foster creativity in his students, the practice involves choosing a color and taking a walk. You stroll without a specific destination, following the color from object to object and letting this focus direct the path in which you move.

Inspired by the idea of being steered by color, I was curious how this approach might apply to cooking. I had already planned on making a salad for Earth Day to celebrate our planet's bounty of vegetables and fruits and decided a rainbow would be a most appropriate color palette for this occasion.

I should note that this dish was inspired by consideration around both color and flavor. I've been loving sesame orange vinaigrette on salads recently and wanted to share this dressing with you.  So my selection of rainbow produce was partially influenced by what would best pair with the flavor of this dressing.

This project got me really looking at the produce section with whole new eyes and inspired me to try some veggies outside of my normal rotation. Once I got to making the salad, I also found myself considering how to prepare and chop each vegetable for a most cohesive dish. 

If you’re up for it, consider going for a color walk in your kitchen! Pick any color combo (or rainbow!) and see where things go! 

HAPPY EARTH DAY! Here's to our beautiful Mother Earth and her symphony of colors, textures, and flavors!

Here is my photo:

Rainbow salad-2.jpg


Sesame Dressing

Juice of one orange (~1/2 C)

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons sesame seed oil

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)

Quick Pickled Onion and Ginger

*This in not a necessary step but it’s quite fast and simple and adds a nice pop of flavor!

One small red onion (or half larger one) thinly sliced

Knob of ginger thinly sliced

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Dissolve sugar and salt with vinegar.  Place onion and ginger in jar and pour vinegar mixture over such that they are completely submerged.  Let sit for 1 hour.

Rainbow Salad

One head greens (I used Romaine)



Orange pieces

Yellow pepper




Blue potatoes (roasted in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes)

Purple Cabbage (I chopped mine raw but steaming might be easier on digestion)

Red onion (pickled)

Ginger (pickled)

Peanuts (perhaps roasted?)

Seeds- hemp, pumpkin, sesame

Chop and wash greens, place in salad bowl and add colorful toppings. Take in the glory of the rainbow salad! Add salad dressing and mix everything together.

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