Skip to main content Skip to header navigation

Red, white and blue without the dye

Love the idea of patriotically colored foods but hate the food coloring? Here’s how to make patriotic foods using natural things.


Go au natural for the 4th

Love the idea of patriotically colored foods but hate the food coloring? Here’s how to make patriotic foods using natural things.

Red, white and blue from nature

Holley Grainger, nutrition editor for and, says to look to nature for those brilliant red, white and blue hues. “Whether savory or sweet, nature provides naturally hued foods to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. Skip the artificial food coloring,” says Grainger.

Grainger suggested turning to these natural options for the red, white and blue treats:



Strawberries, raspberry sorbet, tomatoes, potatoes, cherries, cherry pie filling, raspberries, beets, watermelon, salsa
Ice cream


Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, onions, potatoes, cheesecake filling, cheese, cauliflower, pasta, bread


Blueberries, potatoes, blackberries, blue corn chips, blue cheese, purple cabbage, eggplant

Still want dye?

Of course, we know that sometimes you just want dye to make funky red, white and blue concoctions (cupcakes anyone?). The good news is that there are natural options available like Nature’s Flavors. Made with plant-based pigments, these natural dyes are available in red, yellow, blue, purple, orange and green.

Red, white and blue recipes without the dye

Chicken and strawberry salad

Serves 4

This red, white and blue salad from the Cooking Light Big Book of Salads is perfect for your Fourth of July celebration.


Chicken and Strawberry Salad

Photo credit: Cooking Light Big Book of Salads


  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  • 4 cups torn romaine lettuce
  • 4 cups arugula leaves
  • 2 cups quartered strawberries
  • 1/3 cup vertically sliced red onion
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted cashews, halved
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese


  1. To prepare dressing, combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Gradually drizzle in oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  2. To prepare salad, combine romaine and next four ingredients (through chicken) in a bowl; toss gently. Arrange about two cups of the chicken mixture on each of four plates; top each serving with one-and-one-half teaspoons cashews and two tablespoons cheese. Drizzle about four teaspoons dressing over each serving.

Red, white and blue pancake stacks

Serves 6


Red, white and blue pancake stacksPancakes:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon butter

For the stacks:

  • Whipped cream, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries


  1. Heat a nonstick griddle at just below medium heat. While it’s heating, beat the egg in the bowl of a stand mixer until frothy (one to two minutes). Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and oil. Beat until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the blueberries and beat briefly.
  2. Grease the griddle with butter. Drop the batter in one-quarter-cup portions onto the griddle. Cook, flipping once, until golden on both sides. Transfer to a pancake warmer or a warm oven until all the batter has been used.
  3. Stack two pancakes on each plate. Top with a good dollop of whipped cream. Arrange strawberries and blueberries on top.
  4. Serve immediately.

More July 4th food ideas

Firecracker cupcakes
3 Easy 4th of July recipes
3 Boozy Popsicle recipes

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed.