Lunchbox Colour Salad

by | May 15, 2013 | 20 comments


Lunchbox Colour Salad - Cook Republic


One of the downfalls of running a small test kitchen and recipe development is the easy access to massive amounts of food lying around at all times. Thankfully for me, it is usually light, healthy and almost always savoury. But still. How many times in a day do you mentally slap your hand away as it reaches for something to put in your mouth? I find myself doing that all the time. After so many years, I have really gotten good at the hand slapping. It takes an amazing recipe for me to have a bite or two while I am working. More so, when I am working on the lunchbox series. To me, a recipe is worthy of the "Lunchbox" title if I will stop working in the middle of my photoshoot to sit down (yes!) and enjoy it languorously.


Lunchbox Colour Salad - Cook Republic


Earlier this week while shooting a recipe for a tomato vinaigrette, the idea for this beautiful whole wheat pasta salad took root in my mind. Heavily influenced by all the colour talk we have been having at college, I set out to create an explosion of healthy colours in a bowl. I had fun with this recipe, I really did. I explored colours for mood, well being and nutrition. I even went a little bit crazy with my choice of props and the result was absolutely beautiful. 


Colours - Photo Sneh Roy


Whole Grain Pasta -  Photo Sneh Roy


The pasta salad is fresh, light and has that clean-fresh-air-woodsy taste and feel to it. It is visually appetising and I want more of that goodness going in my body – my temple and all that. Like with everything in my lunchbox and pantry series, you could customize this completely to suit what is in your fridge, pantry and that still unemptied shopping basket (It is alright, we all get too busy to put things away.)


Whole Grain Pasta - Cook Republic


Tomato Vinaigrette - Cook Republic


Tomatoes - Cook Republic


Green - Cook Republic


Purple - Cook Republic







A healthy, fresh and wholesome whole wheat pasta salad that you could enjoy hot or cold becomes a celebration of nutrient rich colours in your bowl. Nourish yourself!

Makes – To Serve 2



1 cup whole grain penne
1 can cannelini beans (425g)
1 cup leaves of brussels sprouts
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
10 snow peas, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
snow pea shoots to garnish
salt and black pepper to taste


for the tomato vinaigrette
(recipe adapted from Food & Wine)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced tarragon
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup watermelon
juice of half lemon
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper.



Cook pasta according to packet instructions. Drain, cool and set aside. Combine all ingredients for vinaigrette in a blender and process until smooth.

Combine pasta, beans, onion, brussels sprouts, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, cabbage and one cup of the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Add fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Top with snow pea shoots.




Note – All photos in this post were shot on a Nikon D600 using a 24-85mm Nikon lens. The camera has been kindly loaned to me by Zing Australia to have a play around. It is a beautiful camera and I am thoroughly enjoying experimenting with it!


Find More Recipes By CategoryCafe Style Pasta Quick Salad Vegetarian Whole Food



I love creating easy, vibrant, fresh, everyday recipes and taking gorgeous photos of the food I cook. I have been blogging for 15 years and I have also written a book with over 100 new recipes. If you make a recipe from the blog, Tag @cookrepublic on Instagram. I would love to see!


  1. Rosa

    So colorful, beautiful and appetizing! Gorgeous clicks too.



  2. Helene D'souza

    Your salad and photography are so inspiring Sneh! I am looking up to you and all your work. I enjoyed every bit in this post.

  3. Swati Sapna

    Sneh I love the play of colours in your salad and your photography 🙂 Its as much a delight for sore eyes as it must be for the taste buds!

  4. Colette @ JFF!

    That vinaigrette is SO interesting.

    At first, I though It looked like miso or mustard to me.

    • Sneh

      It is brilliant with watermelon. Eliminates the need to add sugar or water 🙂

  5. Michelle

    I want to eat all the dressing! Watermelon is an amazing addition!

  6. Kankana

    Color makes me smile, it makes me happy and this post did exactly that! I love pasta which is NOT loaded with cheese and this recipe of yours sounds like something I would love to try. That vinaigrette sounds very interesting.

  7. Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy

    I know what you mean by being influenced by colour at the moment. Since I have also been studying colour at college, My wardrobe, food and surroundings have had a burst of rainbow! Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

  8. Nicola @ Homegrown Kitchen

    I love the watermelon in the dressing, I bet it gives it a lovely sweetness. Your photos are always so inspiring.

  9. Helen (Grab Your Fork)

    Gorgeous pics. I think we all eat with our eyes, and colour is such an important component when it comes to fostering appetite!

  10. Lisa the Gourmet Wog

    wow so many flavours in that vinaigrette! I love this, it all looks so fresh and colourful. Gorgeous

  11. Julia

    Beautiful photography! I will definitely try your tomato vinaigrette on my next pasta salad…I am so bad at salad dressings!

  12. kate

    Do you think using rockmelon in place of the watermelon would work?

    • Sneh

      absolutely, it would work!



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