Rainbow food has been increasing in popularity over the past year and it goes beyond the novelty factor. Sure, it gets you Insta-gratification and street cred, but as with all aspects of food, there’s a certain calculated insight that leads to innovation. A recent study, published in 2015, talks of how certain colours are associated with tastes; for instance, green symbolizes sourness and pink symbolizes sweetness. A mix of all these colours makes us believe that the food will be even more flavourful and that’s the key to cracking the code.
Here’s our pick of the most drool-worthy rainbow delicacies that’s blowing our minds.
Rainbow Grilled Cheese
Crunchy bread, lightly buttered and oodles of melted cheese — you can’t go wrong with a classic grilled cheese, though you can definitely up the ante. The rainbow grilled cheese, or as it is popularly called The Unicorn Toastie (doesn’t your day seem brighter all of a sudden!) is a truly magical concoction. First created in a tiny Hong Kong eatery, the recipe calls for a mix of cheeses such as mozzarella, Cheddar, Emmenthal, Swiss and Gruyere and is flavoured with lavender, basil and tomato that give the colours purple, green and red. When put all together, it looks like Hogwarts had a very important cooking class.
Rainbow Sushi Rolls
Talk about abstract art! Sushi is the latest experiment in the rainbow coloured-food department and has that distinction of being both healthy and tasty. Often considered a dish for the discerning, sushi here is given a child-like quality. This very cool idea was first started by a few vegan home chefs that used natural food colouring such as beet powder and turmeric (in completely unrelated news, do you know the biggest drink trend to hit the US is a turmeric latte a.k.a haldi doodh?!) to add a little intrigue to their daily meals. We vote a big yes : it’s stylish, it’s easy to make and it’s healthy. Great for those hard days’ nights.
… or what can be considered as a descent to Alice’s Wonderland. Look at these bagels. Swirly patterns free-falling, psychedelic colours — if this isn’t an amazing pick-me-up, I don’t know what is. Revolutionised by the New York-based The Bagel Store, the highlight of these pieces of art is the toppings you can choose if boring ol’ cream cheese is so not your vibe anymore. Funfetti cream cheese, anyone? I’m taking 24 to go.
The life-affirming elixir has not escaped the rainbow treatment as well. Latte Art is always fascinating and really shows the artistic skill of the barista, beyond just the coffee. Started in Las Vegas, the coffee shop uses food dye in coffee foam to create free-flowing art. Not only are customers are delighted, it’s a fantastic way to add value to a simple cup of coffee.
The holiest of all, pizza, has also been on the receiving end of dedicated food artists. Essentially the same process that is used for the rainbow grilled cheese, the pizza here looks like an extra-galactic concoction. The key to making this is to prep the pizza in the oven beforehand and just when it’s about to get done, to add the food dyes and bake it for a little longer. This gives it its just-right melted edge.
Now this makes the process of waking up so so much better! A big hit with the small and big kids, it’s a fantastic choice for festive mornings. Rainbow Pancakes are pretty simple to whip up with the help of food dyes but do need a good pancake recipe to fall back on. There are a few technical specs that you have to keep in mind – to make all of one colour in one go, to not grease the pan with butter (going for a non-stick makes sense in this case) and it works well when you cook low and slow.
A quick way to get rid of midday monotony and a fantastic lunchbox treat, rainbow pasta can be cooked in any particular way you like though we do recommend a simple aglio olio to retain its intense colour. Divvy up the pasta into how many colours you want and soak them in Ziploc bags for a bit and you’re good to go. A recipe we checked out recommended making Parmesan Crisps to go with it – they look like fluffy white clouds, just right to provide that silver lining to your day!
Rainbow Rice Krispies
Healthy and happy? Sign us up! A great on-the-go snack, choose your colours and layer the mixture well on top of each other. It’s an easy-enough treat to make at home, especially with kids, and you have the added benefit of making it even healthier by using natural food dyes. The rice krispies provide a good source of nutrition – what more can we ask for!
Rainbow Cake Pops
Perhaps the funnest rainbow recipe ever, rainbow cake pops are just so cute, you can’t eat just one. We found a great recipe on Babble and that’s going to be our weekend project. In a nutshell, cake batter meets food dye meets edible Playdoh time leads to a happily-ever after. The best part is the customisation – it’s your party after all!
The head of the family, so to say, is the rainbow cake, the one trend that gave birth to many others. Featuring perfect rainbow layers, topped off with a deceptive old-school frosting, the rainbow cake has become an indispensable add to any party. Available at different bakeries, it’s also super simple to make at home and you can really experiment with it as well – from the type of chocolate to the frosting and toppings. One bite and you’re in heaven.
Psst, we’ve got a cheat sheet for the guys who don’t really like the thought of food colouring. Opt for natural dyes or just organise your food rainbow-spectrum wise and you’re pretty much set to have a feast for both your eyes and your tummy.