Celebrate Pride Month By Eating A Rainbow This June

Pride month is a beautiful time for fulfillment and celebration—both of which are sentiments best punctuated by delicious food. Pride is about community, about feeling whole and celebrating who you are. Sharing good food together, as we all know, is a classic part of building community, feeling centered, and celebrating the past and the future.

As Pride Parades have gotten more commercialized, it’s the perfect time to eat natural foods. With many Pride Parades unsure if they’re going to operate this year with the risk of COVID, now is the time to throw a Pride party, just for yourself and the people you love. 

Food is a fantastic way to celebrate Pride. Chandley Borges of the gaysgottaeat instagram sums it up perfectly: “Gaysgottaeat was born off the connection between the food and LGBTQ+ communities.  People take so much pride in what they eat, celebrating the beautiful cultures who are behind so many cuisines we love, and finding the next best food-craze for insta-worthy photos.  Likewise, the LGBTQ+ community takes pride in embracing who we are and celebrating to have our voices heard.  The connection of pride and love runs strong throughout both the food and LGBTQ+ communities.”

Most of the food ideas you’ll find online for Pride parties are filled to the brim with artificial colors and unbelievable levels of sugar. However, you don’t have to fill your body with junk to celebrate—there are plenty of natural ways to try eating a rainbow. And in the hot summer sun, your body will thank you for choosing something so fulfilling and refreshing.

We’ve prepared for you three different healthy, rainbow foods to serve at your Pride party, no artificial additives needed.

A hiker waving a Pride flag at the top of a mountain.

RAINBOW SALADS:

Salads might not seem like the most celebratory foods, but a good salad is loaded with all kinds of treats that will satisfy both your body and your tastebuds—and will feel invigorating on a hot June day. Plus, it’s easy to customize a rainbow salad—eating a rainbow however you want it. 

Rainbow salads also have another benefit—they guarantee that you’re eating a diverse array of vegetables. To achieve many different colors in your salad, you need to load it up with a lot of different fruits and veggies, thus ensuring that you get the micronutrients your body needs. 

Making a rainbow salad is all about choosing what you think sounds tasty. There are many different options, so you can tailor-make it to your taste buds and your preference of either raw or cooked salads. Explore your choices and discover what your favorite combo is! Choose your base and options for each color, and you’re all set!

Salad Base:

You can use whatever type of leafy green vegetable you like for your base, but the darker the green, the more nutrients it holds. Darker greens are usually a bit heartier as well, meaning they hold up under the weight of your heaps of rainbow toppings, and really robust greens like kale and chard hold up better as leftovers. Try out:

    • Mixed Greens
    • Spinach
    • Swiss Chard
    • Kale

Once you have your base chosen, it’s time to move on to your rainbow.

Red:

There are a lot of delicious options for red food. Choose one or two of your favorites, and you’re well on your way to eating a rainbow with your perfect salad.

    • Cherry tomatoes
    • Sun-dried tomatoes
    • Red bell pepper
    • Roasted red pepper
    • Beet (raw or roasted)
    • Radish

You can choose the raw, fresh version of these ingredients, or a more prepared form depending on your tastebuds.

Orange:

Orange is a great color to add a little sweetness with, or to stay classic with old salad favorites like carrots. 

    • Carrots
    • Orange bell pepper
    • Orange slices
    • Peaches
    • Mango
    • Pumpkin
    • Sweet potato
    • Butternut squash 
    • Kabocha squash

Not only do you have the strong sweetness of fruit, you have the subtler sweetness of squashes—though those are admittedly not in season for the summer, you can keep eating the rainbow in the fall.

Yellow:

There are plenty of bright, fresh yellow foods to choose from, and it’s a great way to add grains or legumes.

    • Yellow bell pepper
    • Yellow summer squash
    • Golden beets
    • Sweet corn
    • Yellow zucchini
    • Yellow tomatoes
    • Chickpeas
    • Quinoa
    • Yellow lentils

Grains and legumes add protein and bulk to a salad and make it more filling, making eating a rainbow with this salad a meal instead of a starter.

A rainbow salad, loaded with veggies of all colors.

Green:

It’s obvious you’ll have a wealth of choices of green foods fit for a salad. Depending on your salad base, you may already have green covered! You still might decide you want a green addition anyways, once you see our tasty list.

    • Broccoli (raw or roasted)
    • Green bell pepper
    • Avocado
    • Peas or snap peas
    • Cucumber
    • Zucchini
    • Sprouts
    • Kiwi

Whether you want something classic or a little more out there, green food has your back.

Blue:

We’ve all heard the saying that there is no naturally blue food. This is basically true. But, there are a few choices that get pretty close, and you can add more purple options to compensate if nothing on the list appeals.

    • Blueberries
    • Blue corn
    • Blue carrots
    • Blue cheese

It’s not a long list, and blue cheese is more white than blue, but there are options available. If nothing strikes you, then there’s always…

Purple:

Who among us didn’t have trouble telling the difference between indigo and violet as a child? When it comes to food, it’s even harder to make that distinction. This works out well for us though, though, because the Pride flag only has a singular purple stripe instead of both! So we can put all our purple foods in one basket.

    • Red cabbage
    • Red onion
    • Ube (purple yam)
    • Purple cauliflower
    • Plums

Whether indigo or violet, all this purple produce is bound to be delicious!

Assembly:

The secret to making a rainbow salad is that you don’t have to choose something from every category. Something purple will easily cover your bases with blue and even sometimes red, and something yellow-orange can be both colors if need be. Your green (and maybe purple as well, depending on your choice) can come from your salad base. 

You don’t want to have so many flavors that your salad becomes incohesive. As long as you have a few ingredients that look colorful but vary from each other, you’ll give off the feeling of a rainbow. Or, try one from each category and go all the way—whatever seems tastiest and most fun for you!

Add some seeds or nuts for healthy fats and a little extra protein if you like. If you didn’t choose a yellow grain or legume, throw on some black beans or brown rice for some bulk, if that sounds good. The beauty of these salads is in their customizable nature. 

The best salad dressing will be based on whatever ingredients you choose. A vinaigrette will go with most options, especially sweeter salads that include fruit. A more savory salad might benefit from a creamier dressing, tahini or yogurt based. Our homemade greek yogurt ranch recipe, included with our barbecue chicken recipe, would be a great choice. 

You can make an individual salad for yourself as an entree or side, or set out a salad bar for your Pride partygoers to mix and match to their heart’s content, so everyone can try eating a rainbow of their own.

Brightly colored skewers of fruit on a white table.

RAINBOW FRUIT SKEWERS:

Now that we have the veggies covered, how about the fruit? Summer is an amazing time to get an abundance of fresh fruits in amazingly bright colors. You can use them to make rainbow fruit salads or rainbow fruit trays, but the best way to use them has to be rainbow fruit skewers which let you ensure the fruit stays in rainbow order. 

Much like rainbow salads, you can mix and match what fruits you like based on taste and shape. Just remember, Roy G. Biv!

The most classic choices are:

    • Strawberries or raspberries for red
    • Oranges or tangerines for orange
    • Pineapple or mango for yellow
    • Kiwi or green grapes for green
    • Blueberries for blue
    • Red grapes for purple

This is a tasty list of choices. However, we, at Cook & Culture, believe it’s good to eat natural, and whatever is in-season is best. Fruit is always at its most delicious when it’s fresh, and you’ll be able to taste the difference if you choose high-quality fruit that’s in season. 

Our list of in-season summer rainbow fruits includes:

    • Strawberries or raspberries for red
        • This is the same as the last list, but that’s because berries are in season right now. Lucky! It’s the perfect time of year for them, so enjoy your berry bliss.
    • Apricots for orange
        • Apricots are a quintessential summer fruit that goes in-season in June. They’re sweet and juicy, and they’re filled with vitamin C and A. 
    • Yellow peaches or nectarines for yellow
        • Peaches season starts in June in most places, peaking in July and August. Nectarines also go in-season, and have a similar flavor but without the fuzz. If you have a local farmer’s market, they might have different varieties to try, so find your favorite!
    • Honeydew melon for green
        • We get it. Most people don’t like honeydew, the most maligned member of any fruit salad. But that’s because most honeydews you’ve had before haven’t been properly matured or ripened. When choosing your honeydew, smell near the stem—the sweeter the smell, the sweeter the melon—and test if the stem has a springy texture. Shake the melon to see if you can hear the seeds rattling (a sign it’s ripe.) The skin should be waxy and creamy yellow, perhaps with small wrinkles—avoid anything that looks dusty or has green veins. A fully ripe honeydew is absolutely delicious.
    • Blueberries for blue 
        • Another win for berry season! With so few blue food options, it’s a gift that blueberries are a summer fruit.
    • Black cherry, fig, or plum for purple
        • Each of these choices is pretty different, and each has its own pros and cons. Black cherries are delicious, and their red-black color is close to violet, but need to be pitted if they’re going to be skewered. Figs are purple in and out, but their flavor is distinctive to people not used to them and might stand out too much. Plums are easy to obtain, a familiar flavor, and purple on the outside—but yellow on the inside. It’s up to you which you think is the best option.

If you choose in-season fruit, you’re guaranteed to be eating a rainbow that’s at the peak of its sweetness. 

Once you have your fruit chosen, it’s time to put everything together! Cut any large fruit into manageable pieces. You can either aim to keep all your fruit a uniform size (excluding the blueberries) or vary the sizes to create an interesting pattern. When you’re ready, put them on the skewer in Pride flag order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). For smaller fruits, like blueberries, you can put on a few in a row if you like. Making a flashy, delicious, fully natural, in-season snack for your Pride party is that simple!

Now that we have a starter (and possible entree), how about some drinks that the whole family can enjoy?

Fresh fruits lined up in rainbow-colored rows.

RAINBOW SMOOTHIES:

You’ve seen them on Pinterest and Instagram—showstopping smoothies with discrete layers of color. You know we love good-looking food here at Cook & Culture, and these smoothies definitely count. They’re beautiful, but might be a bit of a hassle to make on a normal occasion. Luckily, Pride isn’t a normal occasion, and if there’s ever a time to go the extra mile to try eating a rainbow, it’s now. 

The trick is to make each layer the same level of thickness to avoid them blending together, and to carefully spoon the layers on top of each other instead of pouring them. It’s more work (and mostly more washing) than your average smoothie, but it’s simpler to make than what the end result looks like! 

Normally with smoothie recipes, we like to tell you to mix and match to your heart’s content. If you change the recipe this time, make sure the colors match and the consistency stays consistent. Even if you’re following the recipe, if one color of the smoothie seems less thick than the others, add a little more ice! If you use fresh fruit instead of frozen, be sure to add ice to all of them to ensure it’s thick and cold. 

The ingredients for each color of smoothie have been broken down separately. Each has the base of a ½ cup of greet yogurt, so you’ll get some protein with your drink.

The Rainbow Smoothie of Your Dreams 

 Author: Katie Merikallio                                          Total Time: 15 minutes                                                        Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

  • Red Layer
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
    • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
    • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
    • Milk or dairy-free substitute for blending

    Orange Layer

    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
    • 1 small orange, peeled and segmented
    • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
    • 1/4 cup frozen mango
    • Milk or dairy-free substitute for blending

    Yellow Layer

    • 2 frozen bananas
    • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
    • 1 cup frozen pineapple
    • Milk or dairy-free substitute for blending

    Green Layer

    • 2 frozen bananas
    • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
    • 1 handful (or more) spinach
    • 1 cup frozen pineapple
    • Milk or dairy-free substitute for blending

    “Blue” Layer

    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries
    • Milk or dairy-free substitute for blending

    Purple Layer

    • 1 frozen banana
    • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, vanilla or plain
    • 1/2 cup sliced beets
    • 1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries

Instructions:

    1. A day or more before you want to make your smoothies, peel and cut up the right number of bananas and put them in the freezer, separated so you know the amount of each.
    2. Blend each smoothie separately, cleaning the blender thoroughly in between, adding as much milk or a milk substitute as is needed to blend. Pour each finished smoothie color into its own separate container.
    3. Layer the smoothie in reverse rainbow order (purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red), carefully spooning the smoothie on top of the previous layer (not pouring it!)

These cool and refreshing smoothies are perfect for a hot summer afternoon, and a great addition to any party. If you’re making so many layers already, it’s better to make them in bulk for a bunch of people to justify all the washing, and your guests will be wowed at how pretty they look. They’re truly the perfect Pride party beverage for eating a rainbow. 

Of course, you can’t throw the perfect Pride party without understanding what Pride is really all about.

A black and white photo of a man bicycling through a city street. Attached to the back of the bike is  Pride flag, which is in color.

HISTORY OF PRIDE:

Pride is celebrated in June because of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, one of the first major LBGTQ+ uprisings against police discrimination against the LBGTQ+ community and an incredibly important turning point in LGBTQ+ activism. 

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar that catered to particularly marginalized members of the community. Police raided the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, to arrest anyone they deemed wearing the “wrong” kind of clothing. These kinds of raids were normal in this period, practically expected, but this time those who weren’t arrested didn’t leave like they were told to, and fed up with the discrimination and police brutality they faced, fought back against the injustice by starting a riot. 

Quotes from rioters that night paint a picture of jubilation and relief; enough was enough and they wouldn’t take their poor treatment any longer. Riots continued the next night, and then again later in the week. Though there had been other riots against gay oppression before, Stonewall was on a larger scale of people involved, lasted six days, and gained wide mainstream media coverage, which was new. 

The Stonewall Riots’ legacy was cemented in the aftermath, as it led to a huge surge in LGBTQ+ activism and triggered a move from homophile respectability-based activism to a focus on gay liberation. Frank Kameny, a prominent homophile activist in the 1950s, said, “By the time of Stonewall, we had fifty to sixty gay groups in the country. A year later there were at least fifteen hundred. By two years later, to the extent that a count could be made, it was twenty-five hundred.” 

On June 28, 1970, Christopher Street Liberation Day was held on the same streets where the riots had broken out a year before, as LA and Chicago had their own Gay Pride marches at the same time. These were the first Prides, and it’s because of them and Stonewall that we have Pride month now. 

Pride is still a political event, marking the anniversary of a riot for LGBTQ+ rights and our ongoing fight against homophobia both in our own communities and around the world. It’s not just a time to party because partying is fun, with a real weight of historical precedent and current societal ills. 

However, Pride is also still a celebration. It’s a time for people to celebrate who they are, even if the world has held that against them. It’s a time for people to relish in their identities and revel in their community together. Pride shouldn’t be reduced to just a time to get drunk and dance, but it should still have the joy of a celebration. Pride is about honoring the past, but just as much it’s about delighting in oneself despite the world’s cruelty. And that’s why Pride parties are so important—a literal celebration of who we are.

Source: Carter, David (2004). Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. St. Martin’s Press.

CONCLUSION

Now that you have the knowledge of both why Pride parties are important and what the best food options to serve are, you’re ready to throw your own! By eating a rainbow this Pride, you can celebrate who you are, celebrate your loved ones, and celebrate all-natural food. 

Be sure to tag our Instagram with any pictures you take at your Pride parties!

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Olivia deGregory

Written by Katie Merikallio