Food and Drink

Spicy rainbow salad is an easy, multipurpose nutritional powerhouse with a kick

This salad is my everything right now: an easy, multipurpose, multicolored nutritional powerhouse with a spicy kick. It’s healthy, filling, easy to make ahead and hard to get tired of eating — the perfect thing for a fast-paced spring.

For those of you out there prepping lunch on a Sunday night for weekday, workday lunch, this is a solid choice because all of the vegetables keep well for several days in the fridge. You could prep this salad in a Mason jar, putting the dressing and edamame in the bottom, and layering the rest of the salad on top. Then — bam — pour the whole thing out in a bowl for lunch. If you need a protein hit, add baked tofu, grilled chicken and/or some peanuts or cashews. If you want to make it a family meal, double the dressing and add cooked, cooled rice or soba noodles.

This salad looks beautiful on a platter in a potluck or barbecue dinner setting. You can get pretty creative with the herbs, if you like. Cilantro and Thai basil work great, but as we move into chive season, you might throw some chive blossoms on for extra glamor. Alaska limes tend to be dry, so you might buy an extra or two just in case. A note of caution on the heat: if you’re sensitive to heat, start small with maybe just a quarter of a chili, give the dressing a good shake, let it sit for five minutes and test it, then add more if you like. You can also remove the chilis before serving.

Spicy Rainbow Salad

Serves 4, generously

Ingredients:

1/4 cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons brown sugar

The juice of two small limes, roughly 2 tablespoons

2 small cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/3 cup avocado oil or light olive oil

Half a thai chili or red jalapeno, thinly sliced, or more to taste

4 cups chopped or shredded napa cabbage

2 cups chopped or shredded purple cabbage

1 cup carrots, shredded

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup shelled edamame

1/2 cup cilantro or Thai basil or a mix, chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup crushed peanuts (optional)

Lime wedges to garnish

Instructions:

Make the dressing. In a lidded jar, combine tamari, sugar, lime juice, garlic, oil and chili or jalapeno. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously, taste and adjust heat and acidity. On a platter, arrange the salad, layering the green cabbage, purple cabbage, carrots, peppers, and edamame. Top with herbs, green onions, and crushed peanuts, if desired. Drizzle 2/3 of the dressing over the platter and serve the rest on the side for people who want a little extra.


Julia O'Malley

Anchorage-based Julia O'Malley is a former ADN reporter, columnist and editor. She received a James Beard national food writing award in 2018, and a collection of her work, "The Whale and the Cupcake: Stories of Subsistence, Longing, and Community in Alaska," was published in 2019.

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