Rainbow Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

Author: Sarah Cobacho

Published: February 21, 2024

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The Rainbow Crunch Salad fully assembled, displaying a harmonious blend of colorful vegetables and dressing, invitingly ready to be served.

This is the perfect salad to add to your rotation. It’s vibrant, colorful, and packed with 14 unique plants (a feast for our microbiome!), and each serving contains 18 g of fiber and 28 g of protein. The contrast of texture is so satisfying, and the mango adds a delicious brightness that pairs so well with our spicy peanut sauce. It comes together super easily; all you have to cook is the rice, which can be made in advance. I made extra the night before and used the leftovers in the salad, so it’s super quick to put together and perfect for the current steamy Aussie weather. It’s also a great salad to brighten your lunch at the office.

A close-up view of the Rainbow Crunch Salad, highlighting the variety of textures and colors that make up this nourishing dish.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy to Prepare: Pre-cooked the rice, or better yet, use leftovers from the night before. Frozen edamame is pre-cooked, so you just have to let them thaw, and the rest of the veggies are chopped raw for a super easy assembly.
  • Versatile: This dish can be easily adapted with tahini for a nut-free version or adjusted for spice levels. Swap the veggies with what’s available to you!
  • Nutrient-Dense: Packed with vitamins, protein, and fiber, it’s a super nourishing choice that doesn’t compromise on taste.
  • Colorful Presentation: The vibrant mix of forbidden rice, vegetables, and mango offers an appealing and appetizing look, as well as the health benefits of eating the rainbow.
  • Flavorful Dressing: The Spicy Peanut Ginger Sauce adds a rich, savory, and slightly spicy flavor that beautifully ties the whole salad together.

Ingredient Notes

An array of colorful, nutritious ingredients laid out for preparing a vibrant Rainbow Crunch Salad, accompanied by the elements for a rich peanut dressing.
  • Forbidden Rice: Also known as black rice, it is rich in antioxidants and fiber. A visually striking and nutritious base for the salad.
  • Edamame: These young soybeans are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber. Pre-cooked for convenience, they can be used directly after thawing, adding a fresh, green crunch.
  • Mango: Adds a sweet, tropical flavor to the salad. Using frozen mangoes when out of season ensures this dish can be enjoyed year-round.
  • Spicy Peanut Ginger Sauce: A blend of peanut butter, lime juice, chili, and other ingredients creates a creamy, flavorful dressing. For a nut-free version, tahini can be substituted without losing the essence of the dish.
  • Avocado: Offers a creamy texture and is high in healthy fats, contributing to the salad’s satisfying feel.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Start by cooking the forbidden rice according to the package instructions. Blend the peanut butter, lime juice, chili, garlic, ginger, coconut sugar, tamari (or soy sauce), and soy milk until smooth. If a blender is not available, mince the chili, garlic, and ginger finely and whisk all the ingredients together, adjusting the liquid as needed to reach the desired consistency. Combine the cooked rice, edamame, red bell pepper, white and red cabbage, mango, avocado, mint, green onions, sesame seeds, and fried shallots in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Spicy Peanut Ginger Sauce and enjoy your Rainbow Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing!

A golden-hued peanut dressing in a glass blender, its smooth texture promising a deliciously rich taste.

Variations and Tips

  • For a nut-free version, substitute peanut butter with tahini.
  • Adjust the spice level by skipping the chili or keeping the seeds based on your preference.
  • To maintain freshness in leftovers, keep the sauce separate and only dress the portion you plan to eat.
  • Boost the protein by adding tofu or tempeh for a more filling meal.
  • Enhance the crunch with additional nuts or seeds, like chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
  • Leftovers: keep the salad and dressings in the fridge, separated in airtight containers, until ready to enjoy again.
  • Swap the veggies: use what is available to you; shredded carrots, finely chopped kale, cilantro, or diced cucumber would be a great addition.

Why You’ll Love This Rainbow Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

  • Colorful
  • Nutrient-rich
  • Flavorful
  • Easy to make
  • Versatile
The Rainbow Crunch Salad fully assembled, displaying a harmonious blend of colorful vegetables and dressing, invitingly ready to be served.

Rainbow Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing

5 from 6 votes
A vibrant Rainbow Crunch Salad paired with a spicy peanut ginger dressing, combining forbidden rice, edamame, veggies, and fruits.
Sarah Cobacho (plantbaes.com)
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Video

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup dry forbidden Rice (¾ cups once cooked)
  • 1.5 cups edamame (thawed)
  • ½ red bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 cup cabbage, chopped (you can use red or white or a mix of both)
  • 1 cup mango, diced
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • ½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (spring onions)
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp fried shallots (optional)

Spicy Peanut Ginger Sauce

  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (or other sweetener of choice)
  • 1 tbsp tamari (low sodium preferred)
  • ¼ cup soy milk

Instructions

  • Cook the rice according to the packet instructions.
  • Blend the peanut butter, lime juice, chilli, garlic, ginger, coconut sugar, tamari, and soy milk. If you do not have a mini blender, mince the chilli, garlic, and ginger as finely as possible and whisk all the ingredients together. Add more liquid as needed to reach the desired consistency.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, edamame, red bell pepper, cabbage, mango, avocado, mint, green onions, sesame seeds, and fried shallots. Drizzle with the Spicy Peanut Ginger Sauce, and enjoy!

Per Serving

Calories 593kcalCarbohydrates 75gProtein 28gFat 25gSodium 418mgFiber 18gVitamin A 252IUVitamin C 184mgCalcium 238mgIron 8mg
COURSE Salad
CUISINE Asian-Inspired
KEYWORDS easy meal, healthy salad, High Protein, peanut dressing
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FAQ

Can I make this salad ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare this salad in advance. Just keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to serve.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, it is naturally gluten-free, but always check labels on ingredients like tamari to make sure.

How can I make this salad nut-free?

Easily substitute the peanut butter with tahini to enjoy a nut-free version of the dressing.

What can I use instead of forbidden rice?

Quinoa or brown rice make great substitutes if forbidden rice is not available.

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