Nutritionist Danijela of Healthy Always Rainbow Bowl

As part of our nationwide September Plant Based Challenge, we asked kiwi nutritionist, passionate foodie and blogger Danijela of Healthy Always to create a quick, easy, satisfying and nourishing plant based recipe for us to showcase just how delicious and easy it is to add more veggies to your plate! The result? These incredibly delicious and nutrition packed Rainbow Bowls. 

Don't forget to enter our nationwide competition and show us how you add more colour to your plate, for the chance to win some amazing prizes including Air New Zealand return flights for two to Auckland, a night of luxury at The Pullman Auckland and a degustation dinner for two at world renowned The French Cafe. 

These salad bowls take the phrase "eat a rainbow" very literally, and are a great way of adding an abundance of veggies to your plate! Danijela breaks down why adding more veggies to our plates in a wealth of colour is so important to our health and wellbeing.

We all know we should be eating more veggies - their goodness cannot be understated. A plethora of vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting antioxidant and gut-loving fibre, they're a food that helps build great health from the inside out. They're also very protective for the body, helping to support a fighting-fit immune system that'll ward off the bugs, and optimal gut health. Eating veggies helps make us feel good - they're energising, and brimming with nutrients. 

Why should we eat a rainbow: eating a rainbow basically comes down to the importance of variety in our diet - with variety in food, comes variety in nutrients. Fruit and veggies get their colours from a nifty group of chemical compounds called phytochemicals. Different colours indicate different nutrients, which have their own unique set of health properties.  For example, orange and yellow veggies and fruits, like oranges and carrots, are brimming in vitamin C and A, while purple and blue, like berries and eggplant, are rich in anthocyanin, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant. 

When building your rainbow salad bowl, aim to pick at least one veggie to tick off each colour in the rainbow (to a degree - I had to settle for blue edible borage flowers). Arrange them as you please - you could do a rainbow gradient like I attempted, or just dice, chop and chuck into a bowl - the colours together will look fabulous!

Next, whiz up a tasty salad dressing to go along with it - I prepared an easy zingy fresh basil vinaigrette, which is super yummy and pairs perfectly. Recipe is below if you'd like to give it a whirl. Pairing healthy fats (e.g. olive oil in the dressing) with this dish will help you extract all the important fat-soluble vitamins (vitamin D, E, K & A) contained within your veggies, which need dietary fats present to be absorbed. 

Finally, if you're looking at turning this into more of a main meal, serve with your choice of protein (for plant-based go chickpeas, lentils, beans, or otherwise boiled eggs, smoked salmon or grilled chicken would be yummy). You can also bump up the starchy carb content - rice or roasted kumara/potato/pumpkin would be great additions. 

Rainbow Bowls with Basil Vinaigrette

Ingredients
Salad bowl
A few handful of leafy greens
A selection of fresh veggies - aim to tick of every colour of the rainbow! Examples: capsicum (green/orange/yellow/purple/red...), carrot, cabbage (purple/green...), tomatoes and avocado
Extras: 1 tsp/tbsp sauerkraut, 1 tbsp hummus, sprinkle of sesame seeds, fresh herbs

Basil vinaigrette
1 cup fresh basil leaves
8 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small clove garlic
A few turns of the salt & pepper shaker

Method:

To make you dressing blitz up all ingredients in a food processor/stick blender. 

To make salad bowl, pick your veggies and then arrange together in a bowl/plate. Get creative with whatever is in season (or lonely in your fridge waiting to be eaten!) - your goal is variety and colour!

 

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