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Rainbow Salad with Chicken and Creamy Lemon Dressing

Active time: 45 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates per serving: 11 grams 

If you're looking to:

Lower the carbs: Swap in more radishes and cabbage in place of the root vegetables. 

Lower the fat: Skip the nuts (but don’t use low-fat mayo, which can be full of sugar).

Lower the salt: Use less salt.


1 Romaine heart, chopped (or 4 cups salad greens)

1 carrot, scrubbed or peeled and sliced

½ peeled raw beet, shredded

4 radishes, sliced

1 cup finely shredded red cabbage

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (roughly 1 ½ pounds) seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt* (or ¾ teaspoon table salt) and grilled or sauteed, and sliced; or 4 cups cooked chicken (from a roasted or rotisserie chicken), shredded or sliced; or 1 recipe tofu

Creamy Lemon Dressing (below)

¼ cup roasted pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) or chopped toasted walnuts (to toast the walnuts, put them in a 350 oven for 4 or 5 minutes, until they’re just turning golden and fragrant)

Creamy Lemon Dressing

1/3 cup mayonnaise (not low-fat, ideally Best Foods or Hellman’s)

The juice and finely grated zest of one small lemon or ½ large lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt)

1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced (or ½ teaspoon garlic powder)

black pepper

½ teaspoon yellow mustard or ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric (if you like, just to give it a more yellowy color)

*Note: A great habit to get into is salting chicken (and other meats), as soon as you get it home from the store, even (or especially) if you’re not going to cook it for a day or two. It gives the salt plenty of time to season the chicken all the way through.


  1. Arrange the greens and vegetables on a large platter.

  2. Top with the chicken or tofu.

  3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, and taste for salt, then drizzle some over the salad.

  4. Top the salad with the pepitas or walnuts. Bring the extra dressing to the table and serve the salad right away.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. Her book "How to Be A Person" was published in 2020. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]