Stuck in a Food Rut? EAT the Rainbow

It's the happiest, healthiest and prettiest way to eat since it turns out cooking with all the colors of the rainbow leads to vibrant, nutritious meals. In my culinary work world I teach it as “Eat the Rainbow”. Cookbook author and photographer, Kimberley Hasselbrink, found her new focus on color a liberating way to think about food, but it's a mind shift that works as more than an artist's creative exercise; In her color filled new cookbook, Vibrant Food, Hasselbrink has created and photographed a plethora of fresh recipes to nourish and fulfill.

She states, "I used to make the same thing over and over again. One huge pot of gluten-free pasta or a huge pot of soup every single week, and that would be my lunch." Now each trip to the farmers market yields colorful fodder for kitchen play. "It helped me be more inquisitive and experimental. I had never cooked with fava beans, nettles, and fresh chickpeas. I think that's what keeps me engaged with food, experimenting, and trying new things."

It's an approach to cooking that hits plenty of the bases for well-being. Kimberley declares,"There's this idea of nutrition and feeling obligated to eat things because you're supposed to. But finding the joy in something that's good for you? That's part of what I'm trying to connect with."

I have been following Kimberley's award-winning blog, The Year in Food  for years and it always inspires. Below is one the simple vibrant recipes from her new book. The sandwich recipe following is from my Eat the Rainbow collection which I will run as a series in the future.

 VIBF Summer Squash with Green Goddess Dressing image p 93

Summer Squash Pasta With Green Goddess Dressing

Serves 4 to 6

"One of my favorite summer recipes that's really simple is the summer squash pasta, using squash as the pasta noodles. You don't have to cook anything, so it's great on a hot day, and making squash noodles from vegetables is so fun and novel, there's this kind of element of surprise," Hasselbrink says. Buy a julienne peeler for this one. "It's a fun little gadget, and you can use it with so many vegetables. It is a game changer."


  • 2 pounds mixed summer squash (yellow squash and zucchini) 
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus additional for serving 
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for garnish 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon 
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 anchovy, minced 
  • 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts 
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Cut the squash into very thin strips using a julienne slicer. Alternatively, use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to make long ribbons. Sprinkle the squash with the salt, toss gently, and place in a colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid in the squash to drain. Carefully squeeze the squash over the colander. Pat with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel to dry. 

Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, wine vinegar, basil, parsley, chives, tarragon, garlic, and anchovy in a food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. 

Using your hands, gently toss the squash with about three-quarters of the dressing. Add the Parmesan and pine nuts and toss again. If needed, add the remaining dressing. Store any remaining dressing in the fridge for another use. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with small leaves of basil. This dish is best served immediately. 


Eat the Rainbow

 Turkey Open Face with Tomato Corn Relish

Serves 4

You’ll want to serve these sandwiches with a knife and fork to get every last bit of the juicy relish.

  • 1 cup freshly cooked corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons melted jalapeno jelly, melted (mild or spicy-your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • Fresh whole basil leaves
  • 4 slices whole grain bread
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked turkey breast

To Build the Sandwich

Place each slice of bread on a flat work surface and ruffle equal amounts of turkey on top. Add basil leaves and then top with Tomato Corn Relish. Serve.

photos Vibrant Food: Kimberley Hasselbrink

photo Eat the Rainbow Sandwich: Rita Calvert

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