Rainbow Salad with Honey Lemon Dressing

“This is paradise!” and “Was that raw spinach? I can’t believe I liked it!” are a few of the many comments students made while eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables during the second round of garden lessons this fall.  At schools with GROW La Crosse gardens, students got to practice “eating the rainbow” by being offered a salad bar with a variety of colors.

Many of the classes were lucky enough to have their lessons on sunny days and were able to go into the garden to harvest kale, arugula or basil to add to their personal salad.

At Hamilton School, the purple cabbage was the most common food which had never been tried before. Almost all of the students who bravely tried the purple cabbage for the first time said they liked it and would eat it at home. By the end of the lesson, a majority of students pledged to try to “eat a rainbow” every single day.

For morning classes at State Road, we asked them before the taste test how many different colors of fruits and vegetables that had eaten that day and they had said:
65%-0 fruits and vegetables
17%-1 color of fruits or vegetables
12%-2 colors of fruits and vegetables
6% – 3 colors of fruits and vegetables
After the taste test:
82% had tasted 3 or more colors of fruits and vegetables with (47%) having tasted all 6 colors of fruits and vegetables that were in the salad!

Students also watched a demonstration on how to make a homemade Honey Lemon Dressing, which added two more colors of fruits and vegetables.  It was well received.  We encourage you to try it.

Honey Lemon Dressing Recipe

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice (for the freshest taste, squeeze this from ½ of a medium-size lemon)
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced or 1 tsp of canned minced garlic
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • a dash of black pepper

Mix or shake together and serve.  Extras can be kept in the fridge.

One Rainbow Salad Example:

  • Arugula- GREEN
  • Blueberries- RED, just kidding, BLUE
  • Carrots-ORANGE
  • Dried Cranberries- RED
  • Honey Lemon Dressing- YELLOW and WHITE (garlic)

Toppings (these don’t count towards a color since they are not a fruit or vegetable)

  • Goat Cheese
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Sesame Sticks (we got ours at The People’s Food Coop)

Tip:  Put any Rainbow Salad creation in a wrap and serve for lunch


Look at all the colors

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There are many benefits to eating many colors of fruits and vegetables


Some students get creative with their food before tasting




Thank you Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare for your corporate sponsorship which allows us to connect more children to healthy food and nature.