Creative salads are vital to my menu planning and basic lunch routine. With mornings often involving cooking, baking, and photographing the results, lunch can sneak up on me. I make sure I'm ready for that by often either having the makings of a salad on hand or, better yet, having one already assembled that I can dig into at a moment's notice. Then I can enjoy something delicious, nutritious and pretty on a plate and be ready to dive into an afternoon of writing without losing my stride. And when it comes to salads that work beautifully for both lunch and dinner, there are few as fantastic as this Rainbow Crunch Salad that I absolutely adore.
I love everything about this salad. It comes together easily, stores for about a week in the fridge, and is amazing as both a main dish lunch as described above and a side for all manner of dinners. For me, it's a match made in heaven and I've been known to toss it together every other week at times. If you don't have quinoa, try using leftover brown rice or a different chilled grain. You could use drained and rinsed legumes of various sorts instead of the edamame, but I like both the freshness and bright color the steamed soybeans bring to the dish.
I have been known to serve this alongside just about any protein that comes off the grill and it's also fantastic with slices of grilled chicken or pork or a handful of tender shrimp added to it. I've been asked to bring it to potlucks and, when I am, I always make a double batch so I have more at home for lunch. Yes, it's that good.
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 T. toasted sesame oil
- 1 T. rice vinegar or lime juice
- 2 tsp. tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. grated ginger
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 c. shelled edamame - can be prepared in advance
- 1 c. cooked quinoa - can be prepared in advance
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 c. shredded carrots
- 1 c. shredded purple cabbage
- 1 c. shredded green cabbage
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ½ c. almonds, chopped
Prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, ginger, salt and pepper together in a small cup or jar; set aside.
If you've gotten prepackaged shelled edamame, prepare according to the package directions and cool. If you have edamame in the shell, steam them in the pods for 10-15 minutes, cool, and shell the edamame.
Add the edamame, quinoa, red bell pepper, carrots, purple and green cabbage, green onions, and almonds to a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing onto the salad and mix together to combine and serve. This salad will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 40 minutes